What is Faith?

Cross, Faith, Guatemala

It’s scary to take risks.

It’s scary to live a life that is unlike the lives of people around you and it’s scary to look at the world when everything points to its’ fallibility. It’s also scary to accept our roles in creating and changing this world.

But what is faith?

Faith is something we practice everyday, whether we go to work and place it in the ability of the people we work for to pay us, or whether we get on a plane and place it in the hands of pilots flying the plane. We can place our faith in all kinds of systems and structures, and we may never see them.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is this: “Faith is the evidence of things unseen.” Do we see the pilot of a plane from our seats? No. But, every time we get on a plane, we have faith that the pilot is paying attention to his instruments and flying us to our destination of choice.

There’s more to that verse though. “things unseen.” What things go unseen, every day?

Talinn, Estonia
When I was traveling, I operated in faith that “God is love,’ and that I would be aligned with His plans while I traveled. This photo was taken in Tallinn, Estonia.

Our future is unseen.

There is a verse that says, ‘we know in part and we prophesy in part,’ but we never know the full picture. It’s like waiting for a grad school acceptance. We know that the door could open, and we make choices with the scenario that is most likely to occur, but it’s only a piece of the scenario.

In pop culture, there is something that people practice called, ‘manifestation.’ It’s a concept that if you act like you have what you want, you attract what you want. It delves even more deeply than that. You need to visualize what’s ahead of you, like a professional athlete visualizes crossing the finish line. This concept that, “faith is the evidence of things unseen,” aligns with this deep vision that people have of their future, and they are able to walk into it. By stepping out, ‘in faith,’ we give the universe a chance to answer our call, and provide in unexpected ways.

I am a Christian and that means I believe that Jesus was born, crucified and died for my sins to reconcile me with God, through faith. Did I see it, personally? No. But, I have this, ‘evidence of things unseen,’ guiding my steps. Furthermore, I wholeheartedly believe that God created the world with certain rules, and walking in faith is the only way I want to live my life. When I say faith, I mean audacious faith that transcends the role society assigns you and upends the traditional expectations about what life should look like. And, that doesn’t mean that I’m telling you to do what I’m doing. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to seek out your own relationship with God, investigate the thought processes you are implementing, think about your life, and ask yourself, why not pursue a different path if the one I’m on isn’t bringing me joy?

There’s another verse in the Bible that states, “Fear is the opposite of faith,” combined with the verses, “perfect love casts out fear,” and, “God is love.” I think about that. When you have this crazy faith that, “God is love,” and that, “nothing is impossible with Him,” taking risks is a lot easier. Audacious faith, whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, brings about audacious change. I think of Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi as imperfect people who exemplified this audacious, world-changing faith. And, if you are reading this, and you are a Christian, we are called to be the, “salt and light of the Earth,” we are called (way back in Genesis), to be “stewards.” We are “seated with Christ in heavenly places.” Every minute of every second of everyday, we are walking in the light of the divine, and we are able to be catalysts for change.

Life on this planet, and life as a whole is not going to change unless, we create the changes we want to see here. It starts with an audacious belief that change is possible and that we can be the change makers. Beyond preaching the gospel, we have a responsibility to maintain the Earth and innovate new ways of change that can help resolve problems we see everyday. And, it begins with changing ourselves.

One real world example of this type of faith lies in Tyler Perry. He’s a household name. Whether you like his work or not, his belief, perseverance and faith in the evidence of things unseen, kept him going. He has candidly shared about times where he was unable to pay his rent, and now practices giving back to those around him and creating jobs. Audacious faith and belief create the catalysts for us to walk in new realities, everyday, even in the face of doubt and failure.

Our choices are the, ‘evidence.’

There’s a children’s book called “What Would You Do With An Idea.” I love the book. It’s about someone with a crazy idea that gets bigger and bigger. People in the book think the person with the idea is crazy. But, it simply can’t be hidden.

The truth is, every innovation starts as a thought and every time we make steps toward making that idea a reality we are walking in faith. Think about Hebrews 1. There are all sorts of people who took steps of faith and the future is radically changed by those steps, even if it’s a small step.

Harry Potter is a household name. At one point, it was just an idea is JK Rowling’s head- she was a single mom, living in poverty who had severe bouts of depression. JK Rowling took the first step of faith. She wrote the story on a napkin. Then, she kept writing, until she was finished. After, she was rejected by several publishers until someone picked up her manuscript and it was finally published.

JK Rowling operated in a calling, in faith, in hope that someone would pick up her book, and now, she is known for her writing. Harry Potter is more than just an idea, Harry Potter is a world-changing franchise, and has impacted the lives of people across the world. It only exists because JK Rowling had the audacity to believe the story was worth telling, and persevere in faith in spite of rejection. There are literally thousands of jobs in media and entertainment that exist because JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter, and the impact the values of the story had on an entire generation is unquantifiable.

String Theory and The Spirit Realm

This is where it gets a little wacky, but stick with me. I recently read a book called The Midnight Library. It’s about someone who decides to die, and gets to see all of the potential lives she could have lived if she had made different choices. I loved the book (although a very close friend of mine disagreed), and can’t get over the way some people choose to explain, ‘quantum leaping,’ and this idea that there are several lives we could live in several different worlds happening simultaneously. It’s also an idea explored in Doctor Strange and The Multiverse of Madness.

Even stranger than quantum physics, is this idea that there is a, ‘spiritual realm,’ and that, ‘our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities of darkness.’ That verse is so intriguing. Are our choices the result of some kind of battle happening in a universe unseen by us involving angels and demons? I don’t think that this is totally impossible, and I think different people use different languages to describe the same concept.

Assigning terms like, ‘Angelic and demonic,’ is a Christian way of describing, ‘positive and negative energy.’ Reiki healers exist and manipulate some of this energy. There are exorcists (believe it or not I went on a date with someone who told me he followed a guy around South Africa for a year after college to explore this spiritual path. Reader, there was no second date.) and there are elements of life we as humans have yet to understand. I don’t know enough about physics to accurately explain the God Particle, so there’s a link to that as well.

As a Christian, I can’t ignore the spiritual realm (it would be inauthentic to write about ‘unseen,’ without that), but if you aren’t a Christian, or into spirituality, I would encourage you to do your own research. This is just my thoughts in one morning, and I’m an imperfect human.

Faith is like fire- it spreads quickly and gives us light!

Realities of Faith

There are so many accounts of belief being linked to to bodily illness. Chinese medicine goes so far as to connect different organs to different emotions. Before modern science, ancient doctors still sought to heal their patients, so these descriptions are still relevant today. There are mind and body connections, and although Western Medicine prefers to ignore these connections, and prescribe substances, I do think the ideas linking emotions to specific ailments in valid.

Consider this. The Adverse Childhood Experiences measurement is a tool that helps therapists figure out trauma a child experiences. As adults, higher scores are linked to actual physical ailments. The experiences these children have actually impact their physical future. There are studies that show epigenetic changes are made manifest physically.

When I think of belief systems linked with trauma, I think of ‘accepting unacceptable circumstances,’ as normal. Mindset matters. Our mindsets set the stage for our interpretation of events, and that influences our choices and the realities we live in. This podcast explores ideas related to faith, pain and healing. Because life can be painful, and horrible things can happen. But, what’s more important is our response to the pain. How do we use it to heal?

“Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.”

In Conclusion

When we walk by faith not by sight, we are opening doors of opportunity for ourselves. Don’t be afraid to have audacious faith.


One thought on “What is Faith?

  1. Dear Alycia,

    This is the most timely thing ever!!! Miss you much, would love love to catch up!

    Lauren Joyner ________________________________


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