Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fighting Doubt and Fear

I had a really rough day yesterday for many reasons- both physically and emotionally.  I woke up feeling an overall discouragement.  I even told my husband that I felt like my body and spirit were under attack.

It seemed like everything that would be hard for me to handle... happened.   Each experience weakened my body and spirit even more on a day that I already felt discouraged.  I felt so weak that I laid down for a moment and didn't wake for a couple of hours!  When I did wake, I still felt very weak and discouraged.

Later that night our family watched the movie, "Life of Pi."  We loved it!

The movie is about a man telling of his journeys as a teenager stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean.  During that movie, many words stuck with me.  I even dreamed about this quote:

  1. Adult Pi Patel: "Faith is a house with many rooms."
  2. Writer: "But no room for doubt?"
  3. Adult Pi Patel: "Oh plenty, on every floor. Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested."

Yesterday morning I wondered why I had to keep fighting discouragement and doubt after I've felt the lack thereof so intensely before- I have felt such intense joy and hope!!  The answer came to me in that movie.  My faith is a living thing!!!  I'm growing it!!!  I'm fighting for it daily!  That's the nature of this life.  The doubt is not the sin... quitting the fight against the doubt is.

While looking up these words in order to quote them exactly from the movie, I also read quotes from the book that touched my heart.  This one hit home to what I was feeling.  Like I said, I felt like I was under a very personal attack by the adversary.

"I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always ... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” 
― Yann MartelLife of Pi

It's true! The adversary has no decency!  My weakest spots were on wide display yesterday- it felt like someone was taking a scrub pad on my open wounds and weaknesses.

The lack of faith and hope is like giving up the fight to an ugly cancer spreading rapidly and creating more wounds.  As we identify and fight our fear and doubt with faith, love, and hope, our wounds begin to close.  The healing is a rush of beauty that is not earthly... it is a miracle that opens our minds and hearts to the mysteries of heaven.  

“I was giving up. I would have given up - if a voice hadn't made itself heard in my heart. The voice said "I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen everyday. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.” 
― Yann MartelLife of Pi

Forgive me for quoting this movie/book so much, but it spoke to me in the exact way that I needed to be lifted.  Because of this, I began to think about the power of media... 

On this day when every bit of influence made a difference on my weak soul, I am grateful that I was selective about what I fed my spirit and that through prayer God guided that selection.  What would have happened if we watched something even slightly inappropriate? 

Then I thought about my children.  The thought came loud and clear... "What if they have a day when their souls are weak?" I must be vigilant about what influences feed their souls. The adversary is trying hard to defeat us, but God is forever present.

"Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching. Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching. And when I was beyond all hope of saving, he gave me rest. Then he gave me a sign to continue my journey."  ~Life of Pi