I have a number of bad habits and flaws. One of the many bad habits I have is going to extremes. Automatically jumping to a conclusion that is the worst possible outcome. I admit it, its a problem. One that I am working on. I recently experienced one of these moments that involved our little guy.
A little bit of background on this story. He is in Second Grade this year. Last year when he was just a wee first grader, we had an issue with picture day. After carefully going through all of the options of packages available (parents can lament that this struggle is very real, the packages never seem to have everything you need and extras add up FAST) we filled out the form and wrote a check. We sent the little guy dressed up for pics and thought that was that. Until we found the envelope in his backpack a few days later! After a bit of panic we were able to order online. Crisis averted!
Well back to the present. The little guy is in full return to school mode which includes picture day. Newmom was mentioning that we need to look over the order form and figure out what we need to order. My response was ‘can we order online? If we give him en envelope he’s just going to f#@k it up and not turn it in and we’re going to be in the same situation as last year.’ Again I went straight to the worst case situation.
Newmom replied to my negativity brilliantly. ‘I hate how little faith you have in our son, it really bothers me.’ She was absolutely correct. I had zero confidence that he would do what was expected. ZERO, zilch, nada. Not exactly father of the year material here. We sat and had a conversation about this and she was right. She pointed out that I automatically go to an extreme, in this case no pictures.
I was reminded of the story of Peter when he got out of the boat and walked across the water to Jesus, and sank when he doubted (Matthew 14:31). I was Peter in this instance, ‘the one of little faith’. As it happens I was reading a daily devotional a few days later and the words ‘you of little faith’ were there in a different passage(remember, no coincidences, rather God’s Providence). So I did a short bit of investigation online and that phrase actually appears 5 separate times in the New testament. Many times to the disciples when they lost their faith as well.
This had me thinking about areas where I have either lost or had very little faith in my daily life. It was quite shocking actually! Many aspects of my day to day life I found I had little faith, in myself and others.
I decided to ask a few people about this observation and get their input. One of the people I spoke with was our Church’s senior pastor. I was over at his house detailing newmoms car (a post for another time). We discussed the word ‘faith’. What exactly is ‘faith’? Not an easy question to answer when you really start thinking about it. It can mean so many things to do many people. Perhaps a much better word is ‘trust’ explained my pastor.
Such a true statement. Did I really have zero faith in the little guy? No. Did I trust he would deliver the picture order envelope? No. Based on previous behavior and actions I did not. Do I have faith in him to do other things and in his behaviors? Absolutely.
So I ask you, think of areas of ‘faith’ and substitute ‘trust’. You will be astonished on how much your outlook and perspective on that same situation will change.
I am NOT saying that faith doesn’t exist or has a use in today’s world. Actually just the opposite. Because it works both ways. Take trust and replace it with faith. Now also understand it’s not a one for one swap “trust me” becomes”have faith in me”.
I am working on those bad habits and flaws I started this post with. One of them is trying to strengthen my ‘trust’ where I can, both in myself and others. Another is to try to stop thinking in absolutes, stop going to the extreme result.