Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days of Fear{less}: Doubt and Questioning

“To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” ― Taylor Swift 

Okay, so today, we're headed back to the original quote that started this all and we're going to talk about a slightly controversial line, "Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them." Doubt. Is it a good or bad thing? As Christians, are we allowed to doubt and question, or is that a bad thing? Let's get started. 

Sometimes in the midst of hard times, we doubt. We question matters of faith- things like "How could a loving God allow this to happen?" or "How do I know that God really exists when ______ is happening?".We allow our perception of God to be shaped by our circumstances, which aren't all that great sometimes. Sometimes when we look back at our times of doubt, we think "Wow, I shouldn't have thought that". We think less of ourselves because we doubted. We treat that period of doubt and questioning as a sin. I'd hazard a guess (with absolutely no scientific data to back me up, so don't quote me on it), that at least 75% of Christian teenagers go through a crisis of faith in middle school/high school where they question the validity of everything that they have ever been taught. And even though I'm going into the ministry and want the kids I work with to have a healthy faith life, I pray that the kids I work with will go through this time of questioning. I want to encourage them to ask questions. I want them to dig deeper. I want them to have to back up everything that they were ever taught and believe it for themselves. When I think of the strongest Christians I know, it seems like each and every one of them went through a crisis of faith. They had some doubt. They questioned. In the end, they came out stronger. So, I have to think that this doubt and questioning is okay.

I mean, look at the Bible. It is filled with stories of people that wrestled with God. Think of the book of many of these chapters deal with feelings of despair? Ecclesiastes. Job. Lamentations. What about "doubting Thomas"? The believers after Jesus died, pre-Resurrection? These are just a few circumstances in the Bible out of many. Maybe we won't get struck by lightning for doubting. Maybe these times of questioning can help us grow stronger. 

Here's the catch though: we can't use doubt as an excuse for inaction. We can't use questioning as an excuse to put off what God is telling us to do. We have to persevere through these times, and not get stuck in them. Our faith needs to be bigger than our fears. Even in the midst of this questioning, we still have to keep going through the motions. We can't use the excuse of "well, I'm doubting right now, so I'm not going to go to church". We have to fight through these times. We have to pursue faith and belief...even when we're uncertain. We can't stay in a stagnate state of "doubt and questioning". We have to work towards finding an answer. Maybe you search for answers in the Bible or through prayer. Maybe you attend a Bible Study or join a small group that will help you in this search. Maybe you find a trusted friend that you say "Hey, I'm struggling right now, can you help me?". But, whatever you do- don't give up. Don't use this time of doubt as an excuse for inactivity. Use this time as a time for learning and growth. In the midst of this, seek God and don't give up on him.

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