What happens when we lose our faith? What happens when we stop believing everything happens for a reason, that all the struggles we face and the hardships we endure have no lesson tied to them, no point other than to show us how cruel life can be at times?
I can tell you what happens. I’ve been there. Some days, I’m still there.
Anger happens. When you let slip away your acknowledgement of unconditional love, your heart makes room and anger swiftly takes up residence. You begin dwelling on those who have done you wrong in the past. Grievances long ago forgiven seem to creep back into your mind and you begin to wonder how you could ever let something like that go in the first place.
You become angry with God. After all, He’s the one at the head of table dealing out the cards, right? If He truly cared, if He truly loves unconditionally, then why choose suffering?
Resentment happens. When you have no belief in a higher power, suddenly everything in your life seems wrong. You start focusing on your husband’s faults or your wife’s faults and suddenly, you’re overwhelmed by this feeling you are trapped in a marriage that has been wrong from the start. The person you’ve sworn to love until death do you part no longer understands you or values the things you do.
Guilt happens. Followed closely by doubt. Suddenly you’re surrounded by mothers or fathers who are perfect. Mothers who never burn the brownies the night before the bake sale. Fathers who never show their frustration with their child. Suddenly, the only one making any mistakes at all is you. And you start to believe you aren’t worth very much at all. You start thinking everything you do is wrong in one way or another. Then you revisit your anger one more time because why in the world would He make you a mother if He knew you couldn’t handle it?
All of these self-inflicted injuries continue to pile up until you start to feel like you’re suffocating, and you just don’t know how you’ll make it another day. But you will.
It’s a daily battle. Every day, we must choose faith. And it’s hard because for most of us, this means admitting that we cannot do everything alone. It’s admitting we don’t have all the answers. It’s admitting we need help and guidance.
Every situation in our lives gives us an opportunity to make a choice. We can choose to let stress at work affect our relationships. We can choose to let our grudges and pride poison our friendships. We can choose to cast faith aside and place the blame on everyone else.
But isn’t that one of the most beautiful aspects of faith? No matter how far we may stray, we are never truly alone. We are never out of sight. We are left to make our own mistakes and we are faced with choice whether we learn from them. And when we are ready to return, the door is open. And we quickly discover it was never closed.