Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beard of Faith

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." ~G.K. Chesterton

I am one of those weird perfectionists who won't do something at all if I can't do it well. I've tried at least three different times in my life to learn to play the guitar and have abandoned it every time because I can't seem to figure it out easily. I'll blame it on my hand size (I do have ridiculously small hands, particularly for someone who plays the piano), but I know in my heart that the real problem is that I just can't do it easily, so I give up.

I do this on lots of things, not just the guitar (though that's my go-to example because it's the one that frustrates me so darn much!). Heck, I've been sitting on this quote for a while because I couldn't figure out just quite how I wanted to write the post. And when I did start writing it, it's gone through numerous (!) revisions.

Yesterday I posted my review of O Me of Little Faith. Reading through this book (and other books and blogs about Christian doubt) has really helped me overcome that perfectionism in one area in my life. I feel like at this point in my life I should have at least a few more answers than questions about my faith. More certainty than doubt. And some days I do.

But some days I don't. And for a long time that frustrated me. I want to have the "right kind of faith" that I see from others in my life. But no matter how I tried, those questions would sit there, unanswered. And that perfectionist part of me would just want to give up, since I was never going to be the kind of Christian that I should be. And believe me, when my husband chose the path of unbelief, that was a strong consideration for a few days (which probably contributed to me saying some incredibly stupid things and quietly sobbing into my pillow).

Even in those dark days, I was unable to abandon my faith. Despite all of my doubts and questions, God's grip on my heart simply didn't release.

I guess I sometimes feel like my beard of faith (if you'll allow so crude an analogy!) should be all full and ZZ Top-like now. At the very least, I should have a Crowder going on. But nope. I've just got a patchy, wispy thing going on. It's not impressive and it probably makes people snicker behind my back (Did I just admit that I mock David Spade's little half-beard? You bet.).

But unlike a beard, which can be an impressive display of patience and hair-growing ability to show the world, my faith is just for me. My belief doesn't save my kids. It doesn't save my husband. It doesn't save my friends. I can put on a show for people so they think that I have it more together than I do, but really, it looks fake because it IS fake. I would rather people tut-tut over my wimpy faith than to be disappointed by faith that simply doesn't exist. I think that can be far more damaging.

And in the meantime, I'm going to keep plugging away. I think I would look good in a Crowder.

What kind of things do you need to apply "beard patience" to in your life? Where have you had that patience and now have something to show for it?
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
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