Doubts are good indicators of our beliefs and our boundaries. We doubt a slick sales pitch; our ability to run a marathon; what a stranger says. If we are open to exploring, doubt can be a great teacher, sometimes when it's so close to home a doubt can immobilize us and cause all kinds of internal turmoil. I think we've all been on both sides of that coin.
Even though what we doubt about faith might be vastly different, nearly everyone experiences periods of doubt (and I say nearly because I don't want to assume that for everyone everywhere, even though it's true of all the people I've talked with). Up front I want you to know that you're not alone and that people really can work through their doubts. The goal isn't eliminating doubt once and for all but to coming to a deeper understanding and a place of internal stability that can account for doubt. I can't guarantee what answers you'll find at the end of your search, but I'm hopeful you'll also find peace. In the meantime I'd like to offer some suggestions for how you might face your doubt.
· Have you ever dealt with doubt in the past? What was successful and what would you like to do differently this time?
· What feelings do you have when you begin exploring this area of doubt? Your feelings, too, are good indicators of your boundaries. Make note of them while trying to deal with them in a healthy way.
· What, specifically, is the source of doubt? Try to take the line of questioning as far as you can. Are there other things or beliefs this area of doubt calls in to question?
· Do you have a way to explore different sides of this issue that are not sensationalized?
· Spend time thinking about your doubts and working through the challenge but also take time off from focusing on doubt. Trying to resolve doubts can be a destabilizing time so be sure to find and do something that you enjoy, that provides you some mental and emotional space.
By it's nature, faith is believing in something that we can't see, that hasn't been fully realized. This makes the whole path of faith difficult to iron out and even to put words to because it's something experienced but it's not physical. It's like an in-between space that requires in-between language. Doubt doesn't mean that you lack faith, it means that you have questions that aren't easily answered, your faith is moving and growing with you. So wherever you're at, it's okay to be there and I hope you'll press forward.