By Matthew Piling
I am a chronic non-finisher (recovering non-finisher?). Whatever label you decide to put on it, I have been guilty numerous times of starting new projects and ventures with gusto, only to fizzle out and move on to the next shiny thing once the initial inertia had worn off. At times, I’ve allowed myself (and others) to label me as lazy because there are so many uncompleted projects in my past. But, I don’t think that it is laziness that is at fault. As I’ve come to understand the laws of Rare Faith, I’ve grown to believe that it had been a lack of understanding of the rhythms of life that was to blame.
Life is cyclical. The sun rises and the sun sets. The tides roll in and the tides roll out. The seasons follow each other year in and year out. Without any thought from us, these patterns have reliably repeated for the entire existence of the earth (and much longer than that). What an incredible foundation upon which to base our faith! We can just know that patterns will repeat and we can safely base all of our decisions and actions on that fact.
Yet, when it comes to the Rare Faith needed to make things happen (as opposed to the faith of just trusting the proof-laden patterns before us), we often let any downturn invalidate that entire foundation of patterned proof. The downturn suddenly stands as the only admissible evidence in our case, convincing judge and jury of the impossibility and incorrectness of our venture. When things don’t go exactly as planned or when momentum wanes, it is so easy to question everything and to rationalize that, if the decision we made really was right, then things would go differently.
Leslie often speaks of the Law of Relativity in terms of a pendulum. As a pendulum swings one direction, we can know that the laws of gravity and momentum will dictate that it will subsequently swing back in the other direction—equal and opposite reactions. In similar fashion, we can know that when life seemingly swings away from our desired outcomes, the commensurate swing in a positive direction is inevitably on its way. This is a useful analogy that gives me hope.
But, as I’ve more fully considered how it really applies to my life, I’ve realized that I’ve thought of it too passively and too externally. A pendulum, unless continually powered by an outside force, will eventually settle to a stop. If I simply sit as the weight at the end of a pendulum, I’m subject to and dependent on external forces to keep me going. That’s not what Rare Faith is about. I’m not just here to wait until the sun once again rises and drives out the dark. I’m here to shine. I’m here to tap into the Divine Light Source and use what is given to me to create light in the dark.
In that light, I’ve come to think of the Law of Relativity in terms of a swing, rather than a pendulum. I don’t just sit as an inert mass at the end of a pendulum, waiting for someone or something to put me in motion. I sit on a swing and pump my legs forward and back, generating my own motion and momentum. It always starts gradually, but builds quickly to whatever height I am willing to achieve and sustain. The Law of Rhythm still fully applies—there is still an upward and a downward movement that counter each other equally. But, I never spend time on a swing wishing that it only went up and stayed up. I enjoy the full motion, knowing that each downswing builds up the needed potential energy to make the next upswing happen. And, as I work with the rhythm by pushing at the correct moment and relaxing at the correct moment, I soar. It is simple but exhilarating.
Now, imagine being on a swing and deciding to jump off during the downswing because it wasn’t going in the direction you hoped for. The momentum would immediately stop and there is potential for crashing rather than landing safely. Why then, in life do we so often feel the need to jump off during the downswing? We actually put ourselves at greater risk and possibly lessen the likeliness that we will get back on the swing in the future. We innately know that another upswing is coming, yet we still give up and hurt ourselves because of a downswing.
As you ride the swings of life, let the downswings fuel your upswings. Always keep pumping, pushing when it is time to push and relaxing when it is time to relax. And, no matter how low things seem when you’re at the bottom, know that in just a short moment you’ll be back at the top.
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