One of my friends posted something on Facebook that made me pause and ponder. In her post, she said that “As backwards as it might sound, my faith comes from God’s strength, not mine… I’ve seen more so lately than ever before how He’s using me and the impact He can have through me. It’s overwhelming and beautiful.”
What I found fascinating was that she had a perspective of God that eludes many. Rather than us carrying out the will of God, God carries out His will through us. It’s a complete shift into a different mode of thinking, and not nearly as backwards as one might think. It got me thinking about my own perspectives on God, from what it means to live a God-centric way of life.
Why I Believe in God
I think first I feel the need to rationalize my belief in God. Unfortunately, any sort of –theism that doesn’t start with an a is frowned upon. And a big part of that is the stigma of religion (and all its implications) that follow. For this article, I’m focusing only on God.
My reason for believing in God is simple: all things created must have a creator. That’s it: no need to bring in overly complex philosophical theories or scientific proofs. Just keep it simple.
All matter that exists was created when the universe began, and it had to have come from somewhere. The universe is not static: it has a beginning and end. That means that something was present prior to creation, something initiated creation, and something will continue to exist after creation is gone. Creation cannot create itself; creation needs a Creator.
One Unique Part
Someone once said the wise one doesn’t think “What will I do today?” but rather “What will God do with me today?”.
Seeing yourself as merely a single part in God’s plan is humbling. We are all merely gears and circuits constantly being placed in the right place at the right time, interacting and intertwining with the multitude of destinies that occur around us at any given moment. And the moment you recognize this is the moment you start to become God-centric.
To be God-centric is to live—to strive—for something greater than ourselves. See yourself as a part that can shift and change and move the parts around you. And each part is unique. For each of us, we have been blessed with the ability to do certain things. For instance, God has willed that I be good at writing, but not at math (I’d rather gag on a spoon than do quadratic equations or chemical conversions). But for some it’s the opposite. It’s actually one of the rules of management that you put more effort into developing a person’s innate skills, rather than trying to fix their deficiencies. And, as Vitruvius says in The LEGO Movie, “You must embrace what is special about you.”
We should take these talents and excel with them. To not use our skills, our talents, and to just let them waste is an insult to these gifts we have been given. As Prophet Muhammad ¹ said, “God loves if any of you has done a deed to perfect it.” Be the best at what you do, as long as what you do is good.
As a Muslim, one of the things we are encouraged to say before doing anything is “Insha’Allah”—God willing. So we can only do what we set out to do if God wills it so. We have to put in our effort, and not have a defeatist attitude towards life. We should neither just sit back and let God do all the work, nor should we be so arrogant as to believe we can do any-and-all things on our own. A balance must be struck. And in my life I’ve seen that God has willed me to do things I never thought I could do. For instance, I never thought I would be doing public speaking or taking on leadership roles. Yet over the past four years, I’ve been pushed into these roles even when I would much rather be the guy in the background. Yet by doing so, by allowing myself to be vulnerable and accepting my role in life, I find myself able to reach out and inspire the lives of others.
¹This is the Arabic form for “peace be upon him”, which is an honorary prayer we say when mentioning Prophet Muhammad, or any of the Prophets. I choose to include this because it’s better than the English abbreviation “pbuh”