This is about choices. We all are able to, and indeed should make, many important choices in our lives. We can try to go through life never making any great, personal decisions. Actually, it’s pretty easy, isn’t it?
And then we can blame everybody else for our confusion, and fear, and uncertainty. I prefer to question, to commit (make my choice), to hope, and to believe. Believe in what?
Believe in myself; believe in God, believe in my fellowman. Notice the order of my list. The first choice, and it makes the others that much easier, is choosing to believe in myself. No one can make you believe in anything or anyone. No one – but you. So, you can choose to be on your own side or you can decide to be on no one’s side. The latter makes for an interminably long life with no purpose. Choosing to be on your own side is positive and rewarding.
Once you believe in you, it is immeasurably easier to believe in an Author of this unbelievably complicated story that is your life. To believe in yourself is, I’ve come to know, to believe in God. God is everywhere, in everything He created. He created you so He’s IN you. Thus it follows that you must believe IN God when you believe IN yourself.
So, you believe in yourself because it’s the best course of action if you plan on living for very long on this earth. You believe in God because you believe in you. You want to know why you then choose to root for your fellowman? Let me explain. Because you don’t actually trust and believe every solitary soul on the planet that ever was and ever will be is a terrific individual. But, you do believe in everyone’s potential to be terrific. Where’d that potential come from? God. And if each person believes in God because they believe in themselves, there’s the potential being realized.
Unfortunately, not every person chooses to even think about God, much less believe in Him and seek a relationship with Him. Nor does everyone look at themselves and wonder who made them, and for what purpose. Realizing God is in you is a huge step; then cultivating that relationship with the Eternal is the next step that will last the rest of your days. And God is with you (in you!) during the journey.
I’ve made choices. Plenty. Some were extremely difficult. But I faced them. I’m the better for having pondered them. I’m the better for my right decisions and for my mistakes. I’m a true believer in making choices. I can give you an example.
God became real for me – I’m talking a real Person – when I was 12 years old. It took me the next 10 years to decide if my “religious preference” was the correct one. At the end of my long search, I chose to remain Roman Catholic, but a dedicated, more committed one. I decided to live my faith and share my faith, not just ‘be Catholic.’ I continue to allow God to deepen that relationship within me. It’s been, and continues to be, amazing.
Spiritual searches are scary. There are so many vastly differing views about what the spiritual needs are; who should fulfill them, and how. And, for good or ill, for those who want to take responsibility for their being, a seemingly endless amount of people willing to bring you over to their way of thinking. I would say that the people I spoke with in my search had, for the most part, really thought the spiritual and existential questions through and had consciously decided to be disciples of their beliefs, and usually disciples of God. (God help the ones who hadn’t.)
Since I’m discussing spiritual choices, some chose to not believe in God at all. It simultaneously saddens me and bugs the hell out of me (Sorry, but it’s true; I am only human!) when someone tells me he/she doesn’t believe in God. But everybody ought to choose. My argument fervently asks you to consider not only that God exists, but that He is both interested in and involved in our lives, that there’s a God who loves you more than you can imagine.
How many of us truly seek out the truth about where our spiritual self belongs? How many take the time and energy to at least mull over, at most agonize about, if we should worship God, how we should worship, where, why? I’d like to believe it’s a great number and that it’s just so personal in our culture that most prefer to keep it to themselves. I hope this is the case.
And it is in this hope that I make this essay public. See, lately I’ve been feeling as if not all that many are making this choice. Partly that’s evidenced in the dwindling numbers attending Mass, gathering to praise, thank, and glorify God in communion with others and with Him. Partly it’s worrying about how many of those who do attend are actually participating? You can show up, but not DO anything. And so I wrote this to let you know – those who wonder if they’re the only ones to have gone through the challenging process of seeking, of questioning, of choosing and committing – you’re not alone.
Maybe I wrote this hoping some of you “choosers” out there would make yourselves known to me after reading this to let me know that I’m not in a minority here! I don’t know anyone’s heart so I can’t know for certain. But I do know that it’s by the “fruits” that we will know who has sought and found. Or better yet, has sought and been found. If you are thinking about making a choice, look up! Breathe deeply. Ask questions of the Creator of the Universe, and the King of kings and expect an answer! He will answer.
That’s not something I choose to believe; that’s something I know. It’s happened to me too many times to count. Your answers will come through other people (seek them out as I did), things you see (in nature, in your home, in a building, even a church!), things you listen to (music, even stuff you don’t normally listen to), through things you think (imagination is a huge part of faith and faith seeking), through things you read. I highly recommend the Bible, also known as Holy Scripture, God’s Word. It has always helped me. But that won’t be the only place God will answer you. A good novel, a poem, something you find on the internet, sometimes.
Life is about choices. Some are small and easy, like what to have for lunch. But some are huge and the process can be a struggle. Usually that’s because we are resisting instead of surrendering. We don’t surrender our intellect, our creativity, our thoughts, but we surrender our will to God’s. That’s where true freedom is born. It is so very rewarding, as in eternally rewarding. We were given a brain and we’re supposed to use it. We were given a heart and a soul and the same is true of those. Search your heart. If it’s restless, it’s because you haven’t found the Answer yet. But if you keep searching, you will. And then the choice is easy! Huge, but still easy.