By Amy Higley, Contributor

Credit: Jack Jeffries/Cavan Images

Credit: Jack Jeffries/Cavan Images

When we make a decision in faith, we might do things that don’t make sense initially. There may not be any perceived benefits and there may even be great risks. But each time we exercise our faith it becomes stronger. “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do—not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased,” Ralph Waldo Emerson. We can strengthen our faith in these five ways every day.

1. Kneel down and pray

Sharing our feelings, fears, weaknesses, and desires with God takes sincere effort. Because we can’t see Him, we have to trust that He is listening, but we can’t just tell Him what we want and expect to get it. We have to be willing to work for our answers and accept them when they come. When we approach Him in faith, we can feel supported in our goals and notice miracles in our own lives. I’ve felt strength knowing He is with me in what I am doing and is aware of my situation. As I try to develop a relationship with God, I learn to place His will above mine.

2. Look up to heaven for guidance

If I trust that God wants me to be the happiest I possibly could be, then I should never want something for myself that God doesn’t also want for me. As we receive answers to our prayers, we need to trust God enough to do what He asks. When we feel like we aren’t getting answers, we can be assured that everything good comes from God and He has faith in us. Any step forward is a step of faith. As I’ve tried to make seeking His guidance a habit, I have been able to feel peace, knowing that He will keep me moving in the right direction and provide answers along the way.

3. Step outside your comfort zone

As our trust in God grows, we will want to make changes in our lives. It isn’t easy to shake up our life or stop daily habits that have become a part of us. We know what happens if we keep doing the same things we always do, and change can be uncomfortable and unpredictable. We can have confidence that while we don’t know how it will all work out, we will be much better off than if we stayed where we are. If we are not moving at all, we cannot be directed to go anywhere. We will be provided with opportunities and confirmations along the way.

4. Lift others in need

Some of my reassurances have come from my friends and family. They might say something that seems familiar or comforting, and I understand that it is coming from God. This reinforces my trust to keep acting in faith. We can do the same for others. Our original reason for doing something can evolve and become more meaningful than we could have known. When we see that we have helped someone else because of where we are or what we have gone through, we recognize that He was working through us. In these moments, I feel there is an order and purpose to my life, and I gain confidence in what I am doing and who I am becoming.

5. Be still and listen

The distractions that surround us can drown out our communication with a higher power if we aren’t listening for it. It takes effort to find or make a quiet place to hear God’s voice. He will never force us to hear Him. Receiving answers will get easier as we learn how He speaks to us and we show Him that we want to hear. I like to turn the radio off when I am in the car so I can think without any noise. I’ve recently started going on walks, and I am surprised at how much better I feel after. Being outside is a relief from the time I spend indoors on screens. My thoughts seem to arrange themselves, and I feel better able to handle my stress. I recognize that though I am not in control, He is, and I have faith that good things will come when I trust Him.

Having faith is hard for all of us, but as we make a conscious effort to strengthen our faith every day, our power to do is increased. I’ve found that even my smallest effort to do as He directs is rewarded more than I could have ever expected or felt I deserve. Our faith grows as we use it. We can maintain our faith by making these exercises habits. Then we can have peace even when it doesn’t make sense to have peace, and we can move forward even when we can’t see the outcome.