6 Steps to Handling Doubt
A friend recently reached out to me with the following question: “How do you handle fading faith.” Luckily for her, I had recently gone through a season where I struggled with increasing doubts and unbelief (fading faith) regarding a promise God made to me. So here goes, 6 steps to handling doubt.
- Be self-aware. Label your feelings.
- Don’t ignore it. Acknowledge that you are struggling.
- Be honest. Talk to God about your feelings, doubts and unbelief.
- Be open. Listen as God speaks to you or acts to address your concerns.
- Be filled with gratitude. Even though the promise has yet to come, continue to give thanks to God.
- Lean on your community. Have godly friends who are able to pray and encourage you.
Application: A Promise Made…
In December 2019, God made me a promise which birthed a desire for something that, over the years, I had placed on the backburner of my life plans. Although I was skeptical, I told God “I don’t want to get my hopes up but if You say so, let it come to pass.”
In many ways, I felt like the Shunammite woman of 2 Kings 4:8-37 who, because of her kindness to God’s prophet, was gifted a son. This was a son the woman longed for but hadn’t voiced. Even when she is promised the child, her first response was “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.” In essence, don’t let me start having faith only for nothing to come of it.
For the months that ensued, I felt certain that I could see how God intended to fulfill that promise. However, everything changed when, at the peak of things, everything I had banked on started to die. The more I struggled to keep things afloat, the more things died. Eventually, everything that I had poured into, in obedience, came to a standstill.
To say I was angry about the situation was putting it mildly. I even went through a cycle of depression. The only thing that kept me going was that I kept so busy during the days that at nights all I could do was fall into an exhausted sleep. My waning faith sucked my joy slowly as I lost the energy to care about much.
Don’t ignore it…
Despite all of this, each night I went before God and kept my focus off the matter at hand. I talked to Him about everything else but the one issue that was slowly destroying my trust in Him. I fooled myself, not Him.
One night, I went into my time with God, determined to pretend like nothing was wrong. As I sat before Him, He told that I should let my focus remain on the worship song that I was listening to. As I listened, involuntary tears started streaming down my face. I lifted my hand to stem the flow when I head Him say clearly “Tell me what is troubling you. I am here.” And guys, between sobbing breaths, boy did I talk!
In pouring out, I expressed my anger towards God and my frustration about the entire situation and highlighted my growing unbelief that He would deliver on His promise. Like the Shunammite woman I cried a broken version of “Did I ask for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?”
God said not one word in His defense as I hopelessly raged at Him. When I was spent, but lighter, He spoke and reminded me of all the times He had delivered on His promises, above and beyond what I could hope for. Finally, He told me: “Stay the course. Wait. Don’t chase the promise.”
Then, three consecutive nights He spoke to me through His Word.
And He wasn’t done… Later that week, I landed on the sermon that was preached the day God made me the promise (I still don’t know how that happened). Surprise, surprise, the title of the sermon was Fading Faith. As I watched, I was overcome with emotions as through it, God gave me a tangible, visual and personal miracle in the season I most needed it. That message was for me. The promise He made to me hasn’t yet been fulfilled but He gave me what I needed to keep believing and trusting Him.
Be filled with gratitude…
No matter how you are feeling, keep praising and worshipping God. Even when you don’t see what He has promised, He is still worthy of your praises.
Lean on your community…
The truth is, we are not meant to do these things alone. When we fly solo and doubts and unbelief swamp us, it is incredibly hard to swim. Throughout all this, I had two friends who have been towers of support and encouragement when I most needed it. They prayed me up. They slapped me when I needed to come back to reality. But most importantly, they represented a loyal and trustworthy community that I could lean on.
The Point? I assure you there is one… 🙂
Fading faith (doubt or unbelief) occurs because of loss. This loss can be because our expectations and timelines are not met (we are chasing the promise) or because of something that had nothing to do with us and our actions.
What is critical is how we react despite the loss. We have to be self-aware and willing to face it, knowing that God is not mad when we doubt Him. These are perfect opportunities for us to learn to lean on His strength and reside in His peace. But we have to be honest with Him and open our hearts to the methods He uses to address our concerns. Lastly, we must continue to praise Him. We may not know when the promise will be fulfilled but we can be certain that He has delivered before and is worthy of our praises.
Thank you for stopping by and reading. I would love to hear from you.
Tell me about a situation in which you struggled with unbelief or doubts regarding God’s promises to you. I would love to pray with you. 🙂
Do you have a question you would like me to write a post about? Drop me an email. I would love to connect with you!
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favour and give you peace” – Numbers 6: 23-26
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I am a dynamic young lady who loves the Lord and seek to have a joy that no one can take away. My all-time favourite thing to do is gaining discoveries by design from My Father during our time each day. Reading, learning and trying new things falls behind in a close second place. My dream is to use my God-given talents to positively impact as many people as possible. As a proud Wolmerian, with a zest for life, I adhere to the “Age Quod Agis” motto in that whatsoever I do, I always do it to the best of my ability.
😀 what a timely word! Recently (these past couple days) I have been wrestling (and I still am) with fading faith as well despite God’s words of comfort along the way. And then boom! this blog post as well. 😀 Thanks for these steps! What I do from time to time is to go over His promises as well. Sooo, yeah 🙂 keep being a ‘channel’ for His words.
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Going over His promises is certainly another good tip! Sometimes in my doubting seasons He tends to tell me to read back through my journal and look back at all His promises that are specific to me or He will take me down memory lane and remind me of another season where I doubted but He came through. God is truly incredible!
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