{Doubting Doubt}

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“Once you leave the cow path, the unpredictable territory is full of life. True, you cannot always see where you are putting your feet. This means you can no longer afford to stay unconscious. You can no longer count on the beat-down red dirt path making all your choices for you. Leaving it, you agree to make your own choices for a spell. You agree to become aware of each step you take, tuning all of your senses to exactly where you are and exactly what you are doing.” -{Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World}

I used to think doubt was so sinful, so awful, this thing that lingered around and only the weak would catch it like a terminal disease. I mean you can’t be a person of faith and doubt, right? Faith and doubt cancel each other out, or so I always thought. Once I began doubting doubt I began to stop spinning my wheels, my faith or lack of faith became the most authentic it’s ever been. I used to think doubt was a sign I was slipping into unbelief. Well, that’s actually true. Believe it or not, slipping into unbelief is actually a necessary thing in order to unlearn religion, to unlearn lies about God, to un-believe things about myself and my personhood in Christ that only served to kill me softly year after year after year.

I’ve had to learn to truly doubt is a wonderful thing. To truly question, to truly push into and push against the religious house I was raised in, to look deeply into the whys of how Christians treat one another and love or don’t love one another, to finally accept that all the questions really are okay to ask, in fact they are vital to my very survival.

Doubting doubt is good for the soul. Discovering that true doubt is really not the evil redheaded stepchild it’s always been made out to be. It’s like moving from soft foods to solid foods, it needs to happen for whatever faith you choose to really become your own faith. Why do you believe what you believe? Is Jesus really who they’ve said he is all along? Is church really supposed to be on the sacred societal pedestal it’s on? Why do people outside church walls seem to often be the ones who are the most honest, and the ones who care? Why do churches easily dismiss those of us whose stories get too messy? Why have we been taught it is incredibly wrong to know yourself, listen to yourself, and go after the cries of your heart? Does the Bible really say some of the things we’ve been taught that it says or means? Who are we to question or doubt they may ask….well who are we not to?

To doubt is to take seriously all that has been spoon fed to us. To doubt is to see for ourselves, to sift, to let the scales fall off, to see the real Jesus beyond all the religious rigamarole, beyond our own junk, beyond our own messes and the messes of those who have tried to point us to Him. To doubt is to come to the end of religion and to see that it really doesn’t work, to see that all the answers we thought we had were actually mirages in a desert. Once we got stranded in a desert of our own, far from all the churchy answers and churchy people, we ran to our oases of answers, only to find they weren’t really there after all.

Doubt is cleansing. Doubt clears away the cobwebs. It grants permission.

What I want you to know about doubt is this: it’s not the enemy. Let it come, let it stay for awhile, see what it has to say, engage in deep conversation with it, get to know it well, become acquainted with it, let it in, let it see you, let it hear you, let it keep coming back. You will see it is a companion leading you to peel back all the layers of religion and belief you’ve been living under, to see what’s really underneath it all.

Doubt is not what you’ve always thought it to be. You are not who you’ve always thought yourself to be or who others have always told you you are. God is not who he’s always been presented to be. Doubt is more, you are more, God is more.

{Hope Wood © 2014}

::What I Want You To Know About Doubt Link Up. This post was prompted by Alissa writes, and I’m linking with her blog today over at http://www.alissabc.com::

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