Sunday, March 2, 2014

Love. Mercy. Doubt. [Doubt&Devotion Link-Up V.1]

Welcome to the first edition of 
Doubt&Devotion.

Kate from The Florkens and I are so glad to have you here, sharing your heart, and engaging in conversations about doubt, devotion, and all that's in between. We hope to create a space in which the hard parts of faith can be talked about openly and honestly with no judgment or condemnation but instead engaged conversation. 
The Florkens
You are invited to join us every Sunday for some talk on faith, religion, any and everything that lies heavy on your heart. We'll both post about our current struggles then at the bottom we'll invite you to join in the conversation either with a post of your own or in the comments section.

Our first link-up goes live today! 
Oh how we're thrilled to have you. 
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"Be merciful to those who doubt." -Jude 1:22

I grew up in church hearing and feeling that in order to be a good Christian, you must read the bible, not say bad words, and follow all of the commandments. I grew up hearing that it all just makes sense. I heard it made sense for centuries, for all those theologians and historically important leaders, and now it should make sense for me. I heard it made sense and I held onto those words as tightly as my little fingers would let me. I squeezed them hoping the tighter my grip, the greater my belief. 

But, it didn't all make sense. In all truth, it doesn't all make sense even now. What makes sense is that I'm precious to God. So precious, in fact, that He saved me from a dark and dreary life separate from Him. What makes sense is that love makes the world go round. His love. Mine and yours, that's just a bonus -a beautiful bonus. 

To address decades of suppressed wonder and questions, of fear that my curiosity would kill the Christian cat, of hating science and fact that needs no faith. And then a realization: I need mercy because I have doubts. Not just from other Christians, not just from you and from God, but from myself too. It is His love and my own mercy that allow me to give voice to those doubts. It is your listening ear and honest words that create a space for me to process and glean. 

God-loving or not, life hands us big,clumsy, difficult circumstances that defy everything we know of Him and me and you. Making sense of the chaos is tricky enough, then add the layer of keeping faith and holding belief on top of it and you'll find a breeding ground for doubt. 

It is what you do with your doubt that defines your heart. For years my doubt made me angry and frustrated, shaking my fist at God asking Him why He's doing this, why He isn't stepping in, why He doesn't love me enough to stop the hurts. Then, my angry arms got tired of being raised above my head and I realized it was my brain and my heart that needed more. More understanding of His goodness, more knowledge of His heart for me and the rest of the world, more encouragement and truth amongst the brokenness. 

So, I put the anger away and made space for the doubts. I granted myself the mercy required to ask questions, to give a voice to the doubts, to wrestle with difficulties. And it's led me hungrily to His words for a glimpse of His heart and hope. It's torn me up in ways so deep and so good while pushing me to search for signs of His greatness instead of letting the days pass and blur in front of my eyes. 

For now, I remind myself of my need for mercy and love and Him, I feed the hunger for wisdom while giving grace when anger rears it's ugly head, and mostly, I remind myself, it doesn't just make sense for many of us. 

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this !
    I used to feel the same about God (how unfair life can be and why wouldn't He change things) but also about the Church (I think sometimes, they are hypocrites ...). After reading your blog and others last summer, I started to wonder about faith. After years of being a non-believer, I turned myself to God, but yet, I feel that I cannot say "I am a Christian" because I don't go to Church and I don't feel like I belong to it ... Does it make me a bad person because I believe in God but not necessarily in Church ?

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  2. I am so glad for this link-up. Even though my faith is strong, life can get tough sometimes. It is great that we will be able to share our doubts and hold each other up like sisters.

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  3. I grew up with a knowledge of God (both sides of the family Catholic) but we never went to church. Then when I was in high school my family started going to a Baptist church. I remembered not feeling accepted by the small youth group and everything being so legalistic. I wanted to believe in this Jesus I heard and could read about, but I did not want to be a part of this church that made me feel like I wasn't good enough for Jesus to really love me. I too, didn't feel precious enough for God. Besides, I was so wrapped up in wanting to do things my way, I didn't want any convictions, and I wanted to continue doing what the church kept telling me I shouldn't do. Finally He captured my heart at the age of 23 and many things I had been told started to make sense to me, but even after the last 7 years of walking with Him, there are still things I don't fully understand that I don't know if I will until Heaven! But regardless, my faith I know is firm in Him.

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  4. i think that unless you have doubt, you have no reason to go looking for Truth. and it's so important to read and learn and educate yourself on what you believe and why you believe it. because if you just sit and wait for it to come to you, you're going to be doubting forever in the same way. my favorite part of going to a Catholic college was all the theology we had to take. i wouldn't be the same in my faith if i hadn't been made to actually dig in to the big questions and find answers for myself. wonderful post dear.

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  5. Life can be SO unfair and it's hard to ask those questions and feel so far from any sort of "answer". I still wonder daily about faith and what it means to be Christian, but I believe that church is a community that encourages and accentuates believers, not what makes them. (if that makes any sense). Personally, I know church grows me in the community of Christ, but isn't what makes me Christian... And, after taking months off from church Jason and I went on Sunday. I expected to feel outside of the service, but instead I felt included and welcome despite no direct invite to be a part of anything.

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  6. I realize it's the things I don't understand that make me pursue Him more. Like dating there's something about the chase that excites me and draws me into Him. I guess I really am one of "those" girls I just happen to be using it in a more productive direction. :)

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  7. Amen sister. Doubt has been one of my favorite things about my faith, though I'm still working diligently to bring those doubts boldly to Him instead of feeling a little bit ashamed of them.


    I didn't know you went to Catholic college. I love that. Also, how thrilled are you for Lent? OH MY SOUL I CAN'T WAIT.

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  8. Isn't it lovely? Like God's saying, I know you have doubt, I know you want more answers, and you will get them from me, in me, in my word. And I'm like, BUT GOD I WANT TO JUST KNOW RIGHT NOW. Because I'm spoiled.


    Thank you for being a part of this. I already feel so encouraged in my brokenness and that's a beautiful thing you know?

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  9. Girl, yes, yes, yes. We MUST hold each other up because it's so easy to feel heavy and down-trodden when the answers seem so far off and abstract. YES.

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  10. Doubt and fear is what I chose to give up for Lent this year. I am also choosing this because if not, i fear where it may lead me, as a woman, as a friend, and as a wife. I firmly believe that each day, we are challenged to dig deeper into our faith and follow Him. None of us are given a cross we cannot bare, but as I talk about on today's post, sometimes, we have to ask for help baring that cross.

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  11. So excited for this link-up. Getting to write about my doubts publicly and reading what others write and struggle with is exactly what I need. Sometimes you can feel so alone in your doubt and like you said, wondering why God won't just step in and reveal himself to us. I've found that when I get frustrated and upset with this, I realize that in essence I'm not having faith in him when I demand those things of proof from him. I need to realize by devoting my time and effort into him and his word, he will ultimately reveal himself to me in a way that makes sense to me.

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