Faith is a very fragile thing. Even those who have exceeding faith can struggle with it. We each face circumstances that make us question the motives of the fates, and wonder why it is that bad things can happen to good people. You may wonder why you are being punished. I will be honest and say that I have struggled with those for most of my life. But my father in heaven never failed me. If anything I have failed him with my lack of trust, my disbelief in his promises, my lack of faith in his plan, the plan he has for me... for all of us. I don't know if I have faith that could part the Red Sea, and though I am taught that I could if I believed purely enough, and if it was meant for me to perform such an act, I doubt that I would be able too. I'm not even sure that I could soften a heart with my words, but in my imperfection I have a great desire to grow. I have the desire to learn, and strengthen my faith, and that makes a difference. I believe that that is why we are here facing the question of the whole, "meaning of life" question. I know I come here from heaven in order to gain a physical body, learn, grow, face trials and adversity, deal with the consequences of my choices, and actions, and have my faith tried. All this so that return to my heavenly home, stand before Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father and receive my punishment, or reward depending on how well I've done during my time here. Repentance is such a blessing, but that is a topic for another post.
We have a notable quote in my church, which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or as we are nicknamed "the Mormons", it says that "Faith without works is dead." What does that mean? My interpretation of that is that if I do not live, or act throughout my life in faith, it cannot grow, and it will fade until it is gone. I've watched it happen to loved ones, and I have recovered my own faith from the brink myself.
Our lives are so fast paced. Every interaction in our lives seems to throw us into a popularity contest. No one wants to be accountable for our behavior. No one wants to deal with the consequences of our actions, obviously, and who wants to be told that they are the reason for their own troubles, circumstances, or sorrow, and misery. Not me, however, I have to if I want to learn or change anything. It wasn't until I started taking responsibility for myself (all that entails), and my life that I began to find myself and my happiness.
It wasn't until I attended a pain clinic to learn how to deal with my chronic pain, and how to deal with the emotions that came along with the emotions that come with the crippling pain I was dealing with on a daily basis. As my husband rightly pointed out, when I am hurting, feeling guilty, sad, or hurting I can really be mean. A hard fact to gulp down, but it was a defensive thing. I have worked very hard to stop that either before it starts or during, followed quickly by apologies. I slip sometimes... I'm human... I admit it.
I also had to talk to my doctor about my chronic depression, my post traumatic stress disorder, and my P.M.D.D., which for those who do not know is P.M.S. pumped up on steroids. You might not believe this, but I found that I wasn't wonder woman, and I was not going to be able to just shake off my moods. Although I had to learn to have a more positive attitude. I also had to realize that I could not do it on my own.
I believe in the benefit of therapy, and I know that I could benefit from it, but I was truly astonished by what the medication did for me. I felt like myself again (for the first time in years). I also use herbal remedies, but my point is that I have a chemical imbalance in my body, and my brain. No matter what I do, I cannot fight this particular problem on my own, no matter how stubborn I am.
I'm not telling you this to gain pity, or to complain. What I want to convey to you is that there is a lot of grey area when it comes to faith. I believe that God knows that. I also believe that he also takes that into account when he is judging us. I believe also that our faith, even if we do our best to keep it strong and active will go through ebbs and flows like the waves of an ocean. How then do you keep your faith strong? You go back to those primary basics that we teach our children. We teach them to pray, read their scriptures, go to church, be honest and fair, and choose the right. Belief patient is simple. Faith is simple. Trust is hard. Overcoming our circumstances can be hard. Being patient can be excruciating. Not being judgmental might require some tongue biting, but when I come down to it, we have to make up our minds, and make the decision to do our best.
I have perfect faith in some things, but I struggle with others, and sometimes I am not doing my best (for whatever reason I come up with) and I know it, but I have the desire, and I have choice. Choice is a gift. It can be a life altering action, for good or ill, but we all have it. However, now that you have been reminded of that... what are you going to do with it? Me, I am going to keep working at it and I am going to keep trying to improve on myself. It won't be easy, but I am not going to give up. I wish you luck too.