And my heart was bursting full.
I felt clear and confident, with a calm and exuberant joy flying through my veins. The deepest parts of me were shouting, “You’re enough Christa – just the way you are!”
And to be honest, those were words I didn’t hear very often. I have a well-worn way of silencing any syllable that affirms my truest identity.
But, in those moments, I chose to have faith that this was the voice of God.
And it was easy.
Having faith when you’re flying high on life is not difficult, but a delight.
Do you know what I mean?
Regardless of the object of your faith, or the religious tradition (or not) you identify with, having full faith in something is simple when life seems to be going your way.
Faith your marriage will last when your spouse is responding to your needs.
Faith your children will do well in school when the report card is strong.
Faith your friend will beat that cancer when the prognosis is good.
Faith that God is on your side when everything seems to be going well.
But what about when life takes a turn?
Your spouse is shutting down, your children are flunking out, those test results are devastating, and God seems eerily silent.
Then, faith is a fight, and it’s not for the faint at heart.
It’s for the one who is willing to dance with doubt and not climb out of the pit with simple certainties.
It’s for the woman who will wrestle with questions and confusion, and not release her grip on hope.
It’s for those of us who will wait with longing dripping from our hearts for better days to come.
I’ve been there.
My full heart from my time in Spain lasted a few months, and before I knew it, I was being invited into a new season. Darker, quieter, and painful.
God had left the building – or so it seemed.
Insecurity, fear and depression were the clothes I wore and they hung like heavy cement that I couldn’t shake off.
Instead of joy and confidence flowing freely, questions would swirl in my head like a madman set on causing a scene. I felt confused, anxious and worn out.
But, as best as I could, I held onto a pebble of hope. I took the tiny thread of faith and chose to believe that someday, “this too shall pass”, and someday, new clarity and peace would be mine.
Some days, I would choose to pray, when I didn’t feel like anyone was listening.
I would choose to believe that what I experienced on that Spanish mountain was not just some illusion of my imagination.
I would choose to trust that I wouldn’t always feel like this. I would choose to believe that change is the most predictable thing there is, and one day I would be in a different place.
And, some days, I wouldn’t choose to have faith at all. The madman would run amuck and I was stuck in a quicksand that wouldn’t let me go.
That’s how it works. Faith is always a choice.
It’s a choice to live with doubt and not certainty. So many people think that faith is the absence of doubt, but that’s not true.
You cannot have faith without doubt.
The only thing that erases faith completely is complete certainty.
Faith is walking with questions, reservations, hesitation and suspicion.
And this is why it is for the fierce-hearted!
Faith has a way of companioning us into new realities. It carries us like a mother carries a child. Through the murkier seasons of life, when we have lost our will and the way seems dark, the faith we choose to have (however small), helps us down the path.
I’m now in a different place. I still have unanswered questions, and that madman occasionally comes knocking at my door, but my choice to have faith made all the difference.
Fierce-hearted faith is one of the most powerful forces around and I think we need more of it in this world.
We need more people choosing to believe in things they can’t see.
More people willing to step out into unknown places, risking the comfort that comes from staying put.
More women daring themselves to walk in the dark, trusting their path is being led to better days.
Yes, if more of us were fuelled by fierce-hearted faith, imagine the mountains in our lives that could be moved.
Christa Hesselink (@chesselink)has walked on the Camino de Santiago twice, travelling over 1200km solo across Spain. She is the author of , Life’s Great Dare: Risking it all for the Abundant Life, which was released in March 2016. 100% of the proceeds from sales of her book go to the Love2Love project, totally 37,000.00 in it’s first year. Click the link above to purchase.