During November I have been writing about things I am thankful for. Today I want to share my appreciation for things negative, particularly doubt. Doubt creeps into my thoughts often. Am I really supposed to write? Do I make a difference in my church? Is this friendship worth the effort it takes to maintain it? Am I a good mom? Wife? Friend?
We make hundreds of decisions each day, and most of them made with little effort. But other times, the ramifications are larger. I am a person who jumps before thinking, following my instincts without really measuring the outcome.
Doubt slows me down, forces me to consider options.
Take my list of doubts. Am I really supposed to write? This doubt creeps in whenever I am struggling with a particular page, when I have a deadline looming and am making little progress, or when conflicts for my time occur.
Am I supposed to spend hours each week at the keyboard, or should I be doing something else? Instinct tells me to stop the struggle. Doubt causes me examine the benefit of writing. I ponder. I pray. I analyze. Without doubt, I would not have done these things. And so I write.
Doubt forces me to confront each issue with forethought regarding the harsh reality of the consequences of decision making, which is in direct contrast to just rolling with the impulses of my instincts. I take each struggle and mull it over in my mind. I look at the question from as many viewpoints, the bad and the good, the plus and the minus. And because doubt causes me to step back and examine with a critical eye, I make better decisions.
The bible is full of examples of doubt. We can’t take the promised land, the giant is too big to defeat, nothing good comes from Nazareth … but we are also told that with God, nothing is impossible.
To second-guess a decision once doubt has led us to pray for clarity is futile. Doubt can be a good thing if used as a tool, not as a rule.
So, this last week of November, I am thankful for doubt.
I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving and have a list of things you are thankful for. Is doubt among them? What unusual thing are you thankful for? Tell me!