FEAR VS. FAITH
Most of my breakdowns happen while driving.
You ever been driving down the street and have tears flowing down your face, a whole lotta cuss words coming out of your mouth, asking yourself why TF something happened to you? AGAIN? Or what on earth you’re going to do now? Or what you're going to do when XYZ happens?
Or is it just me?
So I thought I'd break my blogging silence because I have a new thing I’ve been doing when I hit those moments. I think a hell of a lot of us are probably having those moments right now with everything that's going on.
I’ve been naming theses moments my “choice moments.” So when I catch myself falling into what I sense could become a complete meltdown, I have been doing my best to pause and ask myself a question.
“Choice moment. Do I choose fear or do I choose faith?”
I'm going to tell you why I try my best to pick the faith story.
I'm weird. Everything to me boils down to the existential. I need meaning for everything. When you wrestle with mental illness, meaning is a must. Because that's where the hope or despair is. It's in the WHY. It decides weather I am animated by a story of fear in my life (everything is meaningless so fuck it) or am I animated by a story of faith (there is a purpose for my life and everything I'm going through and it's all going to be okay).
The stories we tell ourselves matter. They shape everything we become and the way we experience our lives.
And let’s be honest- for the story we choose we can always find real life evidence for why it’s true. Fear story? Cancer exists. Abuse exists. People die. Maybe you're running out of money or lost your job. At almost every single moment of our lives, fear is very justifiable.
But then again. Faith story? My grandpa and grandma loved each other from the time they were 14 until they died at 96. Nature is exploding with romance and beauty. Music exists. Human beings exist!? What are the chances of that even happening?! And people help each other every single day. Miracles happen every single day. So choosing to believe in faith and outrageous hope is also justifiable.
The pessimist in me says that maybe this really is all just random. A roll of the dice. Maybe we are alone in the universe and nothing actually matters. Maybe it’s all darkness and coldness and math. Maybe the only meaning that really exists is whatever meaning we make up for ourselves. Maybe we've got to fend for ourselves at all costs because everyone is selfish. Maybe choosing the "faith story" is a privileged thing for rich, privileged kids with a safety net who have never been through anything and honestly are a little naïve. Sounds harsh, but seriously, haven't we all considered these things at one point or another?
It’s possible. It is.
But a nagging voice persists in my heart that I cannot ignore! Damn my effervescent optimism!!!
When I find myself in those tear-filled, terror filled, heartbroken meltdowns, considering believing the story built on my fears, I've started to try to ask myself, what is the alternative story here?
What if it's actually going to all be okay, or even GOOD? What if the story doesn't end here? And I don't know how or have an explanation or know the path forward yet or how it will all turn out okay in the end but is that why it's called "CHOOSING faith"? What if love somehow conquers even this in the end?
Reminds me of that quote.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end. ” —John Lennon
I’ll tell you, I had what I call a “bigass breakthrough” about 8 weeks ago.
BIG. ASS. BREAKTHROUGH:
I don’t think I actually need to know which "story" is true.
I think I just need to know which one I choose to base my life on.
Let me explain.
I suppose that IF it’s a matter of taking a gamble and deciding what I want to believe, because who TF knows what’s true for sure? I'm choosing the faith story. Every time.
For one thing, it’s because all the coolest shit that has ever happened to me wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t chosen faith. Faith to fall in love again. Faith to keep going after my dream. Faith to be creative. Faith that I could heal. Faith to believe that things could change and that I could change. Faith that people could actually be good.
Everything good in my life came from taking a leap of faith.
Also, I’m so much more happy when I’m believing there’s a point to all this. When I was walking in the “nothing matters” story is when I was my most unhappy and downright wanted to die.
So let me tell you, I think I would rather laugh than cry in the way I approach my life. And I'd rather be someone that encourages people with hope instead of making them more anxious and adding to their suffering. Maybe to some people that makes me naive or weak, but honestly I don't care. I'd rather be happy.
I would rather experience my life believing in the most beautiful story, and find out I was wrong than to live out my whole life believing I’m alone in the world and nothing matters.
Oh ya. One more reason -
Above and beyond all that - the deepest, oldest most mysterious part of my heart is telling me that the truth is actually beautiful. And I must take that into account too. It might be the only thing that really actually matters here, TBH.
So often our hearts get broken and our faith is broken with our hearts.
People let us down and we decide that it’s all bullshit. Bad things happen and we give up on that little voice of hope. Hope that somehow, in the midst of real life, seems more and more like a childhood Disney fairytale. Trauma has a way of convincing us that nothing good can ever happen again.
Maybe it’s time that our rational, logical selves to reclaim the magic in our stories. Even when all the circumstances say otherwise, even when the whole rest of the world is choosing fear, even when all the odds are against us. This, more than ever, is the time to make space for magic and miracles. This is the time the world needs us most to have hope and be strong for each other and for ourselves.
In my meltdown moments I'm trying to remember that where I put my energy is what I will create more of. Even if I am FEELING afraid I can speak words of faith and love over myself. I can rest, recover and keep fighting. I can make my next moves in faith. I can stand on gratitude for the good things that haven’t happened yet but that I am believing for. I can pray and ask for help and guidance and protection. Because seriously, what do I really have to lose?
There have been so many times in my life I am thanking God for my breakthrough while there are still tears in my eyes, a crushed spirit in my heart and mascara allllll over my t-shirt. But I know that sometimes for magic and miracles to happen for you, or for comfort and love to come to you, you gotta make space in your heart for the possibility that it could actually happen.
So today, if you find yourself slipping down the muddy slope of a meltdown or panic attack, I hope you’ll remember to pause. And make a lil' space for a miracle. Make a little space for the beautiful. Make space for help and guidance to show up. Faith activates miracles in a way that is too deep for us to fully comprehend. But the evidence is everywhere - opening your heart to the possibility that something good can happen highly increases the likelihood of it happening* (*Source: me).
I hope you know you’re worthy of living a life full of hope and magic. I hope you know that you’re worthy of seeing miracles in your life. That “that kind of life” is not just something for OTHER people. It's for you, too. And I hope you don't give up on that for yourself.
I hope you’ll choose the more beautiful story in your next "choice moment." I hope you'll read the books and do the inner work and show up to fight for your best future. I hope you don't give up or give into the fear. I hope you'll believe the call of spirit above the screams of being “a realist.”
Because honestly, why TF not? What do you have to lose?
I love you soooooo so so so so so much. Keep going.
"We're all just walking each other home."