Friday, May 6, 2011

Last Train to Doubtsville...

Vacations are pretty popular this time of year.  Most people go to Europe, take a road trip, or perhaps go to a nice beach.  I would love to do all that stuff, but for many reasons, I tend to travel to a well known tourist trap. Maybe you've heard of it.  It's a happenin' little place called Doubtsville. 

The cost of staying in Doubtsville is pretty high, so I always plan to just pitch my tent outside the city limits and only go into town occasionally.  But inevitably what happens is that the more time I spend surrounded by the dizzying lights and loud blaring sounds of the bustling metropolis of Doubtsville, the more I forget about my quiet little tent.  The people in Doubtsville totally understand me.  I feel like I fit in there.  I don't have to make as many decisions.  Before I know it, I am not only a resident of the town, but they have elected me Mayor of Doubtsville.  I wear my doubt like a banner.  I am known for my doubt and disbelief.  I change my last name to Katie McDoubterson.  I am the queen of Doubtsville!!!  Bow to me minions!!!

Wow.  That got out of hand pretty quickly. *sound of tiara falling to the ground

There is a difference between doubting and questioning.

Questions can be answered, but doubts just hang around your neck like a weight that only gets heavier.

Yeah, I totally have doubts.  But if I choose to sit in that doubt I will eventually be overcome by it.  Faith and doubt aren't best friends.  They don't even smile at each other when they pass on the street.  One is repelled by the other.  If Faith shows up in Doubtsville, Faith gets to walk the plank.  And the same goes for Doubt showing up in Faithsburg (I'll stop soon, I promise).  If Doubt shows it's ugly mug in Faithsburg, the townspeople send Doubt packin' faster than you can say "Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is a sure sign of the Apocolypse". 

We're all going to experience doubt at some point in our lives.  The key is to turn that doubt 'statement', into a faith 'question'.  God is faithful to answer you when you seek Him. 

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7 NIV
We may not always get the answer we thought we wanted and it may not come in the time we wish, but God will answer our questions. 

Doubt is a slippery slope.  At times in my life where I feel far from God and I'm struggling, the last thing I need is someone or something filling my head with more doubt.  I don't need more cynicism. I don't need more sarcasm.  I don't need more fancy intellectual debates. 

I need more faith.

"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." James 1:6

I am a chronic overthinker and worrier.  I analyze things until there is nothing left but dust.  I do this because I am afraid that if I don't prepare myself or figure it all out on my  own, then I am going to get hurt or let down.  My doubt and disbelief come from my need to control.  If I can understand it intellectually, then I can feel comfortable.  If I can't, then I feel out of control and vulnerable.  My cynical side wants to protect my scarred heart from any more dents and dings.  But my faith-filled side is taking a sledgehammer to the bricks of doubt and fear built up around my heart.  When we camp out too long with doubt, disbelief, hurt, pain, unforgiveness, etc, we are setting ourselves up to lose our way back to faith.  Part of taking up our cross daily is to constantly loosen our Chuck Norris ninja death grip on doubt and fear.  Turn our doubt and disbelief into a question and release it to God to answer you in His time.  He wants you so badly to know Him.  He wants you to seek Him. He wants you to see His character.  Doubt says, "I'll believe it when I see it."  But Jesus says  in Matthew 21:21, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen." 

I need to hear this message more than anyone.  I have been struggling with doubt lately.  I have to constantly turn my million-thoughts-a-minute self conversation into something I can give to God.  I have to stop turning my "prayer time" into "Katie's incessant self talk time".  I can't hear the voice of God over the din of my own mental chatter.  During this time of transition it's been so easy to worry over every opportunity or lack thereof as if somehow my taking the time to worry is somehow going to quicken God's perfect timing.  Thank You God that I have amazing friends, family, and Tony to encourage and refocus me on the truth of God's promise.  That's what we all need.  When we become the Mayor of Doubtsville, we need people in our lives that challenge us to lose the tiara and burn the "I'm Not Sure About This" t-shirts and take the harder road of faith.  We aren't made to walk that hard road alone.  If you see a friend with the weight of doubt hanging around their neck, grab their hand and turn them back to the God that can take that burden and replace it with His burden to Love.  Love is a lighter and easier yoke than that of doubt.

Love you,

Katie McFaithfullson

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