Doubts can cripple you.
How often have you hit a golf ball straight when doubt entered your mind just as you were about to swing? How often have you avoided a conversation because you doubted your ability to navigate it? Or how often have you held back from giving yourself fully to reaching a goal, because you doubted your ability to succeed?
When doubt creeps in, it slams on the brakes. It keeps us out of the game or has us play on the fringes. In some cases, our doubts are legitimate. If we doubt a person’s intentions when they’ve shown little character in the past, that is probably wisdom at work. If we doubt our ability to deliver a speech when we spent little time preparing, we are justified in being less than confident. In many cases, however, our doubts are not based on anything substantive. Instead, they are based on unfounded fears or lack of information.
I am in the business of doubts. Extensive research indicates that the greatest factor associated with disengagement from the church is unaddressed doubts. Let doubt linger about the goodness of God after a season of pain and discouragement, and you will likely drift from Him. Wonder whether the Bible offers anything distinctive or should claim any authority over your life, and you’ll find yourself with little impetus to read its pages. I meet with people all the time who have doubts like these and are stuck because of them. I get it. Doubts do this to us. Doubts have done it to me.
But what if your doubts are of the unfounded kind? What if there are good answers to your questions and concerns that you just never sought out? If you were crippled physically, wouldn’t you do a little research to see if there was some way to alter your condition? Maybe your search would yield nothing, but it certainly would be worth the effort. Why not take the same approach to address the doubts that cripple your willingness to pursue worthwhile goals, better relationships, or a walk with God? Maybe you will find nothing. But maybe you’ll discover a breakthrough—a breakthrough that changes your perspective, maybe even your future.
It’s a New Year. Don’t let your doubts linger.
John likes to help people wrestle with the big questions of life in his work with Search Ministries. He served as a pastor in Houston for 16 years, earned his doctorate at Biola University, and is a contributing author of Reasons to Believe: Thoughtful Responses to Life’s Toughest Questions.