“Write about my doubts, or don’t?” A question I posed on twitter today. @LeanneStewart replied with ‘Write about being stuck writing about doubts. Unpack it all, I bet others struggle with the same.” Brilliant. So here you go:
Writing About Being Stuck Writing About Doubt
In the middle of doubt, or a season of doubt, you often feel alone. You feel isolated in a way, alone in your struggle. What will people think if I voice this? Why do I feel this way? Everyone else seems to have it together, why am I struggling with this? You think you are the only one that feels the way you currently feel. You think you are the only one that struggles with what you’re currently struggling with. And so you keep it to yourself-the worst way to deal with it.
People don’t understand, some people never will no matter how well you explain- we are all different. It’s hard to try your best to explain how you feel and then have people not understand or even worse misunderstand. It’s a vulnerable thing. You are in a place where you most need encouragement, support, and to know that you’re not alone. But because you already feel alone in your doubt and struggle, when people misunderstand, you feel even more alone in your doubt and struggle. It’s the ultimate ‘kick me when I’m down’ scenario.
We are continually led to believe that people will believe in us only if they are convinced we know what we are doing, we are confident in our decisions, and we have all the answers. People most respected in today’s culture are the people who have it all figured out. They have all the answers and so we follow them, because we don’t. They are the strongest, so we follow them because we are weak. They have no fear, and so we follow them because we have many fears. Here’s a secret- all people, no matter how well they make it look on the outside, have doubts, fears, weaknesses, and struggles. We do ourselves no good by trying to appear like we don’t. In fact, we hurt ourselves that way. We continue down that spiral of feeling alone in our struggle.
Here is the beauty of the gospel- we are free to admit our struggles, our fears, and yes- our doubts. We are free to admit we don’t have it together, we don’t have the answers, we don’t know it all. But Christ does, and we are in Him, and that’s a beautiful thing. We (the church) are a body of broken people, plagued with doubts and fears and struggles. But we’re living a life that is a process, everyday another step forward, and that’s what matters- that we continually move forward. Together, arms linked, marching into the very face of our doubts and struggles-not because together we are anymore powerful than we are on our own, but because we have the common bond of knowing that Christ is the only thing holding each of us together.
So here are a few thoughts I have about dealing with doubts:
1) The second you share your doubts and struggles, you are set free from that ‘what will people think’ stuff, and it is such a freeing thing. No one has it together, and odds are that most people around you are also dealing with that same doubt, or have dealt with it in the past, or will deal with it in the near future. You are not alone.
2) I don’t know how to make people understand when they don’t. I don’t know how to change people, I can’t. The only person I can change is myself. The only person you can change is yourself. So with that, I’m trying to be a more understanding person. Seeking to put myself in the other person’s shoes, taking time to genuinely listen to someone who has come to me with a problem. Above and beyond this-making time to listen in general and be there for people- not waiting for people to come to me but being proactive in making myself available and seeking out people that need to be listened to. (Some people have been vulnerable and misunderstood so many times that they have given up on trying to talk.)
3) Deep down within us all we love the people that dare to show their weakness more than the people that seem to always have it together. Why? Because we can relate. So be relatable. Show your weaknesses, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, don’t be afraid to say when you don’t have the answers. It’s a process, and we’re all in it together. You’re weaknesses let Christ shine through, more so than your strengths!
4) Above all these things- God reveals himself to us in scripture as a REFUGE. A refuge is a place where a soldier goes in the midst of battle when he is wounded and in need of healing, weary and in need of rest, starving and in need of nourishment and energy, worn down and in need of comfort and rejuvenation of sprits. Think about this in light of your spiritual life. We so often see God as the last place to go in these moments- when we’re tired, hurting, weary, worn down. He is the first place we should run to…even with our doubts- specifically with our doubts. We can go to him, honestly, and say ‘I don’t know what you’re doing here, I don’t know why you’re letting this happen, I’m angry with you right now.’ Read the psalms! David is continually so honest with God that sometimes it catches me off guard. God sees our thoughts anyway- it’s not like we’re hiding anything from him. Like any relationship, strength comes from honesty. Go to him and tell him what is on your mind, vent to him, rant to him even. There is nothing that he wont listen to, there is nothing that he wont help you to figure out. The more open and honest you are with him, the closer you will feel to him, which is convenient seeing as how the closer you are to him the more your doubts and fears will fade away.
So in conclusion to all this- personally, I’ve been very blunt with God about my doubts and feelings and the more honest I am with him, the closer I’ve gotten to him. I’m going to try and write more about my doubts, in the midst of my doubts. I’m going to try and share more of my doubts, while I’m still doubting and vulnerable. And I hope that somehow in doing this you will be encouraged to do the same. Let’s join together in our struggles- let’s be real about where we are. Let’s challenge each other to be honest and to honestly share about our doubts, fears and struggles. Let’s also challenge ourselves to be honest with Him. No one should ever feel alone, we’re not.