“Fake it ‘til you make it.” Ever heard that expression? It first gained traction in Alcoholic Anonymous circles and now is a staple. What does it mean and is it true? “Fake it ‘til you make it” expresses the notion that even though you don’t feel a certain way, pretend that you do feel that way until the feeling becomes real. Probably what we react to in the phrase is the “fake it” part. We would say, “it isn’t true, honest, or real. It’s a fraud because we don’t feel that way but we’re pretending like we do.” In our thinking, genuine feelings should precede our behavior and to do otherwise is dishonest.
I want to challenge that thinking. Psychologists use the expression, “as if” meaning regardless of how you feel, behave as if you truly feel like it and your feelings will follow. It’s similar to “fake it ‘til you make it” but without the deceptive element. “As if” behaving is, in essence, a step of faith. Faith refuses to be paralyzed by feelings. Faith acts whether the feelings are there or not. Those who live by faith understand that we won’t always feel like doing something but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. We should do the right thing whether we feel like it or not. For example, many of us are afraid to witness to others but when the opportunity arises we must step out by faith and share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ regardless of how we feel.
Consider the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. While the army of Israel cowered in fear and ran from the giant, David in faith ran toward him. Did feelings of fear paralyze him? They could have but they didn’t. He trusted God to use him to slay the giant and stepped out in faith to act regardless of whether he felt fearful, nervous, or afraid. David behaved “as if” he was courageous and acted accordingly.
Finally, consider Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:36-42. He prayed to His Father to spare Him from the crucifixion if it was the Father’s will. Did He feel like going to the cross? No. He was so anxious about what lay ahead that when He prayed His sweat was like great drops of blood. It was, however, not the Father’s will to spare Him. He was born to die for the sins of the world. In faith, Jesus obeyed the will of His Father and went to the cross. Faith acts regardless of feelings because it knows that feelings cannot be trusted to lead us to do the right thing. Thus “as if” is a fitting approach to a life of faith. We must not be slaves to our feelings.
Faith always trumps feelings,