“When doubts come, and they will, beware of taking them too seriously.” – Your Truly
Doubt is probably not usually listed as one of your primary villains in life, but it should be. This little demon is so subtle that I don’t even know what to categorize it as. A feeling? A thought? An instinct?
Is it emotional or rational? Be careful answering too quickly. I’ve seen it come initially as an emotion, and then quickly rationalized in order to justify feeling it. And I’ve seen it come initially through a logical thought process, only to be defended quite emotionally when challenged with more logic.
Have you heard of homeostasis? It is something in your brain and body that is constantly at work to keep things the way they are. I sometimes wonder if doubt is as much physical as anything else.
Whatever it is, it is potentially insidious, and is certainly responsible for gazillions of hours of people’s attention every single day.
People have a love-hate relationship with doubt, too, so it is very difficult to want it to just go away forever. Add to that the legitimate role that doubt can play in life when properly utilized and you have the perfect backdrop for a conspiracy to sabotage the potential of your life and freeze you in your tracks (at least in any meaningful way).
- The Incessant Doubter – This person has the finely tuned gift of locating the unarguably significant obstacle in any idea, disguising his desire for the status quo under a cloak of “wisdom”.
- The Last-Minute Doubter – This person likes to see themselves as fearless and bold, and will go through all the motions that lead up to the daring leap of faith, but at the last minute, can not go through with it because of some glaring issue that “only just came clear”.
- The Doubting Dead – This person has become so assaulted by the inevitable doubts that arise with any plan whatsoever, that they have decided to avoid it’s dark discouragement by never doing anything of significant risk again. These doubters are invisible, since they need not lodge their doubts about anything they might do, because they are not doing anything.
- The Selective Doubter – This person only mentions the doubts they have concerning other people’s plans or ideas that they themselves are uncomfortable with, or just too ego-driven to let any major course of action be anyone’s idea but their own.
- The Self-Doubter – This person, under the guise of humility, spends far too much time looking for every possible reason to convict themselves of some impure motive, some disqualifying characteristic or past mistake, and gets frozen from action in the name of being “self-aware”.
- The “Honest” Doubter – This person never wants to be seen as the reason that a plan, his own or someone else’s, is not pursued. So when he is the reason, he puts forth doubts as deal-breakers, and hides behind some form of the words, “I’m just sayin…”. They are never just sayin…
Can you think of others?
We have to master doubt. Doubt should be something that we use to refine plans, it should not use us to stop us from our plans.
You can spot the person who knows how to do this by how they present their doubts. Two different people can say the same words (“You know, I think that Jim Bob is going to have a tough time signing on to that,” or “Wow, that is going to cost a lot of money we don’t have”), and one means it as an end to the conversation, and the other means it as a legitimate obstacle that needs some conversation, brainstorming, idea-producing, and action.
It’s all in the tone of voice, and that tone comes from the intent in your spirit, and that spirit comes from your ability to be a “believer” or not, and that belief is proven genuine by your faith, and your faith is not real unless it results in bold action, and that action is impossible without confronting and mastering doubt.
It seems to me that Jesus didn’t take people’s doubt too seriously. He wants us to consider the validity of it’s source (Mt 4:31), and he suggests that it’s a troubling and unnecessary nuisance (Lk 24:28), and even challenges us to be like the ones who have overcome it (John 20:27-29).
But he never, ever made it a condition of followership. Even after he was resurrected from the dead, and he was meeting with his closest and most committed allies, scripture notes that these who had least reason to, doubted (Mt 28:17).
Jesus doesn’t even address it, rather he immediately pronounces onto these doubting disciples the most important commission that can be pronounced on anyone (Mt 28:18-20), and they ended up being world changers whose mission is still on the move today.
Beware of taking your doubts too seriously.