Faith and a New Way of Thinking

faith1Have faith.

But when you are at the lowest of your moods, how do you have faith?  Where does that ability to have faith come from?

Presently I am reading a book about being happy despite your circumstances.  Being happy doesn’t fix the problems and concerns of daily life, happiness doesn’t even pay the bills or find the lost spirit.  Happiness is fleeting for the most part.

Joy is what seems to be lasting, but how do you find joy?  Where does joy come from?  Someone, I’m sure, will come back and say that you find it in Jesus Christ.  Yes, I agree that knowing our Savior should bring us joy — joy that is everlasting and eternal.

But how do you find joy or have joy when you are down, lost, depressed, feeling out of sorts?

This book talks about thoughts — how we are always constantly thinking. We’re thinking without even knowing or realizing that we are thinking.  Thoughts are formed within a nano second and can last as long as we think about them.  The key here is how long we decide to think about them, good or bad.

Our thoughts are divided between two things: reality and non-reality which is formed by fear, emotions, past experiences that can or cannot relate to the present situation, and habit.  It’s in knowing the difference between these two thoughts that gives us the high mood or the low moods we as human beings experience each and every day.

The silly thing about many of us (myself included) is that there is nothing wrong with our lives. We have wonderful families, (with a few nuts, of course) a good marriage, great kids, a roof over our heads, food on the table, and a job to go to each week.  Our health is good, there’s money in our pockets, and we have friends to count on, but still the moods, the thoughts come and carry us away — nothing is right, life sucks, I’m too fat, not smart enough, I hate this house, this town, ahh!   Then, before you know it, you’re as low as one could get: no faith, no joy, no happiness, just discouragement.

The key is to control the thoughts that are coming fast and furious, without consciousness or control.  Quickly deciphering which is reality and which thought is not — since so many of our thoughts are not even possible — is difficult at best.  These thoughts have been created from fear, mental deception, temptation from the great Deceiver, and whatever else we have exposed ourselves to (TV, movies, Facebook).  I, myself, have read way too many of these stories to forget, much less dismiss them easily as possible non-realities.

But we must. One thing the author says in this book is that we need to review our present situation and see that mostly there is no reason or proof of reality of our thoughts, so we must discount them and replace these negative thoughts with positive ones.  Redirect your head, or, as a friend of mine says, “re-frame it.” Look at it differently and see through rational eyes what is truly reality.

What I see here is having the courage to change and release thoughts that are not reality and that are formed from fear.  Having the courage to believe in a reality that we may not see with our eyes, but with our hearts.  I’ve heard courage described as being fear with running shoes on. Interesting, but makes sense.  Courage is having the gumption to take off on faith despite our thoughts and fears.

So back to my original question:  How does one have faith when at the lowest of our moods?  Through prayer. Not just one prayer, but many prayers and many thoughts of God and a saint or two whose journey through mortal life had challenges that they persevered through.

We must persevere in faith, finding the joy that is in Jesus Christ through positive thinking, redirecting our heads and hearts to more meaningful and joyful reading material, like the Bible, to help us along the way, both spiritually and mentally. And don’t forget your guardian angel who is there to keep and guide you!!

Dear Heavenly Father, when the dark thoughts happen across my mind, grab them before they reach my heart and hold me firmly in your arms.  Help me to think only of your love and feel the joy that is in your son our Lord Jesus Christ!

A Master Catechist,  Ebeth Weidner is the wife of a scientist and mom to 3 wonderful young people.  She is the author of “A Catholic Mom climbing the Pillars” blog and a contributor to CatholicMom.com, Catholic Lane, and the new blog:  Association of Catholic Women Bloggers.  Ebeth shares her journey with others as she climbs the pillars of truth in the Catholic Church.