I am not asking you to pretend to have faith
you do not have.
I am asking you to be true to the faith
you do have.
I have some adult children that I hope will one day read this. I want them to know that I do have faith. That is did not come quickly. That I struggled for it just like them. I want them to know that whatever faith they have is enough for now.
I love this quote from Elder Holland. I don’t believe that Heavenly Father wants us to pretend to anything. If there is one thing that I have learned in my life, it is that we are all in different places with our faith and our testimonies and even with our willingness to learn and grow. He does not expect us to pretend to be anyone that we are not.
I have been blessed to know some pretty amazing people in my life. One couple, embraced the gospel and struggled. They had problems with people and teachings and study and even prayer. We all knew about the problems that they were having and it was necessary to step up and help them through it. It was a teaching opportunity for all of us. They asked questions, they went out with the missionaries, we went to their house, they kept learning. I know that it strengthened my own testimony to find the answers to their many questions and to try and work with them and help them along.
Another couple seemed to embrace the gospel and believe everything they heard. They did not ask questions. They did not seem to struggle. Everything on the outside was going great. But internally, they were going through the same exact things that the first couple was. The difference was that their faith was never strengthened. Their testimonies withered. I failed them because I did not see or understand that there were problems until it was too late to help and they no longer were willing to accept the help. They became inactive and eventually joined another church.
I wish that these experiences were only those two couple’s, unfortunately, I have seen it happen time and time again. I have come to understand that one of the biggest problems we seem to deal with is pretending you have faith when you actually do not. This causes many of the problems that you will face later on in your journey. It is pretending that you don’t have doubts. It is pretending that you are farther along than you really are. It is pretending to be the person that you think everyone else expects you to be.
When you pretend to be strong, no one is aware that you need help. They aren’t praying for you or checking on you and trying to bless you. They aren't serving you or taking you along to serve others. When you are pretending, the doubts can’t be addressed and no one realizes that you are in a crisis until it is over.
In a very tragic way it is like pretending that you don’t have cancer, when in reality, you are dying from it. No one knows that you need help, that you need their strength, that you need their love and prayers. No one is aware because we are all so busy with our own lives. It is not that we don’t want to help. It is not that we don’t care. It is simply that we are busy and overwhelmed with our own different problems. Sometimes, we need to recognize an opportunity to be a blessing in someone else’s life. We need a reason to look out for you. I wish I were perfect in that respect, that I could just read your mind and know, but I am not. I am only human and I don't always notice the things that I should.
Where ever we are in our own spiritual journey is OK. Whatever we have as faith is good. But whatever we have, we need to be true to that faith. If you have faith that prayers work, than pray! Be believing in the Lord’s blessings in your life. If you struggle with prayer, than let others know. Study to find out what the problem is. Work on it little by little. Just because you don't understand a concept now, doesn't mean that you won't understand in the future. Don't push everything aside because you don't get it right this minute. The Lord never intended for you and I to become perfect in a single day. It will take well into eternity. The questions will all be answered. You will understand.
Whatever current state your faith is in, be true to it. Know that you are never alone. Know that you are loved and needed. Know that the Lord wants to bless you and is waiting to bless you as you draw ever closer to Him. Don't abandon the things that are true just because it is a difficult road. All of our journeys are difficult. All of us have problems. All of us need Him in our lives. Each one of us has faith. It is up to you to cling to that which you have and nurture it and cherish it. Be true to your faith, whatever it might be.