(This article is part of a series exploring and applying the seven principles of Kwanzaa.)

The seventh day of Kwanzaa is Imani (ee–MAH–nee), which means Faith. To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders to meet all challenges and to make progress. Imani is belief in our own ability and right to control our own destiny.

Imani is a reflective day, a meditative day, a day when African Americans turn inward to think of and discuss examples of faith, currently and historically. Those who were the bridges that have brought us across the turbulence of slavery, Jim Crow violence, terror, and dehumanization to the achievements of African Americans today.

Faith is the bedrock principle. Without Imani (faith), there is no possibility of victory.

Mary McLeod Bethune an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida, which later developed as Bethune-Cookman University. Bethune says:

“Without faith, nothing is possible; with faith, nothing is impossible.
Faith in God is the greatest power, but great too is faith in oneself.”

Faith has been ever present in the black experience in America. At our most unpromising moments, faith has carried us forward, making us more hopeful.

[Source: Learn more about Imani Day here.]

Strengthen Your Faith to Make Your Dreams Come True This Year

The goal is that the principles of Kwanzaa will become a way of life throughout the entire year. This year, let’s walk by faith and not by sight.

One of the biggest roadblocks to living my highest purpose was my timid faith and my fear of taking risks. I played it safe, trying to avoid failure, humiliation, and rejection at all costs. In doing so, I often settled for less than I really wanted and missed out on the things that made my heart happy. Without faith and taking risks, you end up living a lackluster life, sacrificing your dreams and true desires. My journey has taught me that I am safest when I trust my inner wisdom and take steps forward in strong faith.

Here are five lessons I’ve learned that will help you take confident faith steps toward your dreams.

  1. Failure is part of success. When you try to avoid it, you are also reject your success.
  2. Mistakes are opportunities to learn how to be more successful.
  3. Vulnerability is a sign of strength. Learn to be with it.
  4. Build the plane as you fly it! Done is better than perfect.
  5. You must put yourself out there again and again, and risk truly be seen.

Today, take a faith step outside your comfort zone and toward your dream.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

How do you define faith? What will you do in the this year to demonstrate faith in yourself? Leave me a comment and share your definition.

Which Kwanzaa principle will you commit to practice more in the new year? Click the links below to get helpful ideas on how to do it.