My Fragile Relationship with Faith

It feels like a lifetime ago that I was writing a blog reviewing 2019. So much hope for 2020 and what the year would have planned for me going forward. A month later and I’m in a state of disorientation with my life. Questioning my very purpose and value to the world around me, which leaves me wondering why am I so easily steered off course in life? Why are my beliefs in something bigger for my life fickle? What’s wrong with me?

I’ve found writing this blog challenging for a number of reasons. I have real trouble verbalising the pessimistic, negative thoughts and feelings inside of me. This blog is also extremely self-obsessive; it asks me to go to a dark place and question why I cannot have everything I want immediately because of this laughable premise that stems from “it all comes from a good place”. The art of selfish-virtue.

The word ‘Faith’ for me is a mixture of Faith in God as well as a belief that if I live my life with positive intentions, I’ll then be guided through my life by something bigger than myself. Faith has been the driving force for a lot of my adult life (especially when making a lot of big decisions) and it’s grown over the past couple of years, yet I still find myself questioning whether I’m capable of any real greatness.

Can you tell that I’m very much a cliché of most people in January? Although clichés can be tediously repeated, there’s always a small sense of profoundness in them. Starting the year with faith and positivity in abundance to make it about 8% of the way and begin questioning every thought and feeling.

I cannot state this strongly enough. The intention of this blog isn’t a cry out for help, it’s to be transparent with you along my journey and to hopefully allow someone to read this and take solace that someone else is going through the up’s and down’s of life with them. Much like for many people, January has tested my Faith. I usually find myself burned out by February 1st through working too hard and mismanaging my energy, whereas this January, I have avoided the “burnout” tendency and discovered a new found acuity to pain internally and for those I care about around me; both physically and emotionally.

It’s felt very overwhelming.

I found myself crying harder than I have cried in years at the idea that I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel and even when I try to pursue options for growth and evolution, I am met with speed bumps and road blocks and stop signs and traffic diversions. I fortunately found a commencement speech from the late author, David Foster Wallace called “This Is Water” in late December and these words have stuck with me ever since:

You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as Atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you… But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

You can find the entire speech here (It’s only audio) as it’s one of my favourite speeches I’ve ever heard and I’ve listened to it almost every day in January:

The reason I bring up this particular section of an almost 23 minute speech is that I worship one thing and it speaks greatly to how I’m feeling now. That thing is value. I worship those who are driven to bring value to people’s lives and I believe it’s our responsibility as human beings to dedicate ourselves to improving the world around us through our ability to provide value to it. As virtuous as that may sound, it leads to sporadic spells of feeling like I provide no value and that’s a sentiment which isn’t easy to accept and it’s even tougher to admit publicly.

I feel like the very thing that makes us human is the ability to feel an array of emotions. As tough as it has been to find my way back to a healthy space again, I refuse to take for granted what it means to feel rather than to simply exist. I’m revisiting therapy to see if I can figure out all some stuff and just because January has been tough, it doesn’t dishearten me for the rest of 2020 which I still have a great deal of hope for.

Let’s collectively take a deep breath and move forward. I appreciate your time and I’m sending love your way.

Luca 🙂 x

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