Definitely the word that generates the most eye rolls per appearance. I have something of an allergy to physics metaphors that I didn’t create myself; that’s a character defect. There is also the chilling sense that I get that people like Jen Sincero and Danielle LaPorte and so forth in some sense think they’re talking literally about the frequency of… something… vibrating: “enthusiasm vibrates at a higher frequency than…”
Unless and until you can show me the plot of frequency versus mood or attitude, tell me how many hertz are involved, and show me what is actually vibrating, I’mma go on considering it to be a metaphor.
Frequency is tied up with the law of attraction. Apparently you attract things by “raising your frequency” to match the thing, or type of thing, you want to have in your life. This raising of frequency is accomplished by setting expectations and taking external actions to reinforce them: changing how you dress, the decor on your walls, the way you eat, and the people you choose to spend time with (that last being the most difficult and the one where the fewest suggestions are given!).
Underneath the pseudo-scientific name of “frequency” I think there’s a ton of insight lurking. It’s so clear that different groups of people set very different expectations for one another. My neighbor down the road hangs out with a biker club on the weekends. That’s his world. In that world it makes sense for him to spend several thousand dollars out of his near-minimum wages on a motorcycle. In my world that makes no sense whatever, and I think that Triumph motorcycle he has his eye on is surpassingly ugly. These are things that don’t admit of right or wrong answers. I could choose (it would have been easier to start when I was 16) to go live with him in that world. I’d pick up the rules eventually. Maybe I’d enjoy it. I don’t know, and never will.
Yet there are worlds I would have liked to explore, and maybe still will. In college I was very torn up about dancing. There is something so appealing to me about learning an “actual” dance, like swing or salsa or two-step, and that’s true despite the fact that I am a complete outsider to that world. I made several efforts to cross over, but I was always so cripplingly self-conscious that I withdrew in defeat, not to make another attempt again for months. I still feel that longing to experience the music, move my body, cooperate with a partner in creating something elegant, no matter how ephemeral. I would have to “raise my frequency” and set some expectations in order to do that. I would have to center myself very squarely on the truth that it’s acceptable for me to make mistakes and learn. Further, maybe I could put some Fred Astaire posters up, join a Meetup group, find a place and make myself go every Friday for three months or a year, and finally find myself on the other side. I think I’d enjoy it. I’d like to find out.
I see significant parallels between this concept of “frequency” and my attitude toward God. It was a shocking revelation when it finally hit me that I have been thinking about God’s attitude toward me all wrong. I know that for myself I thought of God as permanently displeased with me, permanently expecting something of me despite the fact that I had no idea how to get it done, completely unwilling to help me, and permanently ready to condemn me for it. I realized that I thought of the whole Christian concept that nothing good happens without grace as hinging on whether a random and capricious God chooses to give you grace or not. I shudder when I think of all the Christian and Muslim groups that apparently think that believing God to be sovereign and free means that He is essentially random and unpredictable.
My mind’s eye trails off over a vista of entire societies with crippling father issues…
In any case, that kind of voluntarism (if I may so use the term) I have concluded is inimical to a faith that works. A faith that works, I think, abides by this augmented version of the Second Step:
“Came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, and would if He were sought.“
Grace is not about whether God is willing to give it. He is. He has chosen to be consistent, if you will, has promised, and who are we to gainsay that promise? The choice is on my side, whether to “raise my frequency” and step out into the fog and trust that the grace I need will come, and that whatever failure I experience when I try to do the next right thing I see is just part of the plan and altogether acceptable to a loving God.