Doubts plague all thinking people.
And some of us, we are prone to question, and so to doubt; more than others.
But because the world loves to operate and talk as if we all know what is going on, to harbor doubts can be scary for us. It smacks of a lack of faith. It feels like we are missing something. It feels like we may be have a loose screw jangling noisily that only we can hear. So we berate ourselves and make ourselves feel worse.
But then with I read a cry like this,
Why have you forsaken me? ~ Psalm 22
and know that we who doubt are safe.
Psalm 22 has been called the Messianic Psalm, and right here is the cry from the pain-fraught, anguished soul of none other than Jesus. He cries out that God has left the scene! Jesus on the cross and felt the Father’s absence as the sin upon Christ caused the Father to turn His face away.
If you ever felt the stung of rejection.
This is what Jesus felt. For the first time. In the most awful way.
Because of you and I.
Rejection is at the root of all our doubt. It is the fuel for the “what ifs…” we utter frightened within our hearts. And all of us have felt this sting before.
We think God is all ready to reject us.
But he is the sting-remover; the One who wants to come close and apply a soothing balm to this sting that acts up and cause us to shrink back, become cynical and even paralysed us into non-action.
What if she laughs at me?What if he doesn’t believe?What if I am wrong?
More than once when journeying with people, they say at some point, “I think I am only psyching myself. I am tired of pep-talking myself…”.
I get that.
The pep talk, the one we do to remind ourselves of hope; yes it can seem pretty lame. It’s just words, and often with a stinging pain, it feels plain powerless to make any real difference. Besides, some of us just aren’t the talking kind.
But listen. We talk to ourselves all the time.
We even talk to ourselves that what we say to ourselves is useless, or useful.
It’s kind of circular and silly; or it is powerful and deserves repeating.
It really works.
Our self-doubting capabilities will kick in. So we demand some evidence -
If I am worthy, then why doesn't anyone notice?
If I am gifted, then why is my life so ordinary and I am so wrecked with pain?If I am loved, then why do I feel so miserable and weak?
I get this too.
We need to talk to ourselves.
But we need more than preppy, happy, ’clappy’ shorthand ways of describing life. We need more than clichés.
This means it is pretty important that we talk to ourselves properly.
Often helped with a journal.
If you want to have a great conversation that unearths truth and sends light exploding in strange corners of your soul.
If you want to be real and authentic; which is required for intimacy and communion.
If you want to feel free and lighter.
If you want to sense a trajectory to your life.
Then talk to yourself properly.
Don’t stuff your feelings or ignore your fears. Don’t kick those doubts or trash those tuggings.
If you reject yourself, you make yourself more prone to seeing rejection in others’ responses to you.
Even more – rejecting yourself is an affront to the God who made you.
This is the God who declared each of us fearfully and wonderfully made. There is no mistake or manufacture fault from His point of view. But it's so hard to believe this when we live in a world that defies this truth and trample upon it in a thousand ways; demanding that we prove our worth and earn our space here. Founder of evolutionary biology Richard Dawkins recently tweeted that couples should simply abort their babies because it's immoral to give birth to a Down Syndrome's kid. That's saying a lot - and talk like this floats around in the air we breathe in each day. It can get hard to talk ourselves to a place of security.
This is why, the self-talk must give way to silence – when we listen to God talk.
Whether we intentionally shut up and read Scripture, and scrawl sightings.
Whether we sit quiet and wait.
Whether we walk in the great world he made and let bird, water, light send their echoes of delight into our souls.
Whether we draw, doodle, make music, move or squish mud to be amazed that these hands and this body and this mind can come together and convey beauty and longing.
For in the end, we are reflectors. We reflect what we absorb.
“In the beginning was the WordAnd the Word was with GodAnd the Word was God…Through Him all things were made;Without him nothing was made that has been made.In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”
~ John 1v1-4
The Word that's always been is what forms and makes and shapes. The Word gives definition and stirs to life. There is the promise here that we can be set alight by this Word that gives life.
If we ever hope to have some light on our lives, the most important self-talk is to remind ourselves to go to the Word, the Life, the Light.
For a little more dissecting, here's the good, bad and ugly of doubts .