We say we believe a lot of things, but what do we really mean when we use this word? Does it mean that we agree with an idea or "think" that it's true? Is a belief something that exists only in our minds, or does it have something to do with our actions?
My friend, Tim, in a recent blog post (in referring to Gary Chapman's book, "The 5 Love Languages"), shared that his "love language" is words of affirmation. An "atta boy" can keep him going for a long time. I got to thinking about this and realized I'm just the opposite. I tend to feel that words are empty unless they are accompanied by actions. This love language has been called "acts of service". Actions mean a lot to me. My husband, who loves words of affirmation, can tell me all day long that I'm an amazing woman (And he does--often. I really should appreciate him more!), but if he says it while I'm doing dishes and he doesn't grab a towel, well, the words ring pretty hollow to me.
Maybe that's why the topic of beliefs is interesting to me. I hear people say a lot of things, but because of my particular love language, I'm always watching their actions to see if they really mean it. I can relate to the apostle James, when he said, "Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." To me, the advice to live what you believe is just plain silly. You will live what you believe. You can say whatever you want, but your actions will rat you out every time!
Lest you think I'm just preaching here, I have my own struggles with hypocrisy. This was pointed out to me once again last night as I was talking with my friend, Cassandra. I was fretting over what to do about something (I'm the queen of internal conflict), and I said to her, "I really believe...". She commented, "You still have a lot of cognitive dissonance over this!" Boom! Stated belief not lining up with actions. I was claiming to believe something, yet still fretting over whether to act on it. Truth is, I don't know if I really believe what I said. Back to the drawing board. I will know what to do when I finally decide what I believe.
So, what do you believe...really?