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Self-help books, videos, blogs, magazines…

…you name it, they’re everywhere.

Standing in the grocery store line, I used to scour the tempting covers looking for my ultimate happiness. The subheads promised permanent weight loss, a great relationship, or vast wealth, each of which held mystery for me. I bought the magazines week after week, and even if I read them, the answers continued to elude me.

I’ve taken classes, courses, and workshops; attended conferences, seminars, and lectures; studied for certification after certification and yet…it still escaped me. I know this stuff. It’s in my head. Why isn’t it working?

It took a long time and a lot of listening to myself instead of every self-proclaimed guru that came down the pike to realize that what I knew wasn’t going to make a real difference. I needed to really know my truth in my heart and my gut – the way I trust and know that the sun rises in the east every day.

I asked myself, “How do I cultivate real faith?”

I had no idea how to move all the intellectual stuff in my head to my heart and gut where I could have real knowing about it. Faith is a subject that hearkens back to Sunday school days – something about having “faith as a grain of mustard seed.” I didn’t understand when I first heard it, and my drift away from religion didn’t help matters, but in thinking about it again, I had a clue.

It’s a chicken and egg thing, I suppose. How does one grow in faith without first exhibiting some level of it? I decided it was up to me to make the first move. This choice involved risk-taking with which I’m familiar, but it also meant taming fears.

I’m a fan of baby steps so yes, a mustard seed’s worth of risk is what I would take. Most of my fears centered around stability and safety – pretty fundamental stuff. Being on my own, I knew I was the only person who could provide those things for myself.

I began planning my “escape” from the drudgery of work I didn’t come close to liking, let alone have some level of passion for it. Knowing I needed the basics of life – food, shelter, clothing, and health insurance – I navigated from one job to another. Each time my income dropped a little or the benefits were fewer, but I still had a roof over my head and a car to get me to and from.

The faith part came when I realized that even though I was going backward in some ways, the reward was a new seed of faith planted in my heart. I was okay. When I had that epiphany, I experienced a flood of gratitude like never before. I felt it in my heart and gut. I knew I could keep baby stepping toward my dreams.

As my faith grew, my gratitude deepened.

I consciously chose to immerse myself in that grateful space on a regular basis. Doors opened. Paths cleared. Opportunities presented themselves. Faith continued to grow.

Am I there yet? I suppose not, but I’m close. Each day feels like a gift, and fear and uncertainty aren’t completely gone. I choose to keep going, to show up as promised, and I simply know I have stability and safety. Faith shined a light on those deeply ingrained fears and reduced them to a minor concern.

Do you have fears despite your years of self-help mania? Does it seem like an impossible goal to find your faith and knowing? Take it from me – it is possible to move that knowledge from your head and relocate it to your heart and gut. Go ahead…take a baby step toward it.