Living with Doubt
From the book Life Coach/ Christ Coach:
…Well, I’m not sure that having doubt automatically makes us weak. It makes us human and mortal and fallible. There is a great line by John Wesley, where he says:
“I went to America to convert the Indians, but O! who shall convert Me?!…..I have a fair summer religion, I can talk well…and believe myself, while no danger is near, but let death look me in the face and my spirit is troubled.
This is great stuff, and I love the line about having a summer religion. Like a summer romance or cupboard love, it’s something that can be here today and gone tomorrow. Wesley recognizes this point and is honest in his assessment of his mortal failings.
We know that having doubts in our life and in our personal faith is not as unusual as you might have been led to believe. Mother Theresa herself, in her private diaries, expressed doubts in her faith. Wesley goes on to say
“O! Who will deliver me from this fear of death? What Shall I do? Where shall I fly from it? Should I fight against it by thinking, or by not thinking of it? A wise man advised me…’Be still and go on.” He muses that it may be his cross, and something that can be used to keep him humble and keep all his good resolutions.
To simply acknowledge the fear and the doubt does not make us sinful, it means we are human. To acknowledge doubts in our lives is part of the human condition…Own your doubt and don’t let it consume you.
From Life Coach/ Christ Coach:
Much is written about having free will. There is a wonderful film, Lawrence of Arabia, that stands on the theme that Nothing is Written. In the film, Lawrence finds that he may be able to rewrite the script that has been laid out in Arabia where even matters of life and death are in the hands of those who use their free will and their abilities to find success.
Naturally, as one would expect, the pitfalls or downside of the life where we have free will comes into play with Lawrence in this complex story. But in the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, those of us who tout our free will ‘mock thee when we do not fear’ and of free will, Tennyson says ‘our wills are ours, to make them thine.’
I think the idea of freedom and free will are things that people have somehow confused in their minds in recent days. When Nelson Mandela, trapped in a prison cell during apartheid, spoke of his idea of freedom, it is a very different thing from those who consider simple acts of kindness and decency to others in the community as somehow burdens upon our freedoms.
Freedom, as many of us know, can be held precious when people are mindful of others who have truly lost their freedoms. For those souls, they can better appreciate the inner peace of having a free will. And the irony is that those who are locked behind prison bars may somehow have more freedom of thought than the one who is free to move about, yet remains trapped with a mind full of fear and darkness. Free will is something that we know is precious and we must be thankful each day for our own truly free will.
From Life Coach/ Christ Coach:
Charles Kingsley, the minister and author, speaks of the great value in our lives of close and enduring friendships. Kingsley says, “ We must give and forgive, live and let live…We must hope all things, believe all things, endure all things rather than lose that most precious of all earthly possessions-a trusty friend. And a friend once won, need never be lost…”
In my Growing Group for self-esteem enhancement, we talk of the value of close friends to grow our own faith and strength and belief in ourselves throughout our lifetime. That is the message -that some of the treasures we build up here on earth that come without a price….. …. These are the things that deep friendship gives us, the strength to carry on, even when there is nothing left but to endure.
Mantra; This week, I will acknowledge the doubts I have had in my life. They will not consume me, but I can own up to having doubts as all human beings do. I will acknowledge the wonderful possibilities of having free will, and at the same time acknowledge the awesome responsibilities it brings to me as a concerned citizen and human who lives in a society with others that need help and support. And finally, thinking of the obligations I have to others, I’m also reminded of the great strengths I have found in lasting friendships and how much that means to enrich and enhance my life.