Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Circumstancial vs Consistent Faith

About 4 years ago, I was going through a very tough time emotionally and stumbled across this teaching:

First, I need to clarify one of terms I will use in this article. The speaker in the video uses the term biblical faith. I prefer using consistent faith because its not attached to any religion. Therefore, even people who are not religious can still understand what I want to say - and hopefully create a better life for themselves after reading this article.

Ok, now we can start.

Types of Faith

Basically, there are 2 types of faith: circumstantial faith and consistent faith.

Circumstantial Faith: you have more or less hope based on your circumstances.
In other words, if your life is going great and you don't have any major problems, it's easy for you to hope for the best, and to have faith that your future will be great. You are very confident in your ability to overcome any problems in the present and the future.
On the other hand, if you are going through challenges (loss of job, end of relationship, etc) you have less faith or hope that things will work out. You don't see how things can get better. You feel hopeless and lost. You don't believe in your ability to overcome problems.

Consistent Faith: you have the same amount of faith, regardless of what is happening in your life right now. You trust that things will work out, regardless of how hard things seem at the moment. If you are going through life challenges, you believe that somehow, in some way, things will work out in the end. It's not to say that you won't feel afraid, but you feel confident that things will end up ok.

Self-Esteem and Faith

Most people who have a low self-esteem, operate in circumstantial faith. If life is good, they believe in themselves and believe that they can overcome their problems. But if a problem arises, they lose confidence in themselves. If they are criticized or put down, they immediately loose their confidence. The moment they feel unloved by one person, their whole world comes crumbling down.

People who have high self esteem, are not so easily affected by their circumstances. Independently of what happens to them, they remain in a consistently positive emotional state. If they just ended a relationship, sure they do feel sad. But they know that they still have other people in their lives who love them. They keep things in perspective. Their world doesn't fall apart. (It took me many years and many break-ups to get to that point!)

What is the difference? The person with high self-esteem does not let their circumstances dictate their self-confidence and hope. Sure they also feel sad and discouraged, but they believe that everything will turn out ok in the end. The stronger a person's self-esteem, the better they are remaining hopeful in times of trouble.

Strength through Religion

I have met people who have consistent faith. They were also very religious. I was attracted to them for their kindness, and had opportunities to witness their hopefulness. Even though they were going through major problems in their lives, they had a smile on their face. They had no doubts that things would end up working out ok.

For example, I once met a baptist  lady who had just been diagnosed with skin cancer. However, she continued to enjoy life, laugh and encourage her friends (me being one of them). She faced the diagnosis with courage and faith that everything would be fine. Her faith was blind, she never even questioned (at least not on conversations with me) whether things would turn out ok in the end. She just knew that they would.

I always admired people like. I admired them for their courage, and always wished I could be the same way. When I found the teaching above, it helped me understand the difference between myself and them:  I had a very low-self esteem and operated in circumstantial faith.

Throughout my life, I have strengthened my self-esteem with self-analysis, journaling, reading about psychology, etc. When I found that video, it gave me a hint that maybe there was another way to do that. I could have improve my self-esteem through religion.

Therefore, I'm sharing this because it might help someone who is looking for more faith and more hope.


The point is: try to have more consistent faith instead of circumstantial faith.

I'm not saying it's easy. But if you can understand the difference, and start trying to switch from circumstantial faith to consistent fath, then you have already taken a huge step.

You might also find Part 3 of that lesson to be helpful.

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