A link to a Facebook video I did awhile back: You're not alone
I still remember when I first chose to ask Jesus into my heart, not just following what someone told me to do, but really choosing to trust that He loves me because He created me. I remember in that moment I wasn't worried about what would happen tomorrow or even that day from choosing to follow Him, I just knew His love for me. I know I am loved because God knows me.
...not for the things I said or didn't say.
...not for the car or house I had.
...not for what I have done or hadn't done.
...not for how long my shorts were or what color my hair was.
...not for the perfect life (which by the way, is a myth).
...not for what I believed in or didn't believe in.
...not for how my prayers sounded.
...not for how often I read the bible or how many verses I had memorized.
He simply loved me because He knows me and longs for my heart, all of my heart. He knows I'm human and I was okay with that. Slowly over time, I think we sometimes forget that and tend to be hard on ourselves.
I took a "LEAP OF FAITH" when I chose to accept Jesus into my heart.
I didn't know the Bible from heart, pray 24/7, or do all the right things, or any of that other "holier than thou" type things. I didn't follow Him in hoping that if I do good then good things will follow me. It all boiled down to one thing: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. I think over time in our walk, we can start to think His love is conditional, and it's not.
I think the closest thing I can think of to try and explain what I imagine faith is like with God is that it's not something to ever fully grasp, but rather it's something we are constantly growing into. In my personal experience, accepting Jesus because of His love for me alone. Not because my faith is what will help my life be the way I think it should be for me. Rather, realizing that sometimes what God has planned for my life is sometimes something far higher than I could have ever imagined on my own using all of my life, not just the pretty parts. Realizing that our faith isn't putting God in a box wanting Him to make our life the way we think it should be, but rather trusting God and His love for us. I don't want to put God in a box.
Sometimes over time, I think we forget faith doesn't always mean the cancer is going to be healed or that our broken relationships are going to be healed and we're going to just be "easy peasy" all the time. There's no doubt that sometimes cancer is healed, but not always. Often times, it's realizing God and His love for us is enough...even if the cancer isn't healed, even if...(fill in the blank for you)
I know this way of thinking came from the introduction story from the book Shattered Dreams I read a few years back when I thought the church is what I was upset with, but in reality, it's just the human condition. To try and pretty up what we don't want anyone to see.
I think our faith is a lot like the story called "The Empty Pot" and how our faith begins with the courage to be honest with what's hard or what may seem empty.
I remember the first time going through a hard time reading some books that helped me a lot, and like many, it was after feeling hurt from church. I used to play the victim card far more than I like to admit before the transformation I know God needed me to have through hard times. I'm thankful for these hard times now as I see I needed it in order to think differently. God has helped me to have a heart for those who don't feel like they can go to church, as I have felt that many times throughout my lifetime. It hurts, but seeing there's a reason for it, if it helps others who are hurting, than it's worth it.
Two of my favorite books I read that helped me to "think differently" (coined from the movie and book "James and the Giant Peach")
~ "So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore?" by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman
~ "Shattered Dreams" by Larry Crabb
There are going to be hard times, but we can choose what we can learn from those times. Here's a song that has helped me a lot during hard times to still find the hope.
I think it's more about going to God with our brokenness. I am reading a book by Steve Daugherty right now that probably best sums up how I have always viewed faith, but for a long time, I thought I was the only one.
The book I'm reading now: "Experiments in Honesty" by Steve Daugherty
The quote from his book that really stood out is this:
Take it from the kids, they always seem to keep it simple and honest. "It's not about how great our faith is, but how great God is."