4 Ways God Repurposed My Doubts
By Andrew Arrol
All of us do it at some point. Whether we realize it or not, all of us have experienced doubt in our lives. From doubting if we’ll make it to work or school on time and get all of our projects done; to what our calling is, how God wants to work in our lives, or if God is even real at all, we’ve all experienced some form of doubt.
These times of doubt can feel paralyzing:
“How could my significant other doubt that I love them?”
“How could my professor doubt the validity of my work?”
“How could my coach doubt that I’ve been giving it all I’ve got?”
“How could I doubt my own convictions? Is there something wrong with me?”
Anytime we think of doubt, most of us-followers of Jesus or not- seem to attach negative connotations. No one ever says: “Remember that awesome time I was filled with self-doubt?!”
However, as followers of Jesus, we believe God can reclaim anything, anytime, anywhere. God constantly subverts our expectations and brings the most good out of the most bad.
If we really believe that this is the heart of God, then we must believe God can really do this with anything, including doubt.
Here’s 4 ways God has repurposed my doubts in ways that I believe he wants to do for you as well:
Awareness of incorrect belief
Sometimes doubt is accurate. That may not be a fun way to start out, but it’s true.
Sometimes we aren’t really loving our significant other, family, or friends in the best way possible. Sometimes we really did cut corners at work. Sometimes we really are holding back from giving all we have.
And sometimes, our doubts about who God is are accurate.
Sometimes, things we believe about God are nowhere to be found in scripture.
Sometimes things we think are central to God’s character are things Jesus never even mentioned or paid much attention to.
I remember when I was in Bible college and was experiencing more doubt about who God was than ever before. I had grown up in a certain church tradition and had been told God was a certain way. It had been impressed upon me that I had to get saved every single Sunday.
Every time there was a call for salvation or to ‘rededicate’ my life to God, I raised my hand. There was always something wrong. I was always falling short. I didn’t realize it, but I was living a life scared of God and scared of people who fell outside my faith tradition.
As I learned about different traditions & denominations within Christianity, I began to think “if all of these traditions are so different, if there’s so much pain & division within the Church, how can God even be real? How do I know I’m getting the right info? How do I know I’m in or out.
This doubt led me on a journey of discovering the importance of the centrality of Jesus in my life & theological convictions. I had to go through a period where I had to tear down all of my old beliefs to see which ones stuck. I had to rebuild my faith on a firm foundation: a fresh, life giving faith that does not hold me back from loving others.
I was given a passion for the kingdom, for the mission of God: to develop fully devoted followers; not just being a person who said one prayer one time and saw no meaningful life change. I no longer was just trying to escape going to hell when I die but living a life that helps brings a glimpse of heaven on earth.
I’m glad I had doubts. Some of them were accurate. Some of my doubts were proven to be just doubts. And now, I’m not scared of the big questions.
Opens us to new possibilities
Since I was brought to a place where I had to reevaluate my faith, God not only rid me of hurtful, inaccurate beliefs, God also opened me to new possibilities.
God opened me to possibilities about how he wants to work in my life, about who he is, even how I approach scripture and relationships. Instead of a life that was boxed in & inward looking, God started to develop in me a perspective that was open to ways of thinking & being.
God brought me to this place is through this thought:
“If Jesus wasn’t scared of big questions, why should I be?”
Jesus wasn’t scared of questions in scripture, and he’s still not afraid of our questions now. Why should I be scared if I’m uncertain about something?
Empathy for Others
Not only was I freed of being scared of my own uncertainties, God also developed within me an empathy for others who are exploring their faith. Whether people who were once close to God but no longer wanted anything to do with him, people who claimed to follow Jesus but did not reflect that with their lives, or people of other faith & cultural backgrounds, I began to see the value of the journey we are all on.
Just because someone doesn’t quite yet have the language I use to explain who God is doesn’t mean they aren’t on a path towards discovering the heart of God, towards becoming a fully devoted follower, towards leading a life reflecting the character & competencies of Jesus.
Instead of resisting conversation with people who do not think or act the same way as me, I feel God has helped posture my heart towards seeing value in all people & seeing the possibilities for God to work in their lives.
No one is too far from God to be reclaimed, repurpose, and renewed. When we catch this vision & heart for people, it does something to us. As God repurposes people in & through us, we to are renewed in our faith time & time again.
God frees us from the burden of measuring our faith through ascending to certain intellectual beliefs, but instead, invites & challenges us to live out lives reflecting the character & competencies of Jesus.
Reliability of God
All of this drew me to a place of relying on God rather than a collection of intellectual platitudes.
If God doesn’t seem to fit in my box, maybe I need a bigger box. Or maybe, I need to tear down that box and let God be God.
Doubt brought me to a place of reflection & realization: did I believe mental ascension to certain beliefs alone is what saved me & transformed me? Or did salvation & transformation come through the constant, consistent work of the Spirit in my life? How was I going to view God: as a product, or as a person I followed?
I am thankful for the way God has repurposed what could have caused me to drift from faith into something that established an even more firm foundation, and I can’t wait to see what else God repurposes in my life for the benefit of myself & others.