Yesterday, I experienced a bit of a crisis of faith. And for a while, that knot in my stomach returned. Thankfully, I have a husband who has a gift for speaking truth to me in way that encourages and uplifts. I realize now that the same words could give hope and joy or have little effect (even cause pain) to a person (or different people) depending on where one is in one’s journey. Two weeks ago, nothing that Zibin said last night would have given me comfort…but where I am now, it served as an invaluable reminder. I share it now, in the hope that at some point, this, along with other things I have shared, both in this blog or elsewhere, may also bring joy and hope when revisited.
Here are some of the things he said to me (not verbatim), which gave me that little push back into trusting.
“In the last week, you had gone from knowing you have to trust in God…to starting to actually trust in God. It had gone from the level of your head, to finally descending into your heart. And that was why you had begun to experience peace.”
“Don’t be too worried about the turmoil you feel now. Do you realize that nothing has *really* changed in the last few hours, or even in the past week? What is changed right now is that your emotions are stirred again and your perspective is being pulled back into the narrower one you had just begun to step out of. Do you think anything you do or feel would change what God has prepared in His love for you? No! If you really trust God to give you your heart’s true desire out of His love for you, whenever or however that may happen, you will realize that what He is planning to give you has not changed. It is only you feeling change because you are in process.”
“Maybe this is a test for you, to see if you can give a higher level of trust. A week ago you could not trust. You felt that you needed to know something assuring about the outcome before you could let go. Then, you began to trust, regardless of whether or not there is assurance about the future. Right now, you feel not only is there no reassurance about the future, you seem to be confronted with something negative. If you can still trust, it will be an even higher level of trust than before.”
“Ann, Ann…you worry so much. Do you think God loves any less than you do? He loves so much more than you do! And do you think there’s anything that you could possibly do that He is not able to do for those you love? He can and will do much more! You just have to stop being kaypoh and go back to looking at yourself now…that’s your current task.”
I felt that Zibin’s reminders were very true. If trust is not dependent on signs, then I should still be able to trust whether or not there are encouraging signs, and even when there are seemingly discouraging signs. When I find myself still affected by signs, that is an indication that I am still holding on to a particular wish rather than hoping with a trusting heart.
When I am in a situation of flux and change, it is easy to be swept away by the waters that are still churning and to lose the delicate sense of peace that I am beginning to build. But is there really anything real to fear? Peace comes not when the waters stop churning (i.e. it is not dependent on external circumstances or signs), but when I discover that even in the midst of churning waters, there is something deep, abiding, and unchanging. When the waters around me increase in turbulence, I grow anxious again by nature. But if I remember that the churning waters do nothing to affect that core of love and truth within me that I have just begun to rediscover, I will realize that I have nothing to fear no matter how turbulent the waves may become.
We are still in process…we are changing, as such, we are in flux. If we fix our eyes on each other’s or our own external selves, our peace of mind would be subject to every new wave that comes. If you think about it, that is unnecessary pain because our external selves are still in process…none of those waves have any real permanence. Though it may at first be easier said than done, what we need to do is to find that inner core within us. When we fix our eyes on that, we would not be as subject to the transient winds of change. And we will find it easier to genuinely trust.
What is that inner core? How do we find it? That’s the goal of our personal quests. I believe that the core is the inner voice of love in me. But I only began to realize that when I stopped running away from looking at what is within me. Your core may appear in a different way to you, but I believe that it is also a voice of love. But that voice is so soft and gentle that it is easy to miss. I have found that solitude and silence are invaluable friends that helped me detect that voice. Solitude and silence may be hard to come by…there are so many distractions around us, at home or at work. We need to seek time alone to get acquainted with our inner voices…I know that now.
It is impossible not to grieve when we have to let go of something that has value to us. Yet, I have found that I do not have to devalue the matter in question in order to let it go. Such negative thoughts are not only inaccurate, it does not allow me to move forward in joy. No, as imperfect as it was, there was genuine goodness.
Trust has helped me to simultaneously affirm that something has value and yet start to let it go. Why? Because trust is teaching me to hope. And that hope is releasing me from the need to know the future, of what will be or will not be. And as hope opens up my heart, my grief is slowly transformed to peace and joy. That can only come when I have allowed myself to grieve and acknowledge my loss. Yet, when hope begins to transform me, I begin to see my loss not as the end, but as a new beginning that holds promise…a promise that is hidden, but hidden safely in God’s love. Genuine hope that trusts…is hope that will only grow stronger with time.
Everything that needs to be done…be it letting go, leaving fear behind, or trusting, or hoping…begins from finding that inner voice of love deep within us. That is the key. Look inwards. And the rest will begin to take care of themselves.