I wrestle with faith sometimes. At times, I find it to be a struggle.

Over the years, I have studied a lot of Torah teachings about faith, G‑d and our relationship with Him. Of course, I know and believe what I learned with utmost certainty. When challenge strikes, I work hard to create a bridge of connection between mind and heart. I try to let all that I know to be true flow through that bridge and wash over my heart with a sense of peace, calm and the ability to let go, and let G‑d take over the reins of the issue at hand.

But sometimes, I feel a blockage in that bridge. I knowSometimes, I feel a blockage my faith very deeply on an intellectual plane, but it isn’t properly reaching the visceral in me. I feel myself struggling to really and truly internalize all that I know to be true.

In Chassidic jargon, we refer to this internalization of knowledge as da’at (internalizing knowledge), and sometimes I feel challenged by the da’at dimension of my relationship with G‑d.

I have discovered a powerful tool that has the power to encompass the world of intellectual ideas, but with a language that the emotions of the heart can understand: the power of imagery.

One image in particular really stands out for me. Words I had been singing each Yom Kippur began to take on new meaning the more I thought about them. We say to G‑d: Ki hinei kachomer b’yad hayotzer (“As clay in the hands of the craftsman/potter, so, too, are we in Your hands”).

I contemplated that image for a while. Oh, the power it contains! Here I am, a piece of clay, in the hands of the Ultimate, Infinite and All-Knowing Craftsman: G‑d Himself. G‑d doesn’t want me to return my soul to Him looking like that same hunk of clay.

Just like that potter, G‑d has a vision for what that clay can become—the beautiful piece of pottery that can emerge. I may not see it, but He does. And as my life meanders through the blessed times as well as the challenging ones, G‑d is there, shaping, forming and sculpting me into the artwork I am intended to become.

Of course, we have to do our part. (The metaphor isn’t perfect; we have freedom of choice, while the clay does not). We need to make a vessel for G‑d’s blessings by expending great effort in the physical and spiritual choices we make. Mitzvot and prayer have the ability to open new channels of blessings. Consulting with a rabbi, rebbetzin or mentor is a great way to make sure we are doing our part.

But then, allow your body, your emotions, your mind to relax. Conjure up that image of clay in the potter’s hand. Feel G‑d shaping and fashioning you into the person you are meant to be, revealing the inner beauty and light that lay waiting in potential within your soul.

And as you do, pray. Pray hard that G‑d’s shaping and forming should be in a way of revealed good that we can appreciate, that we feel the love in each movement.

Here’s a nightly mediation that has helped me internalize this faith.

Nightly Exercise/Meditation:

  • Step outside each night before getting ready for bed (weather-permitting).
  • Pause. Let go of the maddening thoughts of the day. Empty your mind.
  • Look up at the stars. The vast expanse of sky. The universe around you.
  • G‑d is above it all. Above time and space. Yet He chooses to be intimately involved in every last detail of Your life.
  • G‑d is orchestrating every single thing in your life from the big to the most minute. G‑d is the true Source for everything that occurs in your life.
  • Resolve to do all that you can to make a vessel for His blessings, in the physical arena as well as in the spiritual. Mitzvot and prayer can open new channels of blessings.
  • Say the Shema each night before going to bed.
  • Concentrate on these most powerful words: Beyadcha afkid ruchi padisa osi ado-nai e-l emet (“In Your hand, I entrust my soul; You have redeemed me, O Hashem, G‑d of truth”).
  • You are entrusting Yourself to G‑d. Rest assured that you are in the best of hands.