Two Anonymous Questions:
(Edited for length.)
I am a Christian. I have doubts and habitual sins. I go to church, then after a few weeks I stop and isolate myself from other people. I can’t even pray right now because every time I try, I get silent and blank.
I do bad stuff because I don’t have a good or useful testimony. I don’t really know what to ask you but I just want to tell this to someone. Thank you.
I’ve been trying to be saved for a long time and battling with the war inside me of fear, anxiety, doubt, unbelief, confusion.
No matter how hard I try I cannot believe Jesus died for me. It’s so stupid even writing it seems stupid. There’s this gripping fear in my stomach that makes me doubt it so much. It’s scary just knowing you know the truth but cant seem to believe it!
Dear wonderful friends:
Welcome to the world of honest Christianity.
You are one step closer to the heart of God and way further ahead than most of our misguided church.
Do you know who else feels the way you feel?
Well: pretty much every single person who has ever lived, including the most rock-solid celebrated heroes in the Bible.
Think: What you’re really saying is, “I am like every other human being in the history of the world.”
Let’s not be so hard on ourselves — and don’t be hard on yourself for being hard on yourself, yeah?
Everyone at some point in their life doubts God, His Word, His Son, and themselves. Not to mention: they also doubt their spouses, society, the nation, their emotions, careers, friends, family, and the direction of humanity.
Everyone struggles: and it does NOT mean you’re a bad person or that something is wrong with you and it especially does not mean that you’re sinning.
God doesn’t expect you to be pain-free, question-free, and doubt-free in order to be a “good Christian.” He also doesn’t promise you that kind of life. There will be many dark seasons of the soul, and some (like myself) will experience this more than others.
As I’ve said before: What matters is not the moment of defeat and darkness, but the moment right after.
It’s possible that you will constantly feel at war with yourself, but what’s important is what you choose to do in this war. You can: deny it, run from it, numb it, guilt-trip it, beat yourself up, shut yourself down, or party it away.
Or you can forget all those manmade manipulative ways — and with your single shred of shriveled up belief, put your little bit of hope in God and hold on. Even that tiny mustard seed faith can move impossible mountains.
The truth is that many Christians for many, many days are just barely hanging on, and that’s okay.
Maybe the greatest Christian woman in the world, Mother Teresa, didn’t hear from God for forty long years. But she held on and kept serving. A lot of us don’t hear from God for a long time, but no one should ever make you feel bad for it. Some of us think God can’t handle us, but He can and He does.
I think we need to be free of some obligatory church-driven anxiety that we must fit a certain Christian-mold “or else” — because the very point of God’s grace is that He loves you in spite of you. He loves you because that’s who He is, and nothing in you can change that in Him.
Breathe out, relax, and wrap your brain around the wide wiggle room that God calls grace. God understands: and it’s only this unchanging love that will motivate you for the very next step towards Him. God is in love with you before, during, and after that whole stumbling process, regardless of what you think of Him or yourself.
If the only thing you bring to the table is your crazy messed up neurotic twitchy self: Jesus totally welcomes you into his arms. You’ll find in his kingdom just as many other broken souls who are being restored daily by a loving, merciful God.
Please don’t gloss over the simple truth: He gives you purpose, a destiny, a Spirit of courage and power and love, a healed heart, a laughter, a joy, a wholeness, and a strength that outweighs your circumstances. All this in exchange for your sin, sorrow, and pain by his life given up on the cross: and that’s a pretty good deal.
I know this is a daily fight, and maybe nothing I wrote here will reach you today. That’s okay, too. You might have heard this kind of encouragement before and you nodded, but it never crept into the crevices of your soul.
This is why your honesty is the first step in the right direction. This is the part where you might have to confront some hard ugly things about yourself, but it’s also where Jesus can begin his renovation in your heart and to free you from the lies you’ve believed. This is where you begin to become the real thing: by simply saying you’re broken and recognizing the need for a healer.
Here is where I envy your journey, because you’re at the verge of a breakthrough where faith can deepen its roots and your struggle can actually fortify you for the next storm. It is a struggle, it takes time, it takes tears and sweat and nights of solitude: but it’s all taking you somewhere. Ride that wave to Him.