The Problem with Doubt


But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:6 [NIV]


This past year, I embraced three new things that I felt the Lord was prompting me to do: focus on my health, homeschool my two girls, and write again. Of those three, writing has been the hardest thing to feel I’m good at. When I was invited to be apart of the Created Woman writing team this past summer, I quickly said yes. I was so naïve, and unprepared for the practice and patience this assignment would require.

You see, I just ended my career as a makeup artist, a job that spanned the majority of my adulthood. I not only enjoyed my experience as a makeup artist, I felt like I was really good at it. Now that I’m in new territory as a writer, my initial responses to things like writer’s block and long stares at my computer screen are frustration and doubt. I wonder, did I really hear from God to return to writing?

It’s common for Christians to have doubt. Doubt is part of our faith journey. It’s when we worry or focus too much energy on our doubt that it can become a problem.

Dr. Alister McGrath, a Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education at King’s College of London wrote,

“The more you worry about your doubts, the less you will look to God. Gradually, those vital links with the life-giving grace of God will wither –and your spiritual life will wither and shrivel. Doubt will become unbelief –because you allowed it.”

As mentioned earlier, doubt is not a bad thing to have. We just have to turn away from doubt and believe. This reminds me of the story of one of the last recorded encounters between Jesus and his disciple, Thomas. Thomas doubted the resurrection of Jesus even when the other disciples told him they saw the Lord. Soon after, Jesus visited his disciples again and showed Thomas proof of his resurrection. In addition, Jesus told Thomas to “stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27, NIV) Thomas no longer doubted that Jesus was alive after this special encounter with Him.

I love that Jesus did not rebuke Thomas or shame him for having doubt though Thomas was one of his own disciples. This story shows me that any follower of Christ can lack faith at times. However, when we recognize it happening to us, we must turn our attention away from doubt and seek God. It’s in His presence, that we can believe all things are possible. Though I can’t physically see, touch, or hear Christ talking to me as in the story of Thomas, I know Christ lives inside of me when I was saved because the Bible tells me so. Because of this truth, I don't have to travel far to find Him.

So how do we spend time with God?  There are several ways. One way is by spending time alone with Him in prayer and reflection whether at home or outside in nature. As a homeschool mom, I am rarely alone at home so my time with God is best enjoyed early in the day before anyone in my household wakes up, or when I go for my morning run. Those are the best ways I can have uninterrupted time to pray and listen (most important thing!) to the Lord when I choose to. Of course, we do not always have to be alone to be in God’s presence. God resides in the company of other believers, most commonly in His church. This God designed community was created to bring faith, love, and hope to His children.

I know now that this season is more about strengthening my faith muscles than it is about strengthening my body or being a good writer. So the next time I am stuck in writing, I must simply remind myself to stop and seek God for help. I’m pretty sure though that God’s advice will be to listen to what my editor always tells me to do, which is “just keep writing…keep writing.”

  1. Would I describe my current thought life as helpful or hurtful to my faith?  
  2. Do I seek God's presence every day?  If not, what practical action step can help me make time for Him?
  3. Is there anything that God has called me to do that I have not yet started or stopped moving forward with? If so, is the why bigger than God's calling?

Heavenly Father, thank you for desiring intimacy with us.  Help us to choose you first every day of our lives so that can grow closer to you and not slip into patterns of this world like unbelief.  We love you and praise you.  In Jesus name, Amen. 

"But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul." [Deuteronomy 4:29, NKJV]

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." [Matthew 21:21-22]