This morning I woke up to a brand new batch of snow covering the mountains just outside my window. As I lay in my bed that few extra minutes and looked at that heavy blanket of white, I listened to our heater kick on and pulled the covers up closer to my neck. The fourfold layer of blankets weighed heavy on me, but it felt good.
But as I lay there contemplating the week ahead, another heavy blanket descended upon me. Not a blanket of warmth or softness, but the suffocating blanket of doubt. I had things to do this week, things I had felt strongly about and called to do. But suddenly, just at the starting line of my journey, I doubted.
I doubted the calling. I doubted the significance of the task. I doubted if I had heard God correctly on this one. I doubted my ability. Then it got worse. I doubted my intelligence, my sanity, my gifts.
Knowing that if I lay in that bed and snuggled too long in that blanket of doubt it would soon weigh so heavily upon me that I wouldn't be able to climb out from under it, I got up.
I struggle with doubt a lot lately. Why? Because I'm in one of those times when I feel very strongly that God has called me to a very specific thing that requires a lot of "one step in front of another" type activity. It's one of those things that's not just a walk in the park; it's an uphill hike all the way. Sure, it brings me joy, it's fulfilling and I know (or I'm pretty sure?) that it's a journey I'm supposed to be taking. But, as Miley Cyrus (or is it Hannah Montana?) has been crooning these days, "It's a climb!"
Second-guessing, fear, shakiness, despondence, a spirit of fainting - call it what you will, doubt is no friend on the trail. It doesn't move you forward, but leaves you standing still in your tracks. Regret, the other side of the same worthless coin, may actually cause you to move backwards. But doubt just leaves you shaking in your boots, planted in the middle of the path.
And the thing about doubt is that, like that heavy blanket that threatened to keep me in my bed this morning, the longer it lingers, the longer you linger. It gets harder and harder to move on when you entertain doubt.
I knew that if I wrapped myself in my doubts this morning I 'd wear them all day long like a Snuggly. I've done that before, haven't you? Taken that blanket of doubt and cut sleeves into it so you could wear it like a piece of clothing? I'm sorry, but there's just something not right about a blanket with sleeves in it to me and there's definitely something not right about choosing a shade of doubt to fit your home decor and getting comfortable in it.
Here's the thing, though. It's not enough to just throw my doubts to the wind. They're likely to just whip around and hit me in the backside if I do that! I need to replace them with something lightweight, appropriate for a journey, sturdy, and beautiful. I thought maybe this would do the trick:
I will give Thee thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to Thee before the gods.
I will bow down toward Thy holy temple,
And give thanks to Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth;
For Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name.
On the day I called Thou didst answer me;
Thou didst make me bold with strength in my soul.
(Psalm 138:1-3, NASB, italics mine)
Isaiah 61:3 says to replace the heavy cloak of doubt with the beautiful garments of praise. Doubt is just a droning and useless conversation with the enemy. He'll keep your ear as long as you give it to him and he'll give you one ridiculous reason after another to doubt the call of God, the promises of God, the provision of God, the love of God, the forgiveness of God, you name it. But if we close our ears to Satan's nasty diatribe and fill the airwaves with praises for our wonderful Lord instead, the doubt will eventually lift and truth will again illuminate the path. And you can put one foot in front of the other and move on.
I'm moving on!
What about you? What ungodly emotion keeps you standing still in your tracks? What conversation does the enemy engage you in that keeps you from moving forward? I hope your day is filled with hope and purpose, dear friend. Move on!
Labels: Christian walk, narrow path, Perspective