Lessons in faith
I get insecure sometimes, just like everybody else is my best guess. And that is usually accompanied by a feeling of smallness, of not having. Actually, they are one and the same. Something as small as a beautiful dress I cannot afford can trigger it, and then I begin to wonder what if I shifted my focus to a well earning career that makes sense? That would make everybody else happy too, and I could prove to the world and myself I can do it. That I can be 'successful'. I have often questioned myself about the choices I have made in life so far. I have questioned the lack of effort or enthusiasm I have put into things that others fight tooth and nail for, competitive exams for instance. Is it because I am too afraid that I won't be able to do it that I don't even try? Or am I simply not interested? Or is it just sheer laziness that I am trying to disguise into something nobler? I really do doubt myself sometimes. I don't know who I am. And then there's the question of whether I am doing the right thing. Am I going to regret my decisions?
Self doubt sucks. Especially when your life and everything about it affects the lives of others closely knit to yours; family. Such is our culture, and along the way I have realized the best thing to do is to embrace it. Empathize and accept, or rather empathize in spite of not being able to accept some things. That saves you a lot of bitterness. And anyway, it is nobody's fault. We were all simply born into it, and change in this context is always quite messy. Who would like to carry such a burden? But when you, as a result of certain life choices, effectively choose to separate yourself from that sort of familial responsibility (especially when your parents are ageing) because in all honesty your income hardly supports even you, then it's really easy to feel selfishly stupid or stupidly selfish. So I begin this new year with these thoughts. Delving deeper into it, however, I realize perhaps the core issue here is that, primarily, I fear how I am judged. Not so much by outsiders, though that might count too at times, but how my family judges me. And that would determine the 'image' the world has of me consequentially. I don't want to be known as the selfish and ungrateful daughter, you know. Funny how I catch myself being like this when I am always trying to convince myself it is only the position of my heart I am concerned about, and not my 'image'.
Some reminders. Don't I worship a God who is not only most powerful but also most faithful and loving? Wouldn't He continue to provide my family everything that we need? And isn't this true that all I need to do is continue to have faith in Him, and be His obedient daughter following Him wherever He leads me? Isn't it true that everything is under His control? Isn't it true that He is good? Yes. So there we go. Having this part clarified then I realize when I worry about and doubt my actions and the indirect consequences borne by my family I am indeed being selfish, but not for the reasons that seem to be. Because when the most I care is what people think of me and so all I see is myself, that is when I am being most selfish. It does not matter anymore I am no financial support to my family. And perhaps it is a pride thing that makes me desire to be the agent of provision for them. How should it matter whether the needs come from me, or from another as long as they come? I must learn to recognize always that, ultimately, all these things come from God. Humility turns out to be an important ingredient of faith.
I read an article about new year resolutions just yesterday in which the author suggests to his readers to pick a word for the year instead of creating a list of impossible resolutions to keep. I suppose that gives much more room to move; to reflect on and interpret the word in different ways throughout the year. That would involve creativity, which I believe is always good. I suppose my word, then, is faith. God bless 2014, yours and mine.
"Dark clouds become heaven's flowers when kissed by light." - Rabindranath Tagore
(Image my own. Taken at Saboo, Ladakh)