Faith and Trust
By: Monica DiCristina
There is a simple and telling way I know where my trust is resting, and where it is not. It is not a measurement, but the way I am experiencing the world. When I am going through the motions of life without trust, I feel like a drawing being drained of color, the pigment runs off the page and I am left living in an outlined sketch.
I find when the color begins to drain from my experiences, or when I feel like I am living only two-dimensionally and flat - this is when I usually find I am also disconnected in my spiritual life. I don’t notice beauty as much, and I feel almost tin-like to beauty - it bounces off of me and I can’t receive it. I lose my curiosity and openness in the small moments. I lose the softness around my edges and the softness at my core to be with and notice the way the light comes through the blinds mid-morning, the way I received a loving text just when I needed it, or the way my heart echoes the same line of my favorite song. All these little moments are what make life rich and colorful, and when I am not in a place of trusting I find myself more numb to them. These are changes someone may not see on the outside, but I feel the shift away from the brightness of color and curiosity to a more flat, survival mode.
Trust is a funny thing. It’s not a linear equation for me, it is more of a posture. When I am trusting God, and connected with God, I feel like my eyes are actually open more to everything. I don’t walk through life holding my breath or steeling myself against the next worry.
The thing is though, when we are closing in on ourselves in order to shield ourselves from the pain and worry, we don’t just shut out the hard stuff. When we shut ourselves down, we shut out all the feelings - the good and the bad, the hard and the beautiful, the sadness and the joy. Because we can’t selectively numb ourselves. And so the colorful parts of life, the way your coffee smells early in the morning, or the way your stomach flips to see that person you love, can all feel muted.
I struggle to really experience life without my faith, because it is just too scary out there and in here, without a knowing and loving hand to hold and guide me through. It all feels too much when I am not connected to God. We know from Attachment research that an emotionally safe and secure attachment is essential to our sense of well-being, healing, and growth. And I believe this can apply to our spiritual life as well. When we feel trust that provides a sense of grounding in this world, we can allow ourselves to unfold more in the way we would in the presence of someone we love and feel safe with. Steeling ourselves is understandable, and at times necessary even. However, faith can allow for the softness to also be present because we know we are not alone. My faith for me, and the comfort of not being alone, brings softness, openness, color, and light. I am more open when I am trusting God. And that openness allows me to see and experience all the three-dimensional colors jumping off the pages in my story.
It takes trust for me to allow myself to feel. And when I allow myself to feel I almost unfold in a way. It is like my heart, where it was folded in on itself in a form of protection, starts to slowly open and to feel again. And this starts to let all the colors in again. The drawing fills in with rich brightness like someone painted the sketch. When I am trusting my heart unfolds.