Faith is a strange mistress. She is different for everyone and her complexities hide her from our attempts to box her in. I don't think I'd have it any other way.
Over the past few days I've talked with a couple friends about their faith walks (sorry for the christianese, sometimes it's just easier). Both times I've wanted to be the wise sage able to fix everything with the turn of a phrase. Only problem is I'm not that smart, spiritual, or lucky - I think I managed to keep from fouling everything up, you know, so I've got that going for me.
Everyone is different, their situations are different and their relationships with God(Faith) are different. With a bit of hindsight, and put in context with all the other similar conversations I've had over the years, as well as my own Faith introspection's, I'm starting to think each of our relationships with Faith reflect as much about our self perception as it does about our perception of God. This makes it like every other relationship we have. Weather we realize it or not, how we respond to other people reflects our self image. The more comfortable we are with people the more likely we are to relax and "be ourselves", the strange thing is we are different people in each of our relationships. Have you ever been in a group composed of two different factions of friends? You may like and be comfortable with both, but all of a sudden you are in a strange limbo. It's like you don't know how to act. What mannerisms do you use? What sort of language do you use? Do you finding yourself trying to explain inside jokes or direct conversations into safe areas?
As it turns out, relationships are... wait for it... interactive. Crazy, right? Who we are changes and adapts to each relationship. The other half of the equation changes and influences who we are, at least in part. This matters to Faith because, in the same way we feel uncomfortable in every other relationship when we become unsure of who we are, what we believe about ourselves impacts how we relate to what we believe about God. When we become insecure in our Faith walk, whatever that may mean, it rarely has much directly to do with what we think about God. The insecurity comes when we lose sight of who we are. This often means we pull back and try to find some safe space, we hide ourselves from real relationship.
The catch 22 of this whole thing is, no matter how much time we spend looking at ourselves trying to create a self-image we are comfortable with, any twist or buck in the plan has the ability to destroy what we think of ourselves. As long as our self-image is anchored to self, we are ultimately unsecured, we are a climber with our safety rope tied off to ourselves. The jenky and unnatural thing is, in order to secure ourselves we need to look at God. We need to see ourselves through His eyes, to believe we are who He says we are. Unlike every one of our other relationships, our Faith relationship depends on our ability to deny or disregard what we think about ourselves and believe into the identity God claims for us. Until we do this, our Faith will be influenced by ignorant voices and impotent forces. If we pull back, we pull back from the one thing able to make us truly secure. Being a part of a Faith community, church oriented or otherwise, is critical because it is in relationship that we get broken out of the fiction created by our self-doubt, it is in relationship we get reminded of who God is and of who we are in relationship to him, it is in healthy relationship that we get reminded of who we are regardless of all the other noise. God's commitment to relationship, Trinitarian and otherwise, isn't an accident and it's not without purpose. Even though each of our relationships with Faith are unique to us, they are ultimately founded on the same truth. We are who God says we are and He likes us.
For those of you who need a little pick me up of awesomeness: Enjoy