I received a few emails this weekend after my 5 minute: 5 years ago experiment on Friday. Three of them were almost identical… asking how I can keep believing so firmly after getting up only to get knocked back down again.
They weren't saying I shouldn't still believe, to clarify, they were just looking for a practical way to have that be their default reaction. And I'm here to say that it takes practice.
This comment by Jenn on that post summed it up well, I think:
the way i know that you believe what you believe deep down to your core is that this post is what came out when you only had 5 minutes to write about the topic at hand. i love that God has given this rock solid joy and perspective to you.
It is a belief down to my core. And trusting God with all my heart leaves no room to pretend His love isn't enough. But the only way I can have that reaction in every situation is by making it a habit. And making it a habit takes practice.
I don't want you to think that because I believe so strongly, life doesn't still hurt and keep hurting. It's just shy of eight months since Dad left us, and it still feels like someone is scraping out my soul with sandpaper. There is still a numbness and a grief that greets me every single morning when I open my eyes.
Believing doesn't spare us the grief. It doesn't spare me the pain of illness or the emotional exhaustion of surviving it every day. But survive it I do because I have practiced it.
I practice it by praying every day. I practice it in my pursuit of finding and choosing joy. I practice it in the morning when I wake to praise music to shift my focus, and I practice it in the evening when I read my bible.
I practice when I talk to people who are hurting and weep with them, and then reassure them of who our God is. I practice when I pray for peace and fortitude, and thank God for the people and blessings in my life. I practice when I thank Him for the good that comes from the difficult. I practice when I praise Him for simply being… because if He never does another thing for me in my life, I will already have been blessed beyond measure by His sacrifice on the cross.
I practice. I read. I pray. I don't have to try to find God in hard situations because I instead choose to acknowledge Him in all situations. I practice my reactions in the little things every day so that my reaction becomes habit when the big things hit.
Like all important things in life, my reaction that comes from habit only becomes a habit because I work at it.
Practice doesn't always make perfect. But it is an essential step in making life better. :)