Dealing with Doubt

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”‭‭John‬ ‭14:1-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Doubt has the ability to creep into the hearts of the most committed. Thomas, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, dealt with doubt in his relationship with the Lord. And sometimes we as Christians wrestle with doubt in our faith walk, but in today’s post I want to share some ways to overcome it.

Jesus explained to his disciples on multiple occasions how he would be crucified and rise again. But Thomas wasn’t certain. He had some doubts about his knowledge of what to do next. 

Have you ever doubted yourself? Have you ever been uncertain about your future, career, or your relationships? We’ve all had doubts at some point in our lives. Here are some tips to help you deal with doubts. 

Be clear about your doubts. 

Thomas expressed some details about his uncertainties but he didn’t accurately clarify his doubt. He was unsure about where Jesus was going and how to get there, but he didn’t clearly express his personal doubts. He doubted his ability to recall the teachings and follow through on the plan. 

If you’re having doubts, here’s a definition of doubt to help you get started clarifying your feelings. 
Doubt: a feeling of uncertainty, lack of conviction, or lack of confidence.

Now that you have a definition, ask yourself “What is making me uncertain? Why do I lack conviction? Why am I not confident?” Then, express it in one sentence. 

Get some help. 

Thomas did the right thing by talking to Jesus. Jesus was the one person who had the plan, and all of the answers. When you have doubts, it’s important to get the right help from the right people. I’ll admit, venting your frustrations may make you feel good, but venting to the wrong people doesn’t address your doubts. 

So, my advice is to go to the source. Go to the person you’re accountable to in the situation. Express your doubts and ask for their help. I have one word of caution though: go to them alone. Here’s why; Thomas expressed his uncertainty out loud in front of the other disciples and it spread. Look at verses 7-8. 

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:7-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Thomas’s doubt has spread to Philip who then expresses his uncertainty. Doubt can grow and gain ground in a group like weeds. I think they call it “sowing seeds of doubt.” Don’t be that person. Instead, go to source alone and give them an opportunity to help you overcome your doubts. 

Keep an open mind. 

This last tip is critical because your attitudes toward your doubts can be your biggest obstacle. Your faith can move mountains but your doubt can create them. 

Here’s what I mean by “keep an open mind.”

“The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
‭‭John‬ ‭20:25‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

In this verse, Thomas refused to believe. He basically built a mountain of doubt and said only an earth shaking miraculous revelation could move it. If you’ve already made up your mind and put stipulations on your doubt as Thomas did, no amount of talking will help you. 

Thomas could’ve shared in the joy of the resurrection of Jesus with his fellow disciples sooner if he was more open minded. Instead, he held fast to his doubt until he was confronted by Jesus. 

“And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
‭‭John‬ ‭20:26-29‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Seeing Jesus put all of Thomas’s doubts to rest. He was convinced and affirmed his belief by praising Jesus as Lord and God. Even so, Thomas forfeited a blessing of faith. Jesus told Thomas “because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Don’t allow doubt to hinder your blessings. Doubt can sap your energy and steal your joy. Doubt can make you stagnant, afraid to step out in faith. Doubt can cause you to miss opportunities because you were too uncertain to seize the day. 

I hope this post helps you strategically overcome your doubts.

Say Yes to No. Here’s how.

Here’s a great post about saying Yes to No. Every busy person needs to read this.

Fashion Alumni

Remember the anti-drug ad campaign, turned catch phrase, in the late 80’s and early 90’s “Just say no!”? It went viral!

The message of  NO was empowering. It was a celebratory mantra promoting self-worth and a direct challenge to protect your future.

Today, NO is still a valid answer to issues that threaten our futures. The message of NO can be just as empowering today and can help you stay focused on reaching the goals that are most critical to your livelihood.

Here are 7 things you should say no to:

1. Say NO to time stealers. Some people will distract you simply to get you off your game. It makes them uncomfortable when you’re succeeding and surpassing their efforts. Stay focused.

2. Say NO to time wasters. Some things don’t deserve your time or attention. If it’s not critical to your current goal, skip it.

3. Say NO to…

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Find your wilderness

“However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.”‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:15-16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
In Luke chapter 5, Jesus healed two lepers and told them not to tell anyone. The Bible says “However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.” All of a sudden, Jesus’ ministry work became more demanding. 

Can you imagine what it’s like to personally minister to a multitude of people? The best example I could come up with is from my days working fast food in college. 

In college, I worked at an Arby’s restaurant that was located two blocks away from Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn University. On football game days, all five registers would be opened with all five lines stretching out of the lobby and through the opened double doors. The people just kept on coming. It was stressful, demanding work being pressed by such a large crowd. At the end of the day I was drained and fatigued. 

What do you do when life just keeps on coming? How do you handle the stress and fatigue? Jesus gives us the answer: withdraw and pray. 

We all need to withdraw and rest our bodies to help with physical fatigue. But we also need to withdraw our minds, hearts, souls, and spirits through prayer to help us deal with other forms of fatigue. Here are a few examples:

Decision fatigue – the mind is so overworked making decisions you either choose not to make a decision or all your decisions are automatically “no”. 

Emotional fatigue – your heart has experienced so many intense emotions (joy, anger, happiness, pain) that you’ve become numb and can’t empathize with others. 

Social fatigue – your mind is so overworked trying to fulfill all of your social roles (spouse, parent, employee, parishioner, neighbor) that you begin to act out of character at the wrong times. 

Sensory fatigue – you’ve been so bombarded with images, videos, sounds, and smells that you become annoyed by the hum of the motor on your refrigerator. 

Spiritual fatigue – you’ve wrestled with the devil and yourself so long in an attempt to live right that you’ve decided church isn’t working, and you’re just gonna let yourself go this weekend. You justify it by saying “I’ve been good so I deserve it.”

Prolonged exposure to these types of fatigue can lead you to snap on your kids, leave your spouse, quit your job, curse out your friends, quit your ministry, leave your church, or worse. 

The best way to respond to this fatigue is to withdraw and pray. Find or create your own personal wilderness where you can be alone with God. Get away from the noise and distractions so you can let God resettle you and recharge your batteries. 

My wilderness is my porch. That’s where I get alone with God to pray, think, and strategize. Sometimes I have to create a wilderness when I’m in public places by putting on my earphones with worship music, classical, or soft instrumental jazz. 

Let me encourage you to find your wilderness. Get alone with God. Let him help you process all of the issues of your life. He will give you to strength to move forward.