What has been the biggest stop sign in your life? What is it that has stopped you from being the person you want to be and living the life you want?
Can I humbly offer a suggestion? My guess is your doubts. Doubts are the giant stop signs of life. I know this because it happened to me.
The first half of my adulthood was spent hiding from a doubt. I was afraid to fail. That may not sound like a doubt issue but it is.
It was easy to see how it worked like a stop sign. I don’t know if the people around me saw it that way (they probably did) but I knew it stopped me from all kinds of things. I rarely took risks. If I wasn’t good at something, if I wasn’t sure I could succeed, I didn’t try.
Where is the doubt in that? The reason I didn’t try, the reason I feared failure, is because I doubted people would accept me or value me if I didn’t succeed.
The doubt was an emotion based insecurity fueling a fear stopping me time and again. I missed out on simple things like playing a sport to important things like deepening a relationship and even most critically, following Jesus.
Sad. Disappointing. Worst of all unnecessary.
So I would ask you again, what has been the biggest stop sign in your life? It matters. Your doubts can take you out.
Here are four ways doubts tricks us into stopping by convincing us:
1) We Can’t Eat the Last Bite. Sounds strange right? Doubts grow like weeds when we think there won’t be enough. Not enough time, money, food, or emotional capacity the doubts multiply. It is easy to fall into a scarcity mindset.
Doubts flourish and grow when we think there is not enough. This is why Philippians 4:19 reminds us “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Of course it doesn’t mean to live irresponsibly. Yet, the fear of not having enough is a lot like the fear of failing. Doubting God will provide creates the fear that stops us cold. Behind the fear is a doubt and the doubt keeps us from abundant life.
2) It Hurts Too Much. Painful moments in relationships are real. Boundaries are absolutely essential when dealing with hurtful and toxic people.
Forgiveness is also real. Moving forward is absolutely essential when you have been hurt.
A bad relationship doesn’t mean every relationship will be hurtful, but doubt screams stop. Don’t engage, don’t love, don’t risk because you might get hurt again. Doubt attaches itself to all kinds of feelings…fear, resentment, anger, failed self-image and then tells you the only way to avoid this is to STOP.
No, this isn’t a relationship column! Here is what I do know. I have created far more pain and been forgiven far more often than anyone has ever hurt me. Jesus told story after story (check out Matthew 21:21-35 for an example) connecting our forgiveness from God to our forgiveness of other people.
Refusing to forgive has all kinds of consequences. One clear consequence, it will stop you from having healthy relationships.
3) They Are Too Strong. Who is they? On one hand it doesn’t matter who “they” are. They could be the future, my family, the government, my addiction, the competition or my enemies. Doubt says the ones who are against you are too big and bad. You should admit you don’t have what it takes to take “them” on. Stop, retreat, give up and give in.
There are many things in the world bigger and stronger than you. If you don’t believe that we will have to address that in a different post! There is a difference between knowing you are outmatched and giving in to doubt.
Wise people know when they are out outside their ability to handle something and they get help. Doubt says don’t even get help. Are you a follower of Jesus? Then you have more than you need.
Romans 8:11 “…the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
The Spirit who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives in you. Who or what could be stronger than that.
4) We Don’t Need To Deal With It. Maybe the worst thing doubt does is convince us not to admit it. Refuse to acknowledge it. Meanwhile, quietly, it keeps getting bigger and more unmanageable. It continues to stop us from living the life we were created to live.
Before long, it has so worked its way into our heart and mind it becomes a twisted version of normal. We should be doubting our doubts because doubt left to itself takes us out.
The series Doubting My Doubts can help you deal with all of these. Refuse to let your doubts take you out. Join us in person on Sundays at 9:15AM or 10:45AM in March of 2021. Or check out Doubting My Doubts on our YouTube channel.
If you missed the first episode you can watch it here.
Your battle with doubt is important. I don’t want you to miss out and be stopped. My guess is you have friends and family members, even neighbors who struggle with doubts. There is a lot at stake.
Learning how to move ahead is important, being able to help others move ahead is beautiful.
Don’t be stopped anymore.
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