I must admit that at the time of this blog’s conception, I purposefully steered clear of discussing faith here. The intentionality behind &justlikethat is all about getting down to the vulnerable, often hidden parts of ourselves yet for some reason, talking about my own faith seemed especially personal? I guess I was afraid that by typing out the various facets of what I believe onto the web and publishing it out for the world to see, what already is something so complex, oftentimes unstable, and something I’m still very much figuring out with each day becomes cemented in stone with a seeming air of certainty that may or may not be there.
With my initial reluctance in sharing about this topic here, I have come to the realization though that I am absolutely terrible at setting aside the time to assess my faith in general and softening my heart to hear God’s will.
In this way, my hope is that talking about my faith here will not only be a great way for me to sit down and process my own thoughts through words, but that by talking about the joys and definite struggles of what it means to follow Christ, they may somehow be used as a form of encouragement to anyone else out there going through something similar.
And for those of us who are not religious or spiritual in any way, in the end, I find that struggles and experiences in faith are very reflective of struggles and experiences in life as a whole, and so my hope is that despite varying beliefs, you may be able to take away something from the words I write here in any way, shape, or form.
For today, I thought I’d talk about doubt.
By definition, to “doubt” means to be uncertain of, to distrust. Considering this definition, it would seem as if doubting is the opposite of what it means to have faith. It makes sense and is definitely what runs through my mind every time I doubt God and go on to beat myself up about it for not trusting Him enough.
When a setback hits me in my life, whether it be family-, relationship-, career-related, etc., or when there is stagnancy and absence where I expect action and answers, doubt creeps into my mind and heart within minutes. I wish I could boast that through my staggeringly firm trust in God, doubt has to fight its way into my heart, but really, it happens almost effortlessly like a well-practiced habit.
Indeed, doubt is a product of not placing steadfast trust in God, but I don’t think it’s the complete antonym of faith. In fact, I think any concrete faith truly is a myriad of life experiences peppered with several instances of doubt. The importance lies in what we do after doubt forms in our minds.
When we doubt God, we are essentially taking a step back and assessing what we believe of God’s character and promises, looking at what’s happening in our own lives and feeling like something’s not matching up. If we stop here and continue to build around ourselves a wall of bitterness and resentment towards God stemming from our doubt, then this becomes damaging and counterproductive.
But, if we use our doubt to re-evaluate who we believe God is, then go through His word and thereafter come to realize His true character and sovereignty in our lives, this doubt ends up serving as a tool to stretch and strengthen our faith. Of course, this is enormously easier said than done and is something I’m constantly finding myself falling short of. However, a comforting truth is that when you are confronted with a situation that forces you to question God and exposes bare the true integrity of your faith, it pushes you to put this described process into practice and thereby makes the path moving forward become clearer and clearer with each new time.
So next time life slaps you in the face with a harsh reality and you find yourself doubting in God’s plans and purpose, I challenge you to stop yourself from wallowing in guilt and resentment too long and digging yourself into a deeper hole, but recognize that as humans, we are flawed and are prone to doubt God’s goodness as part of our very nature. But more importantly, as with any strong relationship in life that has stood the test of time, we can choose to use our doubt to recommit ourselves to God so that we might follow after Christ with an even firmer conviction.