On Faith and Doubt

I’ve shared a couple of times in recent weeks that God has asked me to have faith for some things that seem highly improbable. In a number of verses in the Bible (James 1:6-7, for example), it says to ask in faith, without doubt, and you will have what you ask for. I have been doing my best to live up to those instructions.

However, it seems no matter how hard I try, little questions often sneak into my mind. “Did God really promise…? What if you got it wrong? Do you seriously believe God can/will do THAT? For YOU?” Each time these thoughts come, they bring guilt and condemnation with them. The one thing God has asked me to do is to believe without doubting, and I can’t even get that right!

This past Sunday at church, we had a guest speaker. There were a lot of great points in the sermon, but one thing has been stuck in my mind for the past three days. He made the comment that faith is not the absence of doubts, but confidence in the face of them. He went on to say that uncertainty of the outcome of a given situation is what makes faith possible. If we were completely certain that what we hope for would happen, there would be no need for faith.

What a freeing thought! I am not a failure because questions come to mind on occasion. I only fail to have faith if I entertain those questions and dwell on them. If I give them more room in my mind than I give to the confidence that God “will accomplish what concerns me,” then I give in to doubt.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Confidence and assurance in the face of uncertainty. We don’t see the fulfillment of God’s promises yet, and it is normal that questions will arise. Every person mentioned in Hebrews 11 – the “Hall of Faith” – asked God questions on numerous occasions. Questions don’t equal sin or disqualify us from receiving the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Some teachers might tell you that if you only had enough faith, life would be easy and God would have answered your prayers by now. That is a load of rubbish. God never promised an easy life to anyone who chose to follow Him. In fact, in many cases, it was the opposite. What He did promise was that He would be with us, that He would never stop loving us, and that His words are true no matter what! (There are many other promises in His Word, so go read the Bible to find more.)

Whatever it is you’re hoping and praying for today, have faith. Don’t choose to live with the doubts that try to fill your mind. Acknowledge them, remind them of the awesome power of the God Who loves you, and send them on their way.

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Fabulous!

As I sit down to write this, it’s nearly 4pm in Ireland, and I am still wearing my pajamas… Because let’s face it, if you don’t have to leave your house on a cold and rainy day in Ireland, there is no good reason to get out of your cozy, warm pajamas.

 Despite my attire, during a conversation with a friend just a bit ago, I referred to myself as a fabulous woman, and I actually meant it! (If that sounds prideful, check out last week’s post.) Of course, I have days and moments of feeling less than fabulous, but for the most part, I am happy with who I am and how I look. Like many people on the planet, I want to lose weight, but the reason is to be healthier, not because I dislike the way I look. I just got my hair cut and colored it, not because I think it makes me look more beautiful, but because it was time for a change – and I wasn’t particularly happy with the last cut I got.

For the most part, I am comfortable in my own skin. There are things I’d like to change, but none of them make me feel I’m less valuable now than I will be when I achieve the changes. The main times I begin to dislike who I am or how I look are the times when I compare myself to someone else… or more importantly begin to wonder what others think when they notice me, or even IF they notice me.

A good friend told me recently that I need to wonder less and wonder more… It sounds confusing, but she was right. I need to wonder (think) less about what some people might think of me and wonder (be in awe) more at what God thinks of me and the incredible things He is doing in my life.  

When was the last time that you experienced the wonder of the world around you, the God Who created it all, and the fact that He thinks you’re fabulous? Do you spend too much time thinking and wondering about what ‘so-and-so’ might be thinking about you? Could you tell yourself you’re “fabulous” and mean it?

The thing about being comfortable in your own skin and confident in who you are, is that the less it matters that people notice you and think you’re special, the more they will. Confidence is beautiful, and it will draw people to you. The trick is in not worrying about who is taking notice of you. Be confident, know you are loved, and focus on noticing others and helping them know they are loved. You are fantastic, and as you accept that and help others to see that they are fantastic too, your true beauty will shine brighter than you can imagine!