Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
I am sharing this for me….as much as I am for you, because I have come to feel myself slipping into that quagmire we call doubt!
Even before we realize it, it often begins to creep up on us, on feet as quiet as a cat’s whose delicate tread carries him through the brush and then prepares him to pounce on some unsuspecting prey. Is that, indeed, what we are? Prey for those niggling, nagging thoughts that invade our waking moments with sweaty palms and clouds our dreams with nightmares? And have you noticed that once it begins, it refuses to release its hold until the time comes when we either succumb to its stifling grip or else we face the alternative where we are forced to take up arms and banish it away? And that would be well enough, if it would but stay away! Unfortunately, that is seldom the case. Doubt is something that has a tendency to repeat itself in some endless loop, playing over and over again in our heads!
Is there a way to banish this parasite permanently? Probably not! But there are things we can do to keep it at bay more!
- Keep the things that share a positive message close by!
I have a friend that keeps a tiny book of positive messages in her purse so that when she begins to feel herself doubting, she can, at a glance, get a dose of “feel good” immediately injected into her very spirit! She swears that this is the way she manages to keep her head above water every day!
- Retreat to a place of quiet for a time!
I have another friend that meditates. Before those little doubts become big worries, she goes to her quiet place, and closes her eyes for just a moment. Then she focuses on clearing her mind and instead, paints beautiful images where darkness reigned supreme only moments before!
- Me time is great time!
I enjoy writing and music. When I write and especially if I add some lulling music in the background, are the times when it is easiest for me to decompress and rid myself of those nagging doubts that plague me. My husband has his golf game. My friend likes to knit! Whatever is your cup of tea is most probably the thing that will allow you the time you need to regroup and recharge!
- Let your assets speak for themselves!
We all have gifts that are uniquely ours. We come by some naturally while others are nurtured until they bloom beautifully within us. But when we remember all the wonderful things we each hold within ourselves and the many things we have accomplished throughout the years, it is easier to keep those doubts relegated to their proper place in our lives!
While we may forget, there were those in the Bible who also found doubt to be a millstone around their neck. Gideon was one of these people who, having suffered a multitude of failures, doubted himself and even tested God, in the process. But we know that God sent an angel to Gideon who spoke words reminding him of his worth….”The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12, NIV). But even then, Gideon doubted. And again, God sent his message….3 times! First, Gideon prepared a meal for the angel which was consumed by fire when touched by the angel’s staff. Secondly, God covered the sheep skin with dew overnight while the ground around it remained dry. Thirdly, God covered the ground with dew but left the fleece dry!
God knew He had a plan for Gideon. God also knew that Gideon’s doubt would need to be banished if he were to be able to be used as an instrument of His divine will. God was patient with Gideon and so must we all be patient with ourselves. But given the opportunity, like Gideon, if we allow it, we can put the fears of doubt to rest, and by doing so, will become not just better human beings but better Christians, as well!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
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