From failure to faith
Updated: Sep 8
Thank you to all dear readers who responded with personal messages to my previous article on failure. It obviously touched a place of resonance and shared compassion for the human condition in many of you.
It seems like a truly proverbial leap to be moving from the topic of failure to that of faith from one month to the next! And to be tackling faith feels like a risky decision. But it felt risky to share my journey with failure last month, and I was so encouraged by the messages received that I have decided to follow my heart and mind once again and, well, take the leap!
Let me begin by saying that faith, by definition, tends to conjure other words almost simultaneously. Words like religion, and God. In this article, I am not referring to the first, and if some readers decide after reading that what I am talking about is the second word, then that may be so, but I would not make that claim for myself. Having said all of that, I am going to quote from the Book of Hebrews, from the Old Testament of The Bible, because this quote does sum up what I am wanting to get at:
“Faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
The word confidence means, literally, with faith. So, arguably we could say that you and I practice faith every time we choose a liberating assumption that propels us forward, even though what it is going to take to accomplish that to which we are moving towards is unknown to us, and as yet unseen. I have always loved the quote from William Hutchison Murray because I know it to be true. From experience. And if you read about Murray’s life, you are left with no doubt that his life was lived from this place of confidence in providence.
The etymology of providence supplies these definitions: “look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight”.
So it seems to me that what Murray was saying was that when we commit, when we take a leap of faith by believing that something is possible, even when we have not yet gotten tangible evidence to prove it to be so, then our belief – in whatever it is at that moment that we are believing in – ourselves, life itself, a higher power, - whatever it is: that belief is responded to by something that moves in our favour. Some people call this God, and some call it mysterious, and some call it quantum physics. What I know about it, I know from experience, and for me it comes from faith.
There’s a whole lot of what I would called “woo woo” out there, pseudo-psychology that exists under the banner of the word manifestation. I find myself having a low tolerance for it. And yet, and yet, my work, my daily practice, and what I offer out into the world, is a process for replacing untrue limiting assumptions with ones that liberate us to act with this faith. And I believe that it is action which takes the “woo woo” out of manifestation theory, and replaces it instead with a growth mindset.
The Incisive Question, beautifully constructed as a hypothetical exploration of what could be possible if we knew something to be true that we have only just conceived of, moments before, in an act of confidence, is - it seems to me - exactly what William Murray’s beautiful quote is inviting us to consider.
In a world where waiting for something to be over, so that life can “return to normal” (that’s an odd idea at the best of times really, isn’t it?), I am feeling more and more, that one of the greatest acts we can commit to is this: to practice calling on what we hope and dream for. And then to believe, with assurance, in that which is unseen and will move to join in with our foresight, our preparation and our planning, so that providence can join forces with us.
I’m going to keep playing, in the coming weeks, months and most probably years with this dance between my mind, and its capacity to envision what’s possible through the articulation of liberating, hopeful assumptions, with my taking action consistent with my confidence in those assumptions, and with how life responds.
I hope you might join me.