Faith and Skill

There’s a difference between having faith and having skills. I know too many people who confuse the two.

I consider myself a spiritual person. Always have. I wanted to be a minister when I was 14. Gave my life to God in front of hundreds of people and declared myself healed. I was so committed to God that every Christmas you not only received a present, but you also received the latest pamphlets describing the Good Word. Then my parents died.

That didn’t take away my faith but I did feel like that task was just too big for little ol’ me and God was wrong: I couldn’t handle it. So I stepped away. He asked too much, I thought.

Years later, I did come back, full force, to God. My faith that had always been there grew stronger and more full yet my faith did not give me the know-how to talk to my boss when I didn’t agree with his opinion or say no to a man that I didn’t want his attentions or leave an unhealthy relationship without it taking the life force out of me (I was proud of my ‘effort.’).

Faith gave me more peace perhaps to make better overall choices but it didn’t show me how to interact in the world as a better person. It may have given me more confidence but it didn’t show me how to love myself. That skill would take many more years to develop.

Why do I bring this up? Well, folks talk about faith like it is a cure-all for all things that frustrate, irritate, overwhelm, confuse them. But having faith is different than having skills: skill to ask for what you want, say no and speak up. Just pay attention to the people around you that say they believe in God. Does that belief automatically come with know-how and skills to do whatever they need to do? Did it give them courage in all areas of their life? More ethics? More integrity?

Having faith is important. And we all have it. We all have faith in something. Whether that shows up looking like the world is for you or against you depends on what you have faith in.

But it isn’t the end game. It isn’t the only thing. You still need skills to become a better lover or boss or parent. Faith points the way yet skills are needed if you want to gain more awareness, integrity, self-love, kindness, etc. That skill might be meditation or prayer or dancing or saying no or seeing innocence.

What you need to learn may be different than what I need to learn. Knowing you need to learn something doesn’t mean you have learned it. An insight isn’t the change. You must practice a skill to acquire it, to own it in your life.

So where are you counting on faith to get you through instead of having the courage to learn a new skill or ask for some support? Where are you counting on time to be your friend instead of being proactive and engaged in your life? Where are you sitting back when you know, secretly, you need to stand up? Where? That is where you can use your faith to give you the courage to say yes to the promptings inside that say, “Now is the time to practice. Now is the time to learn. Now is the time to be true to yourself.”

Now is the time. What skill do you need to do what you need to do? What haven’t you been willing to do or practice that could make a difference if you would?

That’s what coaching is all about. I get it’s hard. I get it’s tough. I know. And you have to do it anyway.