Faith — A Muscle Only You Can Strengthen

Are you the type of person who struggles to achieve a particular goal and can’t seem to get there? If so, you are like many people (myself included) who didn’t understand why all our efforts propelled rather than attracted our dreams and aspirations. The feeling that I could and should make something happen overrode any type of faith or perseverance. Why wait for something to happen? If it weren’t in my time frame, I’d just push a little harder, alienating all possible miracles along the way.

Faith Is Not Natural

Most of us don’t like to wait. Especially when technology has granted us immediate gratification, we’ve become intolerant. While it’s nice to get served on demand, that’s not the way of the warrior.

Learning to wait is the key to understanding how to develop spiritual muscle. Spiritual muscle is faith that is strengthened by doing the footwork and then waiting for the outcome.

If you want a crop, you first must decide what you want to grow. Next, you have to pick the right spot, till the soil, plant the seeds, provide nutrients and water, and then time and nature do the rest.

But what if you don’t want to wait for the natural process of germination and sprouting? You don’t believe you will get a crop because you don’t see anything happening. You know that crops grow, you’ve seen them all around you, but you don’t believe it’s happening for you. You decide to poke around the soil and damage the tender shoot. You tug on the early sprout to speed things up. You add extra fertilizer or a sun lamp and burn the fragile growth. Given this analogy, you might see how you would be sabotaging your goal and all of your hard work.

Some people spend a lifetime going in circles because they refuse to wait. They have a plan, they are ready to execute, but they attempt to force the results. Even if they succeed at getting what they want, they are rarely happy because they interfered with the organic process that was already in place. If they couldn’t see it, they wouldn’t believe it. Rather than allowing their seeds to germinate and grow naturally, they pushed things along, sabotaging the path laid before them, without genuine care for anyone but themselves.

Then, rather than getting an abundant crop, they’ve settled for a smaller, less robust crop or no crop at all. They will never know what was in store for them; they simply could not wait to find out.

The Paradox of Time

Like most people, I learned the hard way — “All good things in time.” This only resulted in failures when I could have enjoyed success. Hastiness caused me to settle for less, make bad choices, and interfered in potentially greater plans for my life. My firm self-will took over. But after decades of spinning my wheels, the truth became clear. It wasn’t anyone or anything else that prevented my dreams and aspirations, and I was my own worst enemy.

Like a racehorse coming out of a gate, I had to learn to restrain myself. I used the same strong will to hold back rather than lunge forward. When the urge to push (either directly or in a manipulative way) came upon me, I stepped back and observed myself. I waited. I kept myself busy with things that I loved doing and learning about rather than dwelling on me, me, me, and my demands.

Then came the gratification. The leaves did sprout, but not just a few, an abundant garden of beauty and abundance. It all happened, not like I planned, much better. The more the crop yielded, the more faith I developed and the more gratitude.

It might seem easier to do it yourself or do it now, but it’s best to prepare and then go with the flow regarding something as special as a life dream or purpose. How else can you ever understand that there is a force here to help you fulfill your mission?

You might not get what you want, but are you willing to consider that’s because something much better is waiting for you? If you’re only intent on getting what you think you want, perhaps you don’t realize your true worth. Maybe, you wanted a few daisies, but beneath the soil is a bed of the world’s rarest roses, just waiting for you to claim.

Dr. Donna Marks is a licensed psychotherapist and an addictions counselor. She is certified in Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy.

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