Everyone needs to have faith

The confidence we need to navigate life flows from faith in ourselves, and that begins with self-knowledge.

The confidence we need to navigate life flows from faith in ourselves, and that begins with self-knowledge.

“Explore thyself!” Henry David Thoreau urges us all.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet marveled at the human animal: “What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty in form and loving how express and admirable in action, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!”

Yet in the next breath the prince’s faith in man and himself faltered: “And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?”

Hamlet lacked hope in, and love for, mankind and himself.

When you reach the autumn of your life, you’ll want to nurture a faith that secures your future and engages your affections as well as your mind.

For that, you will need a faith in something — or someone — outside yourself.

If you conceive of yourself as a mere accidental speck of life in a vast, impersonal universe, you are not likely to find a faith that holds out much hope.

Believers and doubters are equally exposed to life’s trials, but the believer knows where he stands in the universe and where he is going.

No one can live free of faith.

If you or I attempted to live confidently on the basis of what we know for an absolute fact, we could never get out of bed in the morning.

People cannot help but live by faiths that fall short of certitude, but we can shed false faiths that are built of little more than habit and sentiment, and we can build a faith full of hope.

Take the time to list your beliefs on paper, starting with what you believe about yourself.

What kind of person do you think you are? What do you do daily to justify your faith in yourself?

For example, if you consider yourself to be truthful, what hard truths have you revealed or confronted lately?

If you think of yourself as generous, what acts of kindness have you displayed of late?

Next, answer this: What do I believe in beyond myself?

In what or whom do I place my faith and trust?

Summon the courage to submit your findings to a couple of trusted friends.

Do they see you the way you see yourself?

If not, don’t despair.

Your faith may be fine, though your self-image may be faulty.

Even saints falter in action, but they maintain their faith despite their shortcomings. To be worthy of your adherence, your faith needs to be bigger and better than you alone.

Francis of Assisi was once challenged by a peasant who had heard of the friar’s generosity. He urged the saint: “Try to be as good as people think you are.” From all reports, Francis succeeded. Despite a life of almost inconceivable deprivation and generosity, he lived happily.

David Yount’s latest book is Making a Success of Marriage (Rowman & Littlefield). He answers readers at P.O. Box 2758, Woodbridge, VA 22195 and dyount31@verizon.net.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Several cases of COVID-19 were reported among employees of stores at Bower Place Mall. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
COVID-19 cases reported at Bower Place mall stores

AHS said five complaints were investigated since March, and required changes made

Edmonton Eskimos' Tanner Green, right, knocks the ball from Calgary Stampeders' Romar Morris during first half CFL football action in Calgary in 2019. Green has been waiting for nearly 17 months to get back on the field with the Edmonton Football Team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lacombe’s Tanner Green happy to finally see a CFL return to play date

CFL announced Wednesday league will return on Aug. 5

Instructor Brandt Trimble leads an outdoor spin class at RYDE RD. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Fitness facilities continue to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions

‘It’s really frustrating to be one of the targeted businesses’

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins (Photo contributed)
Federal budget strangles job growth, says MP Blaine Calkins

‘It is most certainly not a balanced budget’

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

The Rogers Logo is photographed in Toronto office on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Rogers CEO ‘deeply disappointed’ software upgrade caused wireless outage

TORONTO — The chief executive of Rogers Communications Inc. said Wednesday that… Continue reading

Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem holds a press conference at the Bank Of Canada in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bank of Canada keeps rate on hold, sees brighter economic outlook

Bank of Canada keeps rate on hold, sees brighter economic outlook

Pumpjacks pump crude oil in Alberta on June 20, 2007.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Court asked to step in as SanLing Energy warns it intends to stop operations

Court asked to step in as SanLing Energy warns it intends to stop operations

Canadian Pacific Railway president and CEO Keith Creel addresses the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CP Rail asks U.S. regulator to rule on its and CN’s rival Kansas City Southern bids

CP Rail asks U.S. regulator to rule on its and CN’s rival Kansas City Southern bids

A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Site of COVID outbreak last year: Vaccination clinic at Alberta meat plant postponed

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — A COVID-19 vaccination clinic for thousands of workers… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks at a television screen as he listens to United States President Joe Biden deliver a statement during a virtual joint statement following a virtual meeting in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘We hope to help a little more’: Biden says he spoke to Trudeau about more vaccines

WASHINGTON — Canada can look forward to an unexpected shot in the… Continue reading

The Mission Correctional Institution in Mission, B.C. is pictured Tuesday, April 14, 2020. A new federal study found that people released from prison were much more likely than the general population to have trouble finding gainful employment, even over a decade after returning to society. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Ease employment hurdles for former prison inmates, federal study urges

OTTAWA — A new federal study found that people released from prison… Continue reading

Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem holds a press conference at the Bank Of Canada in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bank of Canada keeps rate on hold, sees brighter economic outlook

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate… Continue reading

Most Read