If you ask me at any given time what my plans for my future are, I will probably outline a 5-year plan for you. Right now, I would tell you that I plan to finish my graduate studies (which will take me 4 more years), and then I am going to travel Europe for a month before coming back to the states to begin working my full-time job. I know that so many things could change these plans, and I hold very loosely to them. I just like to dream, so I dream about my future.
Now, the fact that I am always dreaming up plans for myself is no surprise to me. I am a dreamer at heart. It’s likely why I majored in philosophy and psychology when getting my bachelors. It is why I love hypotheticals and what-ifs. One of my sins, however, is that I often let this what-if mentality get in the way of my faith.
The biggest hypothetical I have had to grapple with over the years is wondering if I am a Christian or if I am playing “dress up” with other people who really do know God. I have seen God work in my life many times, but in my sinfulness, I doubt Him. We are told to not doubt. In doubting we are easily drawn astray from God. Doubting causes us to be tossed to and fro, and causes us to have little confidence in God:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting,
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea
that is driven and tossed by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
So how can this be overcome? How can we see victory over our doubt? I have found, as many Godly women have suggested, to trust not in my own understanding, but in Him alone.
When I feel the doubt creeping in, I ask God for faith and wisdom:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.”
When I feel the doubt creeping in, I go on, acting as a child of God, praising His great and glorious name:
pray without ceasing;
in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
When I feel the doubt creeping in, I love and serve His people,
repent of my sin, and pray:
“Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor;
not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”
I have found time and time again, that when I am caught in a season of doubt, if I persevere in doing the things God has called me to do, confidence always returns, and I grow to be more confident in my faith than I was before.
Now I praise God because this doubt in my identity has become much easier to fight and have victory over as time has gone on. Does that mean I never doubt anything? No. I frequently doubt and find myself crying out to God “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). But the key is that when I ask God to strengthen my faith, I continue to take steps in obedience, looking to see God provide. I don’t let myself sit in the hypotheticals, what-ifs, and doubts. I simply choose to act despite their presence. And God is good. He is so good that when I act rather than allowing myself to sit in my questions, I find He always provides whatever it is I need.
So, what is the bottom line here?
It is to act in obedience.
Whether you are in a season of doubting what God has done in your life, or you are simply caught up in negative hypotheticals of serving, go on in obedience to God always, and serve Him. Trust not in your own mind, but walk in the promises of God:
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”