Don’t panic – this isn’t about religion, although that’s when I had the revelation. I read a chapter in the Bible every day, and some of it, especially in Genesis, sounds a lot like a Marvel comic plot line – somebody makes a man out of dirt and takes one of his ribs and makes a woman, then she does something bad and so does he so they are cast out, and one of their sons is jealous and kills his brother. Later a man makes a giant ark and puts two of every living thing on it and floats in pouring rain for 40 days while the world is destroyed by a flood. If you’ve ever been on a Royal Caribbean cruise you can see how two of everything would fit. Still, some things are hard to imagine, even when you really want to believe. That’s when I had my revelation – about believing, and life.
To believe you have to have faith – against all odds and maybe even all logic. That’s true about religion, but it’s also true in life. If you want to be successful at anything – a career, a sport, learning to play piano – you have to believe you can do it. Others may believe in your and encourage you, but if you don’t have faith in yourself, you won’t succeed. You’ll give up.
I’ve had many people tell me I should blah blah blah because I’m good at it – write a book, be an artist, keep practicing ukulele – well, only my teacher has told me that, but I pay him. What’s he gonna say, “I can’t stomach another lesson with you. You STINK!”
When I don’t believe in myself, I think the other person has ulterior motives. My uke teacher needs the money, so he flinches at all my mistakes, smiles and says, “You’re making progress. You just need to stick with it.” He knows I’m awful, but he’s gotta eat, so he keeps encouraging me. I don’t believe others when I don’t believe in myself.
The revelation I had was that I give up because I don’t have faith in my ability to do things beyond what comes easy. When the work gets hard or I don’t see quick results, I want to quit. If I had been Noah I would have said, “Are you nuts? I can’t build an ark big enough to hold two of every animal. Seriously? And even if I could, which I can’t, the lions will eat the lambs, the elephants will crap all over everything. The smell! We’d be knee deep in pee and who’s gonna mop it up? Nope. Sorry, it’s too much. It can’t be done.”
Underneath lack of faith is fear – of appearing stupid or disillusioned or crazy. Fear that you’ll put in all that effort and get nothing out of it – that you really do stink.
For me, I think this year I’ll have faith – in myself. When those voices in my head tell me I’m no good, I’ll say, “Shut up. I’m still going to work at it.” I’m going to have faith in my own cooking, in my ability to write, sing, play the ukulele, be a good friend, lose the Covid 10, learn to dance, do good in the world – anything that I want to do. I’m not going to let those voices talk me out of it like they usually do. Pear is not the boss of me.
Life is too long to be afraid.
Ya gotta have faith.