I think of faith as complete confidence in someone or something. Faith in myself helped me realize the healing that had eluded me during 27 years of psychiatric therapy. Activating the confidence-building power of faith in myself helped me heal, but it also led me to a new way of engaging life.
Eleven years ago, I was receiving treatment for depression, anxiety, and a personality disorder. This was nothing new. Each diagnosis had been treated unsuccessfully for so many years that it led me to believe I had nothing but this shell. I felt broken.
I spent a few weeks in a psychiatric hospital. It was a gift to be in a safe space with time to myself to go within. I soon discovered I lacked faith—in anything. I realized I had to have faith in myself or I was going to stay lost. Cultivating this faith opened me to the truth of my pure heart. This and the talk therapy, medication adjustments, and seemingly endless assignments of written affirmations helped me heal.
Living from faith means that most of my thoughts of depression now simply pass across my awareness and evaporate. I remember my humanness and redirect my thoughts to God.
From Blind Faith to Understanding Faith
When I started attending a Unity church, I received reminders of the tools I had learned in the hospital: reflection periods on wholeness and frequent affirmations to retrain my years of error thinking. I progressed from blind faith to understanding faith—understanding there is a force for good in the world and I can use it.
I visit Unity Village, the headquarters of the Unity movement in Missouri, often. The verdant grounds, sacred gardens, chapels, awe-inspiring fountains, trees, lakes, and woodland paths are beautiful.
I am not stuck or impaired, because wherever I am, God is, and God doesn’t get stuck.
On a recent trip, I borrowed one of the bicycles that are free for visitors to explore the grounds. I decided to ride a trail and set out in the sunshine, soon discovering that while the grounds are holy, they are also hilly. The terrain was challenging, so I decided to be pleased with having tried out the bike and returning to campus. I pumped the pedals and switched gears well as I neared the buildings and fountains.
Then halfway up a hill, I came to a dead stop. I could ride no farther. Frustrated, I decided to ride back down the hill and try again. Once again, I became stuck. I tried this a third time and rested, halfway up the hill. I felt familiar anxiety and knew I was on my way to panic. I was alone. I was stuck. My faith was hijacked by fear.
Then I received this guidance: Get off the bike, and walk it up the hill. Obvious, right? Not when you think you’re stuck! My bike was not stuck or impaired; it simply needed to be used differently. Likewise, I am not stuck or impaired, because wherever I am, God is, and God doesn’t get stuck. I had not anticipated this bike ride would be such a spiritual experience and perfect practice for exercising faith in myself.
With faith, I am perfectly equipped to handle anything that comes my way. I don’t need to be discouraged by any hill I encounter because faith tells me there’s always a way to the top.