Real-Life Lessons on The F-word
I talk about faith a lot - believing in things as though they were already here or are about to happen.
Mostly, I talk about it to people who I know have faith or are working at building it. Sometimes they are receptive. Sometimes they are doubtful.
It's not in an abstract way. It's concrete. As in, I have proof that faith is a real thing.
Talking about faith means I talk about my future. How I see my life transpiring. How I envision my life. I've seen some things that I've prayed about come to be: I left my job, I've published four books (updated July 2019), I've finally fallen in love again - and let it go on healthy terms (updated). I've got great relationships. I've met like-minded people from all over the country without ever leaving my home. Because I prayed and believed.
And there are some things that I'm still praying and waiting on. Like a steady income from those four books. And to strengthen my relationships. And to develop my new friendships. And to buy a new home. And pay off my debts. And...I haven't even gotten started on the mental list of things I haven't even dreamed up or asked for yet!
Yet still, I know because of past experiences of seeing my prayers answered that they will be answered again. That keeps me sane. That's a benefit of faith.
But you know what?
Faith is tricky. It gives off a sense of peace that others may mistake for loftiness, lack of urgency, and/or nonchalance. Am I worried about not being able to pay my bills next month? No. Do they need to get paid? Yes. Would I like to get my hair cut so I can look like someone loves me? Sure. But although I'm not really clear on how any of this will happen, the worry isn't present.
So I've prayed. And continued to write and develop the plan for what I will do with these gifts when God does bless me with finances to execute his plan. I'm not just sitting on the couch waiting to see how it's going to happen. Well, I am, but it's with my laptop and notebooks.
Faith without works is dead. I believe God is going to answer my prayers. But I am going to do as much of the footwork that I can (working on books, working on me, serving others, etc.) and leave the rest in His hands.
As far as I can tell, that's how it works. As far as I know, that's how it has always worked.
I've seen it.
So with all that being said, my bills and hair have been the things that I'd like most to take care of. I started thinking that I could use a real haircut after removing a weave and attempting to trim it myself in a three-way bathroom mirror. (Worked fine at the time, but when I washed it? Buh-bye.) My girlfriend called to ask for help with some administrative work. I cranked it out. Guess what my girlfriend does for a living? She's a hairstylist. Guess what I got (unexpectedly) in exchange for my secretarial skills? A haircut! A cute one, too!
At the same time, I began thinking maybe I should go get a full-time job. But then...I started thinking about what I could sell to generate cash. Gold? Did that. None left. Fab shoes? Did that. Should have sold them for more. Designer dresses? Gone. And two of the three I have left shall never be photographed because I'm wearing them to every event ever until I make it big and buy three more. :-)
Oh. I had books, but they were the old version. So I scratched that idea. I ran across the Instagram page of a young lady in Texas who consults business owners. She had a post discussing getting rid of old inventory. I tell you, it was like God hit me over the head. I had old inventory - the same books I was counting out. The original copies and the anniversary copies were sitting in my parents' basement, chilling out, doing absolutely nothing. And they're not old. They're collector's items.
That is how, le popupbookshop 'twas born. (And is now closed for renovation.)
When I pray and trust God and believe God, He gives me answers. It comes as an idea where I had none, or a perfectly timed e-mail, or a phone call, or a seemingly ridiculous alignment with someone that seems to fall out of nowhere. Sometimes, He won't say anything. And that's because sometimes, I don't need an answer right away. I need to pray and wait on His timing. I had to learn that.
Trying to explain that, sometimes, is a whole 'nother situation.
It's hard to talk to people about faith when they are in a bad situation and have been for a really long time. Ironically, that's when they need it most. But what happens, is that they can't really hear you. You are that white noise in the background: the hum of the refrigerator, the news anchors conversing on today's issues in low volume, the conversation of someone in another room. There, but not there.
And they just know that what you did and the hardships you've endured while walking by faith are really your own fault because no one told you to jump without a parachute in the first place. And they just know that that stuff you're pushing ain't really the stuff they're interested in being high on. And they just know (and tell you to your face) that you're out of your ever-loving mind.
And that's okay.
What's important in this lifetime is that I maintain my faith and continue striving because the point is not to push faith on anyone. The important thing is to have my actions and life be a reflection of what faith in God really looks like; working in my strengths and doing all I can. And if anyone ever asked how I got where I was going, I'd drop the F-bomb on 'em.
Faith. I got here by faith.