As I mentioned previously when I discussed this topic, I’m not about to shove beliefs down your throat. Trust me, I don’t like that either. But I cannot deny that having faith in my life gives me many things to be grateful for.
When I talk about this aspect of my life, I don’t consider myself as anything special. In fact, I’ve gone through different phases of life where I avoid spirituality altogether, where I either cannot see past my own clouded vision or I am just plain angry at my life and blame any source I can for it.
Just know, if I use the term “God” whenever in this, you can always insert your own beliefs (or even no beliefs, that’s fine, too) in its place. Even though I haven’t gone to church in quite a while, mostly due to both Sunday morning laziness and a disgust for the hierarchical structure hungry for money, that by no means judges my personal beliefs about religion. Although admittedly, I would probably lean more toward spirituality in general. To me, that term feels more like an individual connection rather not necessarily reliant on strict rules and the community that follows them.
There’s a reason why religion plays such an important role in human culture. Why it causes both war and peace. By nature, we are drawn to asking the questions of our own purposes in this world. We want to believe in something, whether that is a greater being or our own potential. It’s a way to guide ourselves and find meaning in our struggles and experiences. It’s too easy to feel lost and alone, but simply knowing you have something to rely on in times of joy and crisis is so comforting.
The problem that comes from religion is the way that people separate different sets of beliefs from one another when they all find similarities within each other. Beyond that, they all come from the intention of wanting hope and security in something outside of the earthly realm. Just because I consider myself a Christian doesn’t mean I don’t find myself drawn to philosophies like Buddhism. In some cases, beliefs can work hand-in-hand to personalize to your needs and desires, whatever resonates with you. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, but I think you should always believe in something. Life is too hard to go at it alone.
Every day, I am grateful to wake up knowing that I am here living this particular life for a reason. I am not mindlessly breathing oxygen just to take up space. Although the ways are mysterious and unknown to me, I believe I have a plan set out for me, which in turn makes planning little details out tricky. I am grateful for a way to find peace when everything seems chaotic, to rest my mind knowing that I was specifically designed in a godly image. At the same time, I can believe in myself knowing I have the ability to help others and make a positive contribution to the world. I can meditate on the fact that my time spent on earth is temporary, everything passes, and everything will work out, no matter how dreary things may seem. Every day feels like something new, it begins as a clean slate. If I made mistakes yesterday, today can be different, and tomorrow can be something else.
This year has not been an easy one. We as a society have faced a lot of turmoil. I constantly see people begging the universe to end this year as soon as possible, to not throw the curve balls and darkness that came with 2016. Through my faith, I know that beneath the darkness is light, an innate goodness that will never die. Karma isn’t a bad thing either. Just like a storm cloud, it will eventually float on by. We don’t have to stand under the thunder and lightning. So much good has happened this year, too, and even better times will be just around the corner.
I thank my faith for keeping me grounded, for inspiring me to make the most of every day I have because it is not guaranteed. I am thankful for the peace of knowing that even though I am a sinner and far from perfect, I am fine just the way I am, and I have the ability to let go of those shortcomings and continue to grow and learn. I am thankful for my individual practices of prayer and meditation that provide even just a moment of comfort. I am thankful that even if I stumble away from those practices, I can always come back. I am also thankful the ability to learn about other religions, but other practices and teachings that give people hope and uplift them. In a time of life where it’s okay to be a little selfish to figure out what you want, it’s still good to remember that even if I can’t figure everything out right now, even if I feel blind and out of control, I will be fine.
And the same goes for everybody, no matter what they personally think. We aren’t mindless little ants crawling around the earth. We are intelligent, caring, inspiring people capable of amazing things. While it’s great to take a time for spirituality, perhaps the most important thing we should believe and have faith in is ourselves.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie