Faith is walking toward your dreams despite the odds. It’s knowing that your best effort is enough and that you’ll be provided for no matter what. Faith is fearless. We all know we need it. But how do you just magically get faith? How do you go from not even believing that you can be happy to actually living out your dreams?
I discovered that faith, like most things, is a learning process; and that taking the big leap only happens after you take the first step (or fifty).
My faith journey:
I struggled with faith for most of my adult life. I just didn’t think that I could take care of myself or be happy, so I didn’t even try. I lived with my parents till I was 25. I put faith in my girlfriends—trusting them to make life meaningful for me. I put faith in my mom, trusting her to take care of me. But my faith was misplaced, because I never gained an ounce of happiness, security, or self-esteem. For me, my faith rests in god, but you may find it equally freeing to place your faith in the universe, yourself, or mankind.
When I questioned whether life was worth living, I was confronted with two options: to quit life or to find a new way into faith.
Spoiler alert: I found my faith. Here's how.
1. I quit relationships cold turkey.
Relationships had been a crutch for my lack of faith. Every time I tried to make a relationship work before I’d found fulfillment in me, I was telling myself that I wasn’t enough—that I couldn’t make it alone. So the faith I put in another girlfriend was faith I stole from myself.
I didn’t know how I was going to be happy. I didn’t know when I was going to be happy. But I knew that another girlfriend wasn’t the answer. So I made the decision to be single until I was happy enough to love unconditionally.
That was my first walk of faith.
2. I chased my passion.
In all the years I’d spent washing dishes, waiting tables, and jockeying cash registers, I was telling myself that I’d never have anything better. I never planned for anything better. And that meant that my life didn't bring me joy. That's why I sought it in others.
So I stumbled into one unfulfilling job after another, always quitting or willfully getting fired and needing a girlfriend just to stay sane, until writing was the only thing I hadn’t failed at.
I’d tried everything else. I couldn’t work with other people; I couldn’t sell anyone else’s junk. But after I committed to being single, I made my first hop of faith: I chased the writing dream.
In pursuing that dream, I discovered a few faith facts.
First, I discovered that if I did something every day, I would eventually succeed—no matter how much of a failure I had considered myself before. Second, I realized that no matter how low someone has been, everybody has skills and experiences that are valuable to other people. And third, I realized I'd always be taken care of if I served others with my passion.
I achieved financial independence after the first year of pursuing my passion—something I had believed impossible. And in making a difference to others while doing what I loved, I realized that I actually didn’t need another person to be happy. There were many times I was anxious about where my next meal or rent check was coming from. But when I had the choice of curling up in a ball or growing my faith, faith became natural.
But I was still missing one key element of faith.
3. I started giving.
If human nature is to give selflessly—which I believe it is—then learning to give is our greatest lesson—especially when giving is hard.
In staying single and pursuing my passion, I’d nurtured my faith from a pebble into a rock. God had always given me everything I needed to get by, but it seemed I’d hit a glass wall keeping me from abundance. I was scraping by—just not thriving.
My natural instinct had been to pinch and hoard every penny that came my way, which I did for a year. But after one payday, I finally realized that I'd had more than enough. I had debts to pay off and necessities to purchase. But I felt the need to give a portion of what I’d earned anyway.
So I tucked away 10 percent of my paycheck, and asked God to send me the person who needed my help. But no one came. And my bank account balance kept getting lower and lower. By the end of the month, I had nothing left but that 10 percent. How was I supposed to give that away?
The answer was to leap.
As I was spending my last bit of money on a blown-out tire, I came across a mother who needed the money I had saved. I cringed at first, fearing for my future. But I remembered that God had always provided for me before, and that He wouldn’t just stop—especially as I was making my first leap. And I was right. Just as I was getting down to my last bit of food, I was miraculously delivered $5,000 worth of new business in a single week—by far the most I’d ever earned.
My walk of faith began when I stopped using romantic relationships as crutches. I grew my faith by choosing to follow my dreams. And I cemented my faith by learning to give freely of what I’d earned. If these steps worked so well for me, I know they will work for you. So try them out for yourself. And live fearlessly.