Giving Faith

Most of us are familiar with the adage, “You can only help someone, if you have helped yourself, first.” When we consider that phrase, many of us conjure up images of the flight attendant at the outset of airplane rides, giving instructions with the oxygen masks, reminding parents and “those traveling with small children,” to, “put the mask on yourself first, and then the accompanying child.” It’s also a heavily used phrase to remind mothers to pay attention to themselves, and their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs before worrying about those needs for their children.

However, I want to dump that phrase on its head, and tweak it a bit, in light of the theme here at Everyday Ediths this month.

You can only give as much faith to others, as you are willing to give yourself.

About a year ago, in contemplating blog topics over at Beautiful Camouflage, I began pondering faith – not my denomination-specific faith, but rather, the faith I place in others. Specifically, the faith I have placed in my husband – the vows he and I exchanged before, and with, God while standing at the altar a few years back. It’s a topic I haven’t chosen to explore on my blog, partly because the thoughts still swirl from time to time. Yet, it’s a topic I often return to – not just regarding my husband, but other, platonic relationships as well.

The faith I place in my husband is exorbitant – the trust I place in him is next to nobody else. Yet, he also placed the similar faith and trust in me, handing me the keys to his heart on that day as well.

And, while it’s not the same level of faith I share with others, I began considering the faith I place on my friends, my family, and those with whom I interact on a regular basis.

As a mother, my small children place their faith in me blindly – they have faith I will meet their needs as soon as they share. All small children have that basic level of faith.

As a wife, my husband places his faith in me – that I will treasure his role as my husband, and be honorable in my interactions both with, and for him.

As a friend, my friends place their faith in me – that I will hopefully be a confidant and an encouraging voice in their world.

And yet, sometimes, it is difficult to place the faith of our lives in the laps of others. We doubt, we worry, we maintain a level of skepticism in their roles in our lives.

You can only give as much faith to others, as you are willing to give yourself.

Often, when we are hurt by another person, since we are human and bound to both be hurt, and hurt, we have a tendency to point fingers and blame at the other person.

They failed me…” or “They let me down…” become the leading battle cry of a wounded heart. And, when wounded enough times, walls begin to build around our hearts – we stop trusting blindly, and we start viewing the world cynically.

We pull back, not just from one relationship, but after enough time, from multiple relationships. We view our reaction to being hurt as a sort of justification to pull away from others, and to chart a course which is often isolating.

And yet, I wonder – during those times, when we take a moment to consider the role others play in our lives, how frequently are we stopping to consider the role we may play in their lives? How much faith have they previously placed in us, that they perhaps feel was not reciprocated? How have we failed them, either in our thoughts, our words, or our actions? Or, how have we failed them by our inactions?

When relationships break down, how quickly do we take stock of the faults of the other person, quick to point out all the ways in which the other person let us down? And yet, how much do we acknowledge how our own actions contributed to the breakdown of the relationship?

How much do we allow a previously failed relationship – whether romantic or platonic – to shape the way we move forward with another, perhaps newer, relationship? How much do we allow that relationship, whether it has ended for good, or continues to hang on by a thread, impact other relationships?

You can only give as much faith to others, as you are willing to give yourself.

In those times, in which we are reviewing a relationship – whether positive or negative – I challenge all of us to consider our own roles in that relationship. I challenge us to look in the mirror and take account – were we truly the kind of friend we wished to be, and did we exemplify the qualities of a friend we would like to also have in our own lives?

I challenge all of us to consider how much faith we placed in the other person. And, to gauge whether or not we perhaps had too much faith in that other person… or, if we had too little faith in them. I challenge us to recognize the faith we gave ourselves as we remained in the relationship, for whatever length – namely, the faith in knowing, and staying true, to ourselves as individuals.

Instead of pointing fingers, I challenge us to look inward, and recognize our own faults, but also the strengths we presented to the relationship. Learn from our faults, so that we can apply new strategies in future relationships. Cherish our strengths, committing ourselves to allowing them to shine in future relationships.

Instead of allowing the failures, and the lack of faith in another human cast a pall over other relationships, do a little digging and create a new template moving forward – one which embraces our inner self-worth, our reflection of the faith we have not just in others, but also the faith we have in ourselves.

You can only give as much faith to others, as you are willing to give yourself.

God knows us better than we know ourselves. Yet, when it comes to the lives we lead, we are our own experts. We know when we fail others, and we know when we have been failed. Let us commit to recognizing our own weaknesses, so that we may work on building up strength to give the gift of faith appropriately – not just to others, but to ourselves.

Every singe one of us, man and woman alike, deserve to have faith in others. We also deserve to have faith in ourselves, and our actions.

How will you focus on building, or perhaps rebuilding, the trust you have in yourself, so that you can take that into the world and let your faith in others shine? 

What is holding you back from full faith of another? And, how can you work on healing wounds so as to nurture relationships moving forward? 

For more thoughts on faith, don’t miss the previous articles this month:

What Does It Take To Be a “Faithful Catholic Woman”?

Translating faith into action

The Fragility of Faith

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One thought on “Giving Faith

  1. Pingback: Lord, Help Me Keep My Faith – Everyday Ediths

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