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My Main Issue with Having Faith

shutterstock_127468358Just to clarify, I have more than one issue with the phrase “have faith.”

And in previous years (decades), I have mostly ignored these issues, sensing that any enlightenment I may find around them will come neither quickly nor easily.

But when “Have Faith” recently presented itself as my New Year’s Intention for 2016, the matter got a bit of a bump to the front of the priority line.

Since I trust my intuition as a mentor that always knows best what I most need to learn about, I immediately tackled the goal of “having faith” with gusto.

It then tackled me back.

To date, we seem quite evenly matched, with Faith insisting it is real, valuable, achievable….and the rest of me insisting it is impossible to locate or perhaps even a figment of my overactive imagination.

This is important because my mind (which seems to have elected itself as spokesperson for the anti-have faith committee) very much wants and needs to participate in any project I undertake.

So if my mind doesn’t understand what, how, when, where, why or for whom we are trying to achieve something, there will be many delays until it gets its demands met.

Right now, my mind is really, really, really insisting that “having faith” is a very specific something you only do when things are either, a) very bad and you want them to get better, or b) very good and you don’t want them to get worse.

In other words, there is no “faith for faith’s sake.” There is only “faith towards a goal” – which is either a goal of better or a goal of not getting worse. 

In defense of its hypothesis, my mind has presented many past instances in which others have said to me (in what I assume they’ve always thought is a very reassuring tone), “Have faith!”

For instance, I have heard the words “have faith” after:

  • A painful breakup.
  • A layoff.
  • A health scare (for me or someone I love).
  • A creative endeavor that is not producing sufficient income.
  • The opposites (i.e. good times) for each of these scenarios.

You get the idea.

So here, actively pursuing a lifestyle of having faith appears rather similar to trying to get everything in my life “just so” – perfect – just the way I want it.

Which is scary, since this is also pretty much my definition of being dead.

Speaking of definitions, when I look up the definition of faith, the very first definition that pops up is:

Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

Various definitions then go on to define possible someones (like God) or somethings (like religious doctrines or – my personal favorite – “things not seen.”)

Two more intriguing definitions:

Firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

Complete trust.

But here again, having faith seems to be an act predicated on someone or something else, rather than a state unto itself.

And perhaps this is exactly what having faith is – having faith in or against an outcome, or a being, or a teaching, or a goal or vision.

But somehow it feels like it should be something more than that, something deeper and more fundamental than simply setting my mind towards or against a future outcome or occurrence.

Is faith an action item? Is it a state one can experience without the need for an instigating desire or goal? Is it a mindset? A movement of the heart? A spirit-call?

For now, my answer to all of the above is “I don’t know.”

Today’s Takeaway: Are you wrestling with a resolution or intention you have set for yourself in this new year? If yes, what is giving you the most trouble? Is it your mind’s objections? Finding the time or motivation? Connecting with supportive others? 

Woman searching photo available from Shutterstock

My Main Issue with Having Faith

Shannon Cutts

Freelance writer. Author. Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise & box turtle mama.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2016). My Main Issue with Having Faith. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Sep 2016
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