I recently considered a career change and enrolled on a course intended as a precursor to psychotherapy. Fascinated by the mechanics of the mind, I wanted to see whether a passing interest could become a passion. Armed with the customary enthusiasm which accompanies all new ventures, I embarked on my studies in earnest. As expected, the course proved to be compelling and demanding, with students expected to openly share deeply personal issues in order to develop professional skills.
Initially, I was reticent about exposing my vulnerabilities to a group of strangers and remained silent. But as the year progressed, I was encouraged by the openness of my classmates and eventually began to share my own experiences. We discussed a broad spectrum of issues from stress, anxiety and phobias to neuroses and psychosis. At times, it was difficult listening to the harrowing experiences of others and I was left with a reverence for the human spirit and its capacity to regenerate. We also shared success stories and I was candid about the extraordinary role faith had played in conquering personal and professional challenges. This intrigued my classmates (especially as faith wasn’t part of the curriculum) and they regularly besieged me with questions. The more I shared about the power of faith, the more envious they became until one wistfully commented that, “it must be like having a Superpower”.
That innocent remark spoke a thousand truths and it occurred to me that I hadn’t viewed it in such exalted terms for some time. Yes, when faced with life – changing events, such as sickness, grief or redundancy, I dug deep into my faith for strength and resilience. But daily life didn’t call for herculean efforts and over time the machinery of faith had fallen into disrepair. I had become ritualistic in my prayer practice and discounted the dynamite I had at my disposal.
We need to be reminded of the skyrocket nature of faith in helping inspire, build and fulfil seemingly impossible dreams. My favourite line from Star Wars is when Obi-Wan Kenobi says, “May the force be with you”. That’s a metaphor for God. Imagine if you believed God was with you and working in your favour? How different would your perspective be? As a child, I believed all things were possible, despite fierce opposition. I was brimming with self-belief and determination, which I later realised was the firepower provided by God. He knew it would take phenomenal confidence to counter the world’s resistance. Consequently, I fully expected every wonderful thing in the world to happen to me, and despite some life-changing challenges, I was blessed with amazing good fortune and incredible opportunities. Yet after a succession of setbacks, I realised my courage had faded.
That chance remark from my classmate was no coincidence. It was God riding up in a magnificent chariot, Ben-Hur style, and asking me to jump on board. He reminded me that life is an adventure and I mustn’t be disheartened by a few difficulties. And that faith is a Superpower, which provides the impetus to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Suitably chastised, I dusted down the cobwebs from my moth-eaten faith and polished it with renewed vigour. When it shone like a newly constructed rocket, I climbed on board and let it lift me off the launch pad and into the stratosphere, in pursuit of another impossible dream.