I prayed last night. Not just an “in my head” kind of prayer, or a casual, “Hey God, I need some help” kind of prayer. I actually knelt down by my bed and prayed.
Why am I telling you this?
I’m not really sure. But it feels important.
You see, I’m that woman that just released the book, SEVERED: A Memoir of Hope and Healing. It’s the story of my life and it focuses heavily on how my faith got me through my most difficult challenges.
Since the release of the book three weeks ago, I’ve had several conversations with people who say things like, “You’re so amazing!” Or, “I wish I had as much faith as you.” There have been other sentiments expressed as well. I know people mean well, and I appreciate the compliments. But here’s the thing…
I’m not all that amazing.
I’m just an average woman doing my best to get through this life without being completely beaten down or unraveling at the seams.
And yet, there are days when feel like I’m falling apart. Lots of them.
There are days when I want to just curl up in a ball and give up. There are days when I don’t want to smile anymore. There are days when the hard things overwhelm me and it seems like it would be easier to quit trying to make a difference in the world.
And there are still days when I curse God. When I ask Him, “Why me?”
The truth is, I don’t offer formal prayers all that often. I pray over my food and in church when I’m asked. But when my life fell apart, I found it difficult to kneel to pray every morning and night because I was praying all the time–or never–depending on the day. And depending on my state of mind.
I guess that’s why my prayer seemed significant last night. Because it was the first time in quite a while that I knelt down to pray because I actually wanted to feel a connection with God, not because I believe that’s what I’m supposed to do. It was the first time in months where I felt compelled to communicate with my Maker simply because I could–and for no other reason. I didn’t ask for much. In fact, I’m not sure I asked for anything. But I felt Him near. And I appreciated that presence.
During the past ten years or so, my faith has undergone a complete makeover. If anyone had told me then what it would look like today, I would have laughed in their face. Lots of things in my life have changed, and that includes the beliefs that I once held onto so fiercely. Because of those changes, I often feel like my faith doesn’t fit.
It doesn’t fit in my family.
It doesn’t fit in my church.
It doesn’t fit in my daily interactions.
It looks and feels far different than anything I ever imagined at this point in my life.
A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend about it and she said something that made me pause. She said something like, “Sandra, your faith doesn’t have to fit anywhere else because it fits inside of you!”
Such a simple statement. And yet so profound.
One of my clients recently told me that her faith changed when she realized that she could access it anywhere–not just in church. “It doesn’t matter where I am–on my yoga mat or hiking in the mountains–if I’m open to Him, He’s there.”
When I was in counseling a few years ago, I found that my therapy group provided some of the most faith-filled meetings I’d ever attended in my life. The authenticity and vulnerability among us invited a type of spirituality that I’d never felt before then–or since. A true connection, spirit-to-spirit, between the participants and God.
As I’ve reflected on my friend’s statement–“Your faith doesn’t have to fit anywhere else because it fits inside of you!”–I’ve started to recognize a trend in my life. The more I seek for TRUTH, the more connected I feel inside. The more I let go of perceived notions about what my faith should look like, the happier I become. The more actively I believe that I’m enough–that life is exactly as it should be and that God is pleased with who I am–the more peace I find.
Perhaps that’s because my faith has fit inside of me all along. I was trying to access it through my outward actions when really, I simply needed to turn inward to discover the well of faith that springs forth today. I suppose that’s why my prayer was a big deal. And that’s why I wanted to share it with you.
Because I’m not all that amazing. And I don’t think my faith is anything special. I’m just learning to access it in a whole new way. A powerful way. A way that allows me to see myself as God intended.
I like the thought that my faith fits inside of me and that it doesn’t have to fit anywhere else. I don’t have to make it look like anything in particular. It’s just as unique as I am.
And the same is true for you. If you’re struggling to “find your faith,” perhaps you’re looking too far. Instead of trying to shape it into something that fits into a mold someone else has created, simply embrace yourself and look inward for the faith you need to get through the challenges of this life. Because no matter where you are or what you’re doing, your faith is there, too–waiting to be found where it’s been all along.
Inside of you.
To purchase my book, SEVERED: A Memoir of Hope and Healing, visit my website at SandraJarvisCoaching.com.