Ever had one of those seasons where doubt gnawed at your soul and kept you from living in abundant joy?
Yeah, me, too. In fact…recently.
With a life-changing decision on the line, I followed my usual checklist for making choices:
- What does God say about this decision – his voice deep in my soul?
- What does the Bible say about this choice?
- What do godly friends tell me?
- What do the circumstances show me?
- Do I have peace about the decision?
When the majority of those questions agree, then I feel ready to step into the next season of life.
So I spent several days in spiritual contemplation, fasting and prayer then checked my options with my bulleted list. Check. Check. All five checks. With the decision made, I felt such peace – I gulped fresh draughts of air.
Until doubt bombarded my soul with its constant “What if’s?”
What if this is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? What if this really isn’t God’s will for you and you’ve been royally deceived – again? What if this turns into chaos, then what are you going to do, sister?
Some of the old legalism tapes replayed in my psyche – the old stuff that says, “You’d better make the right decision or God will zap you.”
Yes, I know that is a lie, but old tapes rewind, pause and replay no matter how many times we shush them.
And the other legalism tape screams, “Doubt is not faith. Anyone who doubts is not worthy of the kingdom of God.”
I did say legalism is insidious, cruel and based on lies – right?
But doubt is not always a bad thing for it is in seeking the truth that we search for God. Without some form of doubt, we are left to roll around in our self-sufficiency and think we’re always right – no matter what happens.
Doubt rides with us in a roller coaster of belief systems, circumstantial evidence and core values until finally – dizzy from the ups and downs of emotional turmoil, we whisper, “Whatever, Lord. Just make this struggle go away.”
In a recent devotional, Megan Anderson wrote, “Doubt and discontent are natural symptoms of growth; they nudge us away from the pitfalls of apathy and complacency. At the same time, a lack of clear direction can be taxing on our hearts.”
Taxing on the heart – yes! That was the feeling I experienced as I replayed my decision and the possible things that might go wrong if I chose unwisely.
“Give me a confirmation, God,” I begged. He answered only by reminding me of who he is – my Husband and Maker who takes care of his bride.
Then God reminded me that decisions always have a risk factor. But even if a particular choice isn’t the best path – a mistake is not necessarily a sin.
Take that – you old legalism liar.
A mistake is not necessarily a sin.
So … I’m going forward with the final decision, sometimes feeling joy and sometimes walking through fields of terror – yet determined to trust and see how God will provide.
Ultimately doubt points us to where our faith originates and eventually lands – right smack in the arms of God.
©2017 RJ Thesman, Author of “Sometimes They Forget” and the Reverend G Trilogy