People of faith have a lot of advantages in life, and while it’s true that there are also disadvantages, I find that the advantages outweigh them.
But saying that there are advantages is one thing and seeing them in action is quite another.
Luckily, I’ve done the research and identified nine habits that myself and my friends of faith have in common, and we’re going to take a look at them all today. Let’s dive in and take a look.
When people are able to display gratitude, they’re able to feel grateful for what they have, instead of feeling jealous of others or resentful about what they’ve lost.
For example, if you look at people who’ve survived a natural disaster, they’ll often say that while they’re devastated by the loss of their home and their community, they’re grateful that their friends and family are safe and unharmed.
Practicing gratitude isn’t always easy, but I like to think of it as being like a muscle. The more you practice, the better you become – and the better you become, the more often you’ll find yourself feeling grateful.
Most of the people I know who have a lot of faith are also able to demonstrate a huge amount of resilience.
No matter what struggles life sends their way, they’re able to greet them with a smile on their face because they always have their faith to fall back on. It gives them an inner strength that allows them to maintain that resilience over time.
This makes a lot of sense because when we look at the history of religion and at some of the martyrs along the way, we see this same resilience.Often, people could have avoided torture and suffering with just a couple of words, but they chose instead to face that suffering head on with only their faith to shield them.
The idea behind mindfulness is that we practice living in the now, instead of dwelling on the past or thinking about the future.
I suffer from both anxiety and depression, and I’ve often said that my depression is caused by thinking about the past and my anxiety is caused by worrying about the future. I’ve also found that mindfulness helps me to come to terms with both of them.
I’ve met a lot of people who’ve turned to mindfulness as a way to cope when their faith is tested, and I find that faith and mindfulness go hand in hand. An easy way to practice mindfulness and to “reset” your mind is to say a short prayer.
People of faith are virtually made for forgiveness. I’d go so far as to say that it’s their superpower.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If we want to get good at forgiveness, we need to keep on practicing it like a muscle that we’re building up. You’re going to hear that a lot in today’s article.
We can start small by forgiving people for things like taking our spot in line. Then we can keep on scaling it up from there.
Forgiveness is one of those Biblical traits that it seems as though there’s a lack of in today’s day and age. But that just means that you have an opportunity to lead the way when it comes to bringing it back.
When you’re able to experience and display empathy, you can better understand other people and the way that their emotions work.
People of faith generally display more empathy than most because it’s a skill and a character trait that’s taught by most religious leaders and holy books. Often, we can display empathy just by asking ourselves what Jesus or the Buddha would do.
This empathy then becomes second nature, and so when we find ourselves in a situation in which our faith is being tested, we’re much better placed to practice empathy than we might otherwise have been.
Like empathy, acceptance is preached by many of the holy books that we read, and it’s also just a part of mainstream religious culture.
For example, you may have come across the Serenity Prayer, which was published by Reinhold Niebuhr in 1951 and adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous. The prayer goes, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Like forgiveness, acceptance is a skill that we get better at if we practice it. The good news, if you’d like to think of it like that, is that life will provide you with plenty of opportunities to practice your acceptance skills.
It’s up to you whether you decide to take them.
When it comes to faith, a lot of the things we think about come down to hope for the future.
For example, the funeral rite of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer reads, “In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother [NAME]; and we commit his body to the ground.”
The hope that we experience as people of faith ranges from the hope for a better future to the hope for eternal life and the hope that our prayers are answered. Faith itself depends upon hope; we believe in the things we believe in because we hope them to be true.
This hope remains even when our faith is tested because it’s such a deep emotion that it sits at the core of our beings.
Optimism comes from hope as surely as sunshine follows rain.
The idea here is that people of faith are more optimistic about the future because they believe that the future is in the hands of a deity, rather than determined by mere mortals. If history has shown us anything, it’s that mankind is fallible.
Those of us who live by our faith are able to sweep aside any nagging little doubts and to forget about the horrors of the past so that we can focus on building a more optimistic future.
Our society needs people like us because our optimism allows us to see how the world could be a better place. Then we can make that better world a reality.
This is one that I struggle with, whether my faith is being tested or not. But I’m a naturally impatient person.
For most of my friends of faith, patience comes relatively easy, in part because they see patience as a virtue that can bring them closer to God. It’s also like forgiveness and acceptance in that it’s a muscle that gets better with practice.
When that muscle is strong enough, it doesn’t matter how severely your faith is tested. Your patience will be on hand at all times to remind you that the test is only temporary. If you’re patient enough, the test will pass and your faith will be stronger than ever.
Now, it’s important to remember that just because you have faith, it doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically display each of these habits.
Like any other habits, you need to practice them regularly if you want to make them second nature.
With that said, if your faith is an important part of your life then you’ve got a natural advantage in each of these areas. You’ll find it easier to establish the habits that we’ve talked about than someone without faith.
Just make sure that your faith is strong before you risk relying on your resilience or your acceptance. Good luck. I’ll be praying for you.