What do you do when you’ve lost faith?
Perhaps it’s lost faith in your religion, in the spiritual practices that once brought you comfort..
Perhaps it’s lost faith in your community, in the people around you that once inspired you.
Perhaps it’s lost faith in yourself, looking in the public or private mirror, seeing less of what’s supposed to be there.
How do you recover your faith? How do you rebuild that energy, that belief, that conviction, the passion that drove you to impossible ends, forcing the very gossamer clouds to crystallize into bridges to the stars through your will alone?
Losing faith is losing light, losing illumination, losing your way. All seems to be darkness around you. Confusion, despair, depression, forsaken. We hope for a helping hand or someone else’s light, and for a short time, a friend may help us find the path, but darkness inevitably returns. How do you find the light that you know used to be there?
Faith, light, and hope come from within us. We lose our faith when we lose our will to search, to quest, to seek out more, to be more than we are and closer to who we can be. An apathetic jeweler who loses the will to polish a gem ends up with a pile of only rough stones, barely hinting at their potential glory. A carpenter who has lost their way builds only small huts instead of grand palaces fit for emperors. So it is with all of us.
But how do you re-ignite that fire, that light? Where do you start when all is darkness?
With a single match and a small pile of tinder, the same way you start any fire. You go back to your basics. The wonderful thing about having lost faith is that you’ve already discovered the process by which you create it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just build a new one – and build it better, tempered by the experiences and wisdom of your previous efforts.
Back to the basics. Back to what you know, back to what you are proficient at, even if you don’t believe in yourself, your skills, your friends, your anything. Back to the beginning of the trail, back to the plain white belt around your uniform. That’s the wonderful beauty of the basics. You don’t have to believe. You merely have to do.
From the basics, you build momentum. You pick up that camera more frequently and take more shots. You write those blog posts a little sharper, a little fresher. You pray a little harder and share a little more with every parishioner. You polish those gems a little more crisply, build a little bit taller with every time-tested basic you know by heart.
From dimly glowing embers on a pile of tinder, you add kindling. You practice and execute your basics over and over again, seeing the results, feeling the comfort that familiar ground and old friends bring. You add twigs, sticks, branches, then logs, until the fire is rebuilt.
Before long, your fire is brighter and hotter than it’s ever been. The way is lit again for you, the furnace ready to forge your victories once more. You dare to believe again, this time better, stronger, wiser, more focused, more ready. The light inside of you illuminates the pitfalls ahead more clearly. The anvil and forge you burn away impurities with will make even stronger tools to guide your will.
At the end of the process of rekindling your faith, you may even notice that the light blazing inside of you is lighting the path for others to find you. Pass them some embers, and see where their faith will take them.
May your light shine ever brighter.
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