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Meadowbrook Country Club
2149 N. Green Bay Road
Racine, WI 53405

Sunday Morning Service at 9:30 a.m.
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Renewing Faith in Ourselves

Sharon Salzberg, in her book Faith, writes, "I want to invite a new use of the word faith, one that is not associated with a dogmatic religious interpretation or divisiveness. I want to encourage delight in the word, to help reclaim faith as fresh, vibrant, intelligent, and liberating. This is a faith that emphasizes a foundation of love and respect for ourselves. It is a faith that uncovers our connection to others, rather than designating anyone as separate and apart. Faith does not require a belief system, and it is not necessarily connected to a deity or God, though it doesn’t deny one. This faith is not a commodity we either have or don’t have – it is an inner quality that unfolds as we learn to trust our own deepest experience."

I believe that having faith in ourselves begins with trusting in our own inherent goodness, our sacredness. When we are able to do this so many things fall into place. Now we'll be willing to defend ourselves, our rights, our needs, our worth. We will have more confidence, be more willing to risk and to question. We'll stop the negative self-talk and listen to our inner core.

In our scripture for today, Paul writes to the church in Philippi about the faith he has in himself, whether life is going well or not, on a full stomach or an empty one, the secret for him was having a deep faith in the One who strengthened him spiritually.

For those of us actively on a spiritual journey, our faith in our selves is intimately linked with our understanding of the divine. If we have faith that God loves us unconditionally, no matter what, then it is much easier to have faith in our own goodness. 

However, if we believe that God is out to judge us worthy or unworthy… then how can we possibly ever have faith in our inherent worth and goodness? Sadly, so many Christians believe in the inherent sinfulness of people (which I stand adamantly against). But, why would we try to bring forth our inherent goodness if the Ground of our Being doesn’t believe it exists within us?

Do you remember the old Peanuts comic strip? Picture Lucy sitting her homemade psychiatrists booth, a DOCTOR IS IN sign tacked to the front, with poor Charlie Brown as her "patient." “You know what your problem is, Charlie Brown?" says Lucy, "The problem with you is that you’re you.”  Crushed, Charlie Brown asks, “Well, what in the world can I do about that?” Lucy responds, “I don’t pretend to be able to give advice. I merely point out the problem.”

Lucy’s diagnosis, we know, is the essence of Charlie Brown’s problem. He’s looking outside of himself to affirm his worth, goodness and lovability. Lucy symbolizes the world and the myriad of ways our faith in ourselves can be crushed. 

Our faith in ourselves can be undermined by critical parents, societal images of perfection, our desire to please others, surrounding ourselves with negative people, rejection, betrayal, abuse, loss of ability and more.

If these things are our only experience of ourselves, then we need to go deeper. We have to work to have faith in ourselves, to affirm our own goodness instead of beating ourselves up.

The Berkley Well-Being Institute offer some tips to start building trust (faith) yourself:

  • Do what you say you're going to do. And this includes doing what you tell yourself you are going to do!
  • Be honest with yourself. Be self-reflective, know your needs, your triggers, your dreams, your struggles.
  • Do what you believe is right. Live your values and follow your inner compass. If you're on a path that is true to you, then it'll likely be easier to believe in your ability to walk it.
  • Be clear. Get clearer about who you are and what you want. Know the things you are willing to do and the things you are not. 

I know that life isn't always easy. In fact, we regularly deal with struggles and suffering of many different kinds. Faith in ourselves enables us, despite our fear, to get as close as possible to the truth of the present moment, so that we can offer our hearts fully to it, with integrity. Brene’ Brown once said, “I thought faith would say, ‘I will take away the pain and the discomfort.’ But what it ended up saying is ‘I will sit with you in it.’” 

Faith in ourselves and our own goodness radiates through everything we do. If we believe in our goodness no matter what, then we’re more willing to risk because failing doesn’t reflect on our very essence.

If we have faith in our own goodness, then we can trust ourselves when we ask questions, when we seek truth. We’re more willing to trust our intuition and instincts than to blindly follow another.

If we have faith in our own goodness, we’ll seek to surround ourselves with positive people instead of people who are negative, controlling or abusive.

If we have faith in our own goodness, we won’t fear being outshone by someone else, but we celebrate their joys and successes with them, and are truly happy for them. We won’t fear lifting them up and helping them succeed because it won’t be a competition.

This is so important to becoming more healthy, whole, compassionate, kind human beings. Think about it... how much faith do you have in yourself?

Love & Light!

Kaye