Keeping the Faith When We Are Tested

businessman doing yoga in lotus pose

The opposite of your negative thought is what you most need to learn right now. – Martha Beck

I started my own law practice a year ago and I’ve been loving it. There is only one area that I struggle with at times, however, and I’ve learned that many other self-employed people have this same struggle. I occasionally get caught in a fear of not having enough, or I get worried that I will never receive another new client. Just as being employed by others can give a false sense of security, being self-employed can give a false sense of insecurity.

After a slowdown in late Summer, I went for a few days of feeling pretty negative with an acute sense of “lack”. While rationally I knew that the slowdown was typical of that time of year, my emotions and negative thinking had taken hold. I walked around praying for a nice new client to come in the door. I prayed aloud for a specific type of project, knowing that such projects provide a steady stream of work.

Not long after that, a former client of mine called me with precisely the type of project for which I had been praying. The trouble was, this was a “former” client for darn good reasons. He was combative, extremely negative and rude. He really felt like a toxic person to me. I remember mentioning to a colleague in confidence, that I sensed this client had a darkness around him. I couldn’t think of any other way to describe the way he felt to me.

Are you f**ing kidding me!?? I said to the universe, after I got off the phone with my former client. I pray for a new client and this is what I get?!? The right type of project showed up when I asked for it, but it was wrapped in a dark and toxic energy. Is this really what the universe wanted for me?? Is this the best it thought I deserved?

I felt like I had been walking in a desert, thirsty and worried about finding water, and been handed a glass of sewage to drink. Is this some sort of a test, I wondered? I was angry, frustrated and hurt. How could the universe be so cruel? I thought that if you asked the universe for help, it was supposed to give it to you. Instead, I felt it had kicked me while I was down.

Well, I said to myself, “No way.” I’m not working with this guy. Then I really got angry. “I’m not going to drink sewage!”, I yelled out loud. I wanted there to be a cold glass of clear water somewhere in my future, but I still wasn’t feeling hopeful about it. All I knew at that time, was that I was not going to work with this client and that I was still waiting for the right project to show up.

I really felt the whole situation must have been a test. I had been in a negative mindset and the irony of a project showing up that was so close to what I wanted, yet draped in darkness and negativity, was too ironic to miss. There is no such thing as a coincidence.

I do believe that sometimes the universe holds up a great big mirror in front of our negative thoughts and asks, “You mean, like this? Is this what you think your world is like?” My fear that I wouldn’t get the good business was met with an exaggerated example of just that. It was almost as if my negative thoughts had incarnated right in front of me – with some stank on them.

When we are walking in the desert wanting water and the universe hands us sewage, it is testing our resolve to not drink sewage. It is asking us to clear away our negative thoughts and beliefs about what we want and to have faith that what we truly hope for will show up. It may mean that we will be thirsty a little longer, walking along in uncertainty, however.

We may lose our faith and believe that the glass of sewage means we will never find clean water, that sewage is the best we deserve, or the best we can ever expect. If we buy into any of those things, we’re wrong. We need only exist to deserve and expect wonderful things.

Too many of us drink the sewage anyway, fearful that we will die of thirst without it. That makes us resentful, depressed, angry and fearful. We lose our faith and a downward spiral of negativity ensues. Over time, our outer world will match what is going on in our psyche. That’s not good.

It’s not easy to keep faith while wandering in a desert – believe me, I know. It helps to remember that we are not given a dream unless we have the capacity to fulfill it. What is meant for us will not go past us. If the train doesn’t stop at our station, it isn’t our train.

So, if you dream of finding a wonderful partner who feels like he or she is your best friend, and a cocky jerk shows up on your next date, that isn’t your partner. And if you are on date number seven, and you’re still encountering cocky jerks, they still aren’t your partners.

The universe isn’t trying to tell you that there is nothing better out there other than cocky jerks. It is holding up a mirror to the negative thoughts and beliefs you have about partnership – probably from very early on in your life – and asking you to clean them up and to expect better.

A few weeks later the phone rang and I landed a new project that was much bigger than the one from my former client. I really felt as if I was being rewarded for my refusal to drink sewage and for keeping my faith – even when I hadn’t been feeling very hopeful. I guess I passed the test.

The right people, the right partner, the right clients, the right career and the right community are there for you. You wouldn’t be dreaming of them if they weren’t meant to show up in some form. Cleaning up the negative thoughts and beliefs we have about everything we want in our life is something that takes time, practice and faith. Fortunately, the universe will give us a pop quiz every now and then to help us.


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