You have heard of the familiar adage “fake it till you make it” right? It means that even when you don’t know exactly what or how to do something but you just keep giving the impression you do. This persistence will eventually pay off when you discover that you have figured whatever “it” is and are no longer faking it but actually doing it. While at times this theory may have some holes however more often than not it really does work. Through the persistent focus of faking it, you gain a sure confidence in your ability to not give up and figure things out.
It is especially in those times when “fake it till you believe it” is worth remembering. Believing in the God is a way of life for me. My faith in God’s overwhelming grace, love and goodness are etched into my very soul. However, I am human with free will to make choices whether good or bad, with insecurities and distrust that affects those decisions. When life happens, I can get so wrapped up in the chaos of life, work, relationships and even church that I lose the ability to look and act according to what I should do. It is during those times, when I don’t pray enough or read the Bible that feelings of unworthiness move from the edges of my being and filters into my heart and mind. Doubt and distrust influence my prayers. My prayers take on more of a, “I am going to just throw this out to God and hope the Mighty One hears it.” It is if I am throwing God a lob instead of a direct and confident pitch.
However, even though this type of prayer is not necessarily a faithful prayer it is still a prayer. It is still relying on God’s ever-present and listening ears to hear my cries for help. My instinct tells me to keep praying even if it feels like I am faking it because I believe this is where I find my courage to believe it God hears me. Ya know, “fake it till you believe it!” This reminds me of the story found in the Gospel of John, which begins with a lame man sitting beside a pool of Bethesda. Tradition tells us that every so often the waters of the pool would be stirred up by a healing spirit and the first one into the water would be healed. In this story the man had been lying beside the pool for 38 years. For all of that time the man came to the pool waiting to be healed and yet when Jesus stood beside him and asked him a simple question, “Do you want to be made well?” he had a number of reasons why healing was not possible (5:6). Even though he had been stuck beside the pool for all of those years he deflected Jesus’ question. He did not say, “Yes I want to be healed” or “What kind of question is that?” After all of that time maybe he couldn’t believe or trust that he would ever be healed. He had been waiting for a miracle for 38 years and finally he heard Jesus say, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” Finally he decided that he could trust and then believe that he was healed (5:8). You could say that for all of those years he was “faking it till he believed it.”
Aren’t there times when we are heavy in our doubt, fear and distrust so that we too deflect the very same question, “Do you want to be healed?” Maybe we are not struggling with a health issue like the lame man but with work, a relationship or faith issues. What this story says to me is that despite the man’s shortsightedness, Jesus still healed him. It is the same for us. Even when we are wrestling with our fears and doubts God is still with us in the mix of life. That is why at times I cling to the words, “fake it till you believe it” because in my heart I know that when I wander away in the busyness of life, God remains steady, waiting for me to believe and trust in the Holy One’s loving presence. To trust these words, “Stand up, take your mat and walk” and believe that God is always faithfully walking alongside me ready to once again grab me if I fall.