If there was ever a reason to live out in the mountains or the dessert, it would be for the stars.
Out here, living in the ‘burbs, I get to see some stars. But, c’mon, looking at stars with rooftops for a skyline is like trying to watch the latest block buster movie on the airplane with Mr. Big and Tall sitting in front of you. Not so good.
It’s only when I’m out where the air cools down to a bite, where the mountains and her trees form a trellis for the sky, can I get lost stargazing.
I become a child again, sitting or lying down in the dark, on a cool rock or the bumpy ground. I like how the night gets quiet. My body relaxed, my ears perk up hearing the wind, the trees, and even my own heartbeat.
Then, the stars appear. They shine down on me in stardust radiance.
Stargazing. It never fails to take my breath away.
I can’t help, but long to faithgaze in the same way.
No matter how long I’ve been a Christian, I still consider myself a newbie to faithgazing. Like Abraham who was first pointed to the stars, I too, turn to the stars for inspiration.
When I focus on my own abilities and my circumstances, I easily get locked into fears of the bad that could happen.
How long is this journey? Am I on the right path?
Should I follow my heart at this fork in the road.. or my mind?
What is my next step?
All these questions put the focus on me and my decision making.
The stars of faith disappear right along with the city lights of fear and self-reliance.
What does a faithgazer like me do?
Here’s a quick take on how I’m learning the art of faithgazing:
1. Faithgazing conditions are at night.
It’s dark. We can’t see.
Perfect. God is the only one who can work in the dark. This is where only He can provide the light. One day at a time. One word at a time.
“If I say,
‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:11-12
2. I need time to adjust my eyes to the dark, so I can focus on faith more clearly.
It’s important to stay calm when we run into a patch of uncertainty and a time of waiting. Faith becomes clearer when we remember that God is the one with the plan, not us.
“We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
We’re supposed to be in the dark, in the realm of faith.
3. Faithgazing is a lot more fun if you do it with someone who is familiar with the constellations.
I have a friend who is an avid hobby astronomer who holds an infinite trivia of stars, planets and galaxy what-nots. A few pointers from him and my eyes pop wide awake, stargazing away.
Faithgazing with a wise friend works the same. I look out into my walk and only see a bunch of random thoughts or questions. But, a warm hearted sojourner who has done her share of faithgazing can come alongside and point out beautiful patterns of God’s workings.
It’s amazing how I can go from discouraged to faithgazing after spending time with a faithgazer!
4. Faithgazing is a growing walk, made clearer under God’s word.
There is no getting around this one. God’s word gives us orientation of where is north and south. It is the only reliable map to the spiritual truths that can open our eyes to faithgaze.
‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4
5. We ask God to open our spiritual eyes.
Sometimes when we try to faithgaze without prayer, it’s like going out stargazing with our sunglasses still on.
We try to find spiritual direction and encouragement relying on human effort and wisdom. The good news is that we all have been given the mind of Christ, so we have the equipment.
The key is to take time out in prayer to use it.
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you” Ephesians 1:18
Faithgazing, developed over time and intention, becomes breathtaking, like stargazing on a clear, starlit night.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
C’mon. Add to today’s Quick Guide to Faithgazing.
I love getting tips from other faithgazers!
What are your observations and tips?
Today's post is Part 3 of the series Slaying My Dragons of Fear. Be sure to read: Part I: My review of Max Lucado's newly released book Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear Part 2: Are You a Feargazer? SUBSCRIBE NOW to catch these updates from FaithBarista hot and fresh directly in your mailbox via email (click here) or RSS (click here) news reader.
Wow. Am I glad I caught this. You hooked me at once. I’m a Denver native who lived up in the foothills of the Rockies for three years and never wearied of stars at that altitude. The starlight is so brilliant we actually did a starlight hike once in a wilderness area with no moonlight or artificial lights, hiking to the top of a ridge to wait for dawn.
Then you really got me with the part about God working in darkness, where He provides light. I’ve been mentally hashing out a post I want to do for a sidebar link on finding answers in times when we’re overwhelmed. I’m sure your insights will find their way in there. Here’s the short of it, for your question about faithgazing.
God only allows in our lives more than we can bear so that we’ll grow in dependence on Him. In the place of being overwhelmed, I’ve discovered a prayer that has always been answered: “What do I do next, Lord?” And no matter what the step is, however big or small, if I’ll do it, He’ll be ready to supply the next step in the moment I ask.
Bonnie – These are excellent analogies – I especially love your point of finding someone familiar with constellations. That is so true, so often. When all we see is a jumbled mess of random circumstances, a faithful friend can help us bring the dots into form – into a beautiful picture, or even an entire story. I think that’s what the ancients did when they were naming all of the stars – looking for patterns among the patterns.
My additional tip would be using a telescope: Sometimes you’ve got to zoom in on one particular star or contellation, and focus on it, study it, to get a better understanding of what it really looks like, what the deeper meaning is. There may be times when God will take us into a certain area of our lives to focus on in order to build our faith or our future.
I am really enjoying your Blog.
“I need time to adjust my eyes to the dark…”
“We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
Those who know me have heard “Take your time, you’ll get there faster.”
Relax and preprayer.
I, too, am loving your blog, Bonnie. I like #5 – asking God to open our spiritual eyes. Just like it is sometimes difficult to see stars through the clouds, I believe our faith can be clouded as well. The power of prayer can open our spiritual eyes so that we can see our path from God clearly.
Oh, you have NO idea on how happy I am to visit you tonight. I often am in awe of God’s masterpiece of the night sky and find myself getting submersed in prayer and reflecting…… and I never even heard of the term faithgazing! So this is so awesome to read…..and I love how you are sharing your experiences too.
Have a beautiful night!
@Anne: You are truly blessed to have lived up in the Rockies for *three* yrs! I have never done a starlit hike in wilderness (no moonlight… wow) to wait for the dawn. It must’ve been so beautiful, my mind can’t even compute it!
“And no matter what the step is, however big or small, if I’ll do it, He’ll be ready to supply the next step in the moment I ask.” Great addition to this list, Anne! What an encouragement. Thnx!
@Bradley: “Friend can help bring the dots into form.” Like that line.
“There may be times when God will take us into a certain area of our lives to focus on in order to build our faith or our future.” So, true. I love the telescope addition! Thnx!
@Doug: “Relax and preprayer.” Ooh. I LUV that. I’m gonna tweet that tomorrow (credit will be given) :). Are you on Twitter, Doug? Thnx!
@Heather: “I believe our faith can be clouded as well. The power of prayer can open our spiritual eyes so that we can see our path from God clearly.” I love the visual this tip brings. I have more arsenal now for faithgazing. Thnx!
@Michelle: Now, I do! 🙂 Thank you for letting me know. “God’s masterpiece of the night sky.” No one else can do it the way He does. That’s FOR SURE! Thnx!
Great post! I am with you…there is nothing like star gazing. I lived in Africa for 2 years and I have to say there is NOTHING like an African Sky at night with all the stars twinkling the brightest! Its like nothing you have ever seen and will see again. Awesome!
@Maureen: Wow. Stars in the African Sky. 2 years, too! Was it for work? What a unique blessing.
“Its like nothing you have ever seen and will see again. ” I believe it! I can’t imagine.
I love this.
As an Idaho native now living in Maryland, things like this make me really miss ‘home.’ (Nice to know the stars are still up there!)
I love your insight and analogies. Thanks for sharing with us!
@makeadiff21: You’re welcome! So nice that you have your Idaho skies tucked inside to enjoy thinking back.
[…] like to close out a week of faithgazing and faith-puzzle playing with a recording that Chris Tomlin himself dubbed “…the […]
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[…] Slaying My Dragons of Fear. Be sure to check out: Part I: Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear Part 3: A Beginner's Quick Guide to Faithgazing ! SUBSCRIBE NOW to catch these updates from FaithBarista hot and fresh directly in your mailbox via […]
Faithgazing… what a wonderful idea.. strange that I wrote something related today at my blog which is also part of the gratitude community. My mother who was terrified of storms taught me the wonder of them even though she was deeply frightened by them. Great post
What a wonderful memory of your mother and faith. Thank you for sharing and saying hello! Welcome!