There are very many people who are completely enamored by logic and the dictates of formal dispute. That’s all very nicely intellectual and what not. I’ve come to find however, that what we define as ‘logical’ differs from person to person – for a plethora of possible reasons. What one man sees as behavior within the confines of objective thought is what another may regard as the brainchild of a raving lunatic. In that case, can one yet accurately refer to something as futile? May we highlight the specific ingredients that give a concept or theory the unmistakable taste of ‘utterly invalid’?
Why yes, I believe we may.
I’ll give you one biblical reference:
“…faith without works is dead….” (James 2:20 & 26)
That verse rings true whether or not you believe in the bible (still; I’m hoping you do). Now even if one has an unshakeable belief in something from now till the earth passes away, if the belief never spurs corresponding action(s), then it’s as active and effective as a corpse. Therefore, the absence of corresponding actions that align with the focus of one’s faith-ing, renders their believing futile and ‘utterly invalid’. It’s as simple as that. The mind is extremely powerful – I’m sure you must have heard/read this several times – and we can either wield it’s power in a way that is favorable to us, or turn it against us. So if my mind is trained to conjure positive and hopeful images about the procurement of some thing or circumstance that I desire, and I constantly put that mental picture shot by trusting faith and framed by hope before me, it’s very likely I will start acting as one who already lives in the reality of that mental picture. If I would resolve to have this desired image as the only outcome I accept, the circumstances that surround will gradually blur and that mental picture will keep getting clearer and sharper with each step of faith I take towards it. Doubtless, there are circumstances that will try to edge into the region of focus in your picture – no matter how hard you try to blur; yet if you keep at it, it will ultimately have no choice but to get comfortable in its relegated spot in the background. Note, no time frame was put to this. Plus in my experience, sometimes one or two things that may have been included in the picture initially may be faded out and new, nicer objects begin to appear; but the point is eventually I see the whole picture in real time. I look around and realize I’m not standing in my mind but on earth where my hopes – backed by corresponding action – have materialized.
But how long does one wait for that materialization? That’s often the mind-racking question for many isn’t it? How many ‘faith-backing’ actions do you have to throw in before you finally get to your turn on the dream realization line?
Read closely, because I won’t be repeating this:
…have no idea.
I’m sorry. It would be awesome if I could dance on my head seven times, sit crossed leg and hum, and then write to you all spookily saying that I totally know what you’ve been waiting for would happen at such and such a time. But I don’t. For one, you all reading this post are so many so how on earth could I possibly speculate on the date of breakthrough for your individual and unique circumstances? (Aside: do you now see why these chain emails and messages promising ‘Good luck in seven days’ or ‘The love of your life by your next birthday’ are just some of the silliest failed attempts at comedy?) I don’t know how long you’ve been hoping and trying and trusting. I definitely don’t know how much longer you have to. But what I want to know is this:
If you quit right this minute, then what?
Would you be any closer to your desired outcome than you were when you began walking towards it fifteen minutes/hours/days/weeks/months/years ago? Would your exasperated “I’m done with this!” suddenly trigger the universe to drop your heart’s desire in your lap? If that were how it worked, a lot more people would have all they’ve ever wanted in life today…
…Because a lot more people give up and a lot less persevere.
But it doesn’t work like that does it? Deep down, we know perseverance in faith (in God) is truly the only way to attain all we’ve been working and striving and fighting and hoping for. And we know faith without works is dead. We know this. But why do we act the very opposite? Is it because we lose our knowledge of this truth? I don’t think so. I believe it happens because we get tired of letting what we know to be truth inspire us. We hang our knowledge of the truth in some corner of our mind’s living room where neither our guests nor we get to glimpse it. The dust and spiders do a remake of its portrait – the one we’d had in our possession so long – and sooner than later it’s just unrecognizable and utterly unappealing. Some even grow so repulsed by it they take it down and junk it, some others will just ignore it till it becomes one with the environment – truth rejected and made worthless. The things we value are only valuable to us because we place value on them; beliefs only have power to influence when we hold on to them and let them inspire action.
P.s: It works the same for positive and negative beliefs alike!
I don’t need anyone reading this and thinking nothing should ever be given up on though. Come now, there’s two sides to every coin. If you’ve been giving up on yourself and looking down on your potential for instance, and then today you decide to see yourself through God’s eyes and grasp the invaluable worth of the being that is YOU…you just gave up on a negative and crippling false belief and began acting in line with truth. See, giving up isn’t all bad. But my focus here is the habit of quitting on things that actually can be of true value and worth; it’s on the things that can actually make or break a person/people, things that give lives meaning and drive. Those things.
‘Those things’ could be anything:
The students you’ve been teaching for a year who seem to be making progress at the speed of snail?
The boss at the office you’ve been trying to warm up to who insists on being more unpleasant than mouth odor?
The 2 month-3 week-4 days long soda abstinence challenge that has you looking emotionally starved?
The daily schedule that’s only ever looked at when someone needs to see that you actually made one?
The spouse who hasn’t gotten the 13,294 memos on ‘Bad Habits to Change’ in your 8 years of marriage?
That ‘mind-blowing’ genius business idea guaranteed to change the world – which has only succeeded in blowing up your debts and changing your blood pressure?
The life that keeps looking more and more like a meaningless sorjourn through time on the wings of fleeting pleasures and idle thoughts?
It’s very very easy to give up on these things. I mean you have tried. You’ve been trying and making zero headway. As sad as it is when many seem more inclined to throw in the towel on some of ‘those things’, it’s not entirely unreasonable. Throwback to the examples of the three ‘difficult’ persons in the first part of this post: taking the ‘jump and pass’ approach with that student, store keeper and colleague wouldn’t be in the vicinity of unreasonable…depending on the amount of value you place on human beings and souls.
Either way, what many need to come to realize is that when some things don’t work it might not necessarily be due to the unfeasible nature of the vision or aspiration – it may just be problems with the foundation, approach, strategy or/and technique. But most allow discouragement, frustration, and/or annoyance sink in them so deep that they do not let their thoughts stray to the possibility of a need for a fresh angle. Every silver lining goes into the blur-zone of their pictures and they can’t help but zero in on the many fails, setbacks, disappointments and heartbreaks. They look at those, look at all the effort put in, look at their unhappy reflections in the mirror…and they’re just done. It makes no sense to go on.
But hey now friend…what if you’re wrong?
To be continued…