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What Do You Believe?

posted Jul 14, 2014, 6:01 AM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated Mar 13, 2015, 9:02 AM ]
This was the question that life posed to Author Dani Shapiro that stopped her in her tracks.  She knew what her dad, an Orthodox Jew, believed for he had practiced his beliefs all her life.  Though she marveled at his devotion, she had no resting place for her own.  "Do you believe in God?," her son asked her curious about what he had obvious heard or seen with little boy ears or eyes.  Having no authentic answer, she gave him the "what some" answer.  You know how we do it.  What some people believe is this and what others believe is that.  She realized that he wasn't interested in what some people believe, he wanted to know what she believed.  She was failing him unless she gave him a true answer. 
This put her on a journey. 

I love what she said.  She didn't have an answer but she invited God into the question.  Sometimes that is all we got.  We haven't resolved the answer.  And I know, as parents, we feel we must have all the answers for our kids.  Honestly, that's a pressure that I'm not sure of the origins.  Certainly, my parents were my authority but I found out later that their answers about God were so not mine.  Until I figured out who God was to me, I felt homeless. 

I believe that part of our purpose in life is to find our way home.  I'm not going to impose my Christian upbringing or quote a Bible verse about salvation to justify why I subscribe to both.  No.  I can only tell you that everyone has to figure it out for themselves.  As Dani said, "We don't get to choose what wakes us up."  Maybe some folks devout in their faith feel the need to argue.  Not me.  I believe that when you are content with who you are, you give others a safe place to expose themselves.  To me, that is the greatest gift you can give someone.  Who wants anybody bullying them "for their own good?"  Not me.  I've had that all my life.  There was no room for my beliefs, my thoughts, my questions. 

There was no room for what one dear friend of mine shared.  She said, "I have no problem with God. But I can't get with Jesus."
Rather than rush to Jesus' defense, I listened as she shared why.  The image that Jesus held for her was a wimp.  I understood as she described the road to his crucifixion.  How can you serve an example that didn't stand up for himself, was weak, no backbone, no opinion, powerless.  She said to herself, I'll have none of that.   

I've never confronted or challenged her views.  There was no need for it.  Over the years, I've noticed something quite telling.  We continued to meet and found a resting place of trust and honesty that we cherished.  And get this, the man she married is devout in his Christian beliefs.  I haven't asked her what she thinks of Jesus.  I don't have to.  If she were uncomfortable around us, she would not radiate the joy of being in love and being loved.  You can't fake that.

One of the biggest hurdles that I face as a coach is this question about belief.  My clients have dreams that they can articulate very well.  What hinders them is not the dream, it is what they believe.  They start the journey excited as they move towards their dream.  The closer they get though and the more involved they become with the process, inner conflict becomes more intense.  Though their words say they believe they deserve to have what they dream, their actions say differently.  It's called ambivalence.  My job is to get their words and actions to line up.  That's called integrity. 

Life happens.  We all know that.  Life is not going to stop just because you are pursuing your dreams.  Little Timmy will continue to have sports.  Little Katie will continue to need this and that.  Husbands, wives, employers, friends, family will continue to vie for your attention.  Insecurities will challenge every step.  That's when what you believe is truly revealed.  When you know that you know that you know that you deserve something, nothing can stop you.  

I think back to when I decided to go back to college.  I worked during the day and completed my studies at night.  I had a son.  I had dinner to make.  I had a house to maintain.  We had church: midweek services, choir rehearsal and Sunday worship.  I was rusty.  I had not been in college for 15 years.  Still, I completed my second degree with a 4.0 GPA.  You see, I made my dream a priority and made time for it.  It wasn't easy.  It was difficult.  But I was invested in it.  I was fully committed to seeing it through. 

When you truly believe something, your actions line up with it.  You are invested.  That's what I believe.  What do you believe? 


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