I’ve had a difficult relationship with faith over the years. I grew up in a Methodist church and found myself in the midst of a conditional belief system. God was a slot machine that, if I was good enough, I could pull the lever and see a reward. If I could just work hard, avoid the bad things, and live well then God would show up on my side.
It took years to find out my mistake.
I met my wife in high school and, as we dated throughout my college years, we moved through some dynamic churches and congregations. I started to get glimpses of grace and the meaning of a radical and awakened faith. I found material written, spoken, and worship songs by some of the top artists and thinkers in the business. My faith grew and molded. Still, there are days with challenges.
One of the prime movements in psychology is that we place the identity of our fathers onto our picture of God. As you can imagine, that can be hugely damaging to people. Fathers are imperfect. Fathers can hurt, disconnect, devalue, and detach. God is a different story.
I feel like I’ve grown in some ways in my understanding of faith.
Life is a refinement process. Struggles serve as preparation for callings to come. I believe we are all called to step out and follow our dreams. We have a drive and a passion in our hearts that, when identified, can electrify this short time we have on this planet. This drive has led me to start this business, to chase my dream of launching a ministry that carries creative writing into faith-based organizations and the communities they serve. This drive has led me to offer my services on gift based pricing (you pay me what you can afford). After research and prayerful consideration, this was placed on my heart and I’m willing to follow it through.
Refinement also lets you see what you do not want. It can be the forty-hour week at the job you are doing for the paycheck and not the passion. It can be looking at your spouse across the table and realizing you need to fill the gap with the love you once shared when the wedding was only weeks old. It can be finally mending old wounds and cleaning the scar tissue that forms over broken hearts.
Faith is not easy and, yes, it is intentional. God wants to see what you believe and, when you go forward and walk in the straight paths he forms for you, the ending will be greater than anything you imagine.