I am a "look before you leap" sort of girl. When people tell me to "have faith" or worse still tell me that "it'll all work out to God's plan" I have to grit my teeth so that I don't come out with an expletive to fully express my doubts and to some extent my derision of such an approach. For a notionally open minded person I am becoming increasingly aware of my close-mindedness. No bad thing. In my life personal growth has not been linear but these days it is a constant nonetheless. I don't so much take strides as inch my way forward in increments so small as to be almost infinitesimal.
I do not have faith.
I have hope. I have wishes and dreams, wants and desires. I have goals and plans. I have love and friendship. I have all these, but I do not have faith.
I used to try to believe in a Creator God in the Judeo-Christian mould but many years ago my questioning of the framework within which this 'almost-faith' resided brought the whole shebang tumbling down. My faith was of the kind that the apostle Thomas would have understood well. It was riddled with doubts and questions. Inevitably and inexorably I lost what I never really had because my faith, such as it was, was not sustainable. It could not withstand even my own scrutiny.
Living a faithless life is not without wonder or awe as some might imagine, but I do miss the comfort of having faith.
Wind forward to today. I am endeavouring to find a framework within which I can honestly and with integrity hold fast to a Higher Power ... a "God of my understanding" no less. This is no academic exercise. And it's hard to explain the necessity of this except to say that it is a necessary part of the 12 Step approach to "recovery."
The "God of my understanding" needs to be substantial enough to withstand scrutiny but it need only make sense to me. It needn't be perfect but it needs to be real enough to enable me to say "thy will not mine" and mean it.
One of the things I am learning about at the moment is honesty. For me this means saying "I don't know" a hell of a lot more of the time than I used to because I'm trying not to just say what I think the other person wants to hear.
A lot of the time I don't really know what I think or how I feel. When I say that personal growth has been a constant feature of my life lately it would seem self evident that there is still some way to go. It's a strange place I find myself in just now ... it's like I don't really know who I am. And yet at the same time it's kind of nice too because I might even get to find out.