Is Doubt the End of Faith
Posted on May 1, 2014
It’s been a busy few weeks for me. On top of working on a campaign for a client, I’m wrapping up my first book proposal to turn in very soon. Needless to say I’ve been a bit lackadaisical on the blogging front. So, today my fellow friend and writer, Karen Veenstra, is taking over the blog and she’s addressing something really crucial to our spiritual lives–doubt.
I struggled mightily to write this blog post. Not because of busyness or distraction, but because I was nervous to be as honest as I am about to be. I write to produce faithful thoughts, but my thoughts these past few months have been far from faithful; in fact, they’ve been doubtful. Can I say that as a Christian?
Unfortunately, the word doubt seems to be a shocking word in the Christian culture. We’re supposed to have it all together, have rock solid faith and make the world believe, or at least the church believe, we are madly in love with God and all is right in our world. But that’s not really the case all the time, is it? Sometimes, there are moments I want to throw it all away. Life is hard and trying to live it with faith can be even harder.
Working for a church, it’s nice that my boss also happens to be a pastor and I can pick his brain whenever I feel like it, to his delight I’m sure, so one day at lunch I started confessing to him, with trepidation, that I felt like a fake Christian. I had so much doubt in my heart that I was starting to question whether I ever gave my life to Christ in the first place. I was questioning whether I ever really loved God, because in that moment, love wasn’t there. Only fear was. I work for a church and I felt ashamed. I helped in growing a church for Christ, while my own personal growth was stinted.
My pastor told me something that provided an imagery I’d rather forget, but with a profound realization I’ll always remember.
“Karen, you need to ‘poop or get off the pot.’ If trying to be a Christian is torturing you this much, why are you bothering?”
I was shocked to hear him offer that kind of advice, and as I argued my case as to why I couldn’t “get off the pot,” he helped me realize I was stuck in the middle of two very different fears. I was too scared to fully let go of God because of what that might mean for me in eternal life, but I was too scared to fully cling to God because of what that might mean for me in this life. I had been sitting at a red light that had turned green, yellow and back to red again and I had yet to commit to a turn signal. I was petrified to even flinch.
You see I always say the right things. I always do the right things. I certainly believe the right things, and if someone came and sat me down and shared these doubts with me I would have been able to give great advice and faith-filled answers, because I know what I’m “supposed” to do. I know what I’m “supposed” to believe. But the longest stretch of highway is between your head and heart and I’ve been sitting at that red light in between the two for years now. It was time to make a move.
That conversation was about six weeks ago. And in that time, I knew I had a decision to make. I could make a u-turn and never look back. Or I could hit the gas pedal in search of the narrow path. I chose the latter, and although I’m still on the accelerator, I can tell you I’ve already learned a few things.
I learned I love the gifts more than the Giver. I learned I idolized this world too much and the people in it closest to me. I learned I want to control the inevitable things in life and that in order to have control one must actually relinquish it. I learned that my biggest fears could very well come true, but that doesn’t mean God’s not good. And most importantly, I learned that having doubts is not a lack of faith, rather a builder of one.
Pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChuch.tv put it this way,
“Some people argue that spiritual doubt is the end of all faith. I’d argue that spiritual doubt is the beginning of a deep, strong and rock solid faith.”
One of Jesus’ disciple’s, Thomas had a bad rap. He has been forever nicknamed as “Doubting Thomas.” Not too long ago I would have tagged that as an unfortunate epithet. But now I find it quite endearing. See, Thomas was open and honest about his doubts. Instead of hiding it and claiming the belief of Jesus’ resurrection because “everyone else saw him,” Thomas wanted to see Jesus for himself. That takes guts. It takes faith to ask Jesus to meet you where you are. And you know what? He did. And he will for us too.
Are you having doubts? Are you afraid of what those doubts might mean? I would encourage you to think of your doubts as a faith builder, not a faith shaker. I would encourage you to dig deeper into your doubts. I would encourage you to stay on the pot…
Just don’t forget to flush.
I am a born and raised Jersey-girl! Married for almost three years to my amazing Husband Adam, we reside in Northern New Jersey with our beagle, Maggie, while I work full-time in ministry for LiquidChurch.com, a non-denominational Christian Church in the heart of Northern & Central New Jersey. In 2010 I graduated from Monmouth University with a Journalism degree and have a passion for writing, for bringing hope into the struggles of our everyday lives. Besides writing and my family, my other passions include all sports, particularly the New York Yankees. I also have a special love for Derek Jeter and the beach is my heaven on earth. My dream is to be a mother and an author. My blog, Faithful Thoughts, are non-fiction posts engaging readers to think faithfully in each moment of their life, to allow them to have a “me too” moment, because as my favorite Christian author C.S. Lewis writes, “We read to know we are not alone.”