38 Weeks: Faith vs. Doubt
Today, we are 38 weeks in, 1 week left!!! The excitement is out of control...and so is my nesting. Like my new blog layout? Nesting, blame the nesting. With the excitement comes some fear however. And so that brings me to some thoughts I've been having on faith vs. doubt...
Faith, or as Wiki puts it...
I started writing this post a week ago when I was feeling particularly vulnerable about faith. Back then, I was feeling quite down on myself about my faith. I was feeling guilty and ashamed. I was tired and my share of burdens felt particularly heavy then. You see, I had told myself that faith was black or white. You either have faith, or you have doubt. They could not exist together in my mind. If I was having doubts, I felt like those were moments of weakness in faith. Dark clouds that I could combat with extra sunshine that would lead me back to the right path.
I mean look at what Wiki says... Faith is to have complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Well, shoot. According to that definition, apparently the only thing I have real faith in is the knowledge that the sun will rise and the sun will set each and every day. Because that is really the only thing I believe in with complete trust and confidence. And if we are going down this road, I might as well add an asterisk to say that, though I believe with faith that the sun will rise and set each day during my lifetime, that I can concede that there might be the possibility one day in a few millennia that the Big Bang theory sucks our universe back up and spits it out and ...oops, there goes the sun. But I have faith, according to Wiki's definition, that won't happen during my lifetime at least. I'm 99.9% sure.
Yeah, you could say that I'm a bit of a doubting Thomas. And so I felt guilty. I felt bad for having doubts that everything will be ok with this baby. For questioning doctors when they say, "Everything looks normal." For asking, "What if?"
My only hope is to ask God for a life jacket. Trusting God right now is difficult and I’m not sure how. I have felt tremendous guilt for doubting him and I know that I have not been able to fully surrender and give him my trust and faith. But I’m trying. I want to. My hope is that if I ask God for a life jacket he will help me float on top of the doubts and fears rather than drowning in them.
It's amazing how many times I can look back upon myself and recognize guilt as a such a powerful emotion during my grief. Feeling not good enough or like I did something wrong. Even the Bible has made me feel bad. Look: "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer"- Matthew 21:22. Well, I know this is going to sound downright sacrilegious but... that is a bunch of B.S. Matthew! According to that verse, one of two things happened when Callie died after nine months of my diligent prayers. Either, 1) he lied or 2) I didn't believe enough. Out of those options, what am I left to think? I must not be a good enough believer.
No wonder I felt guilty with that line of thinking. After clinging to my life jacket and floating for a while, I have decided to redefine faith. It just so happens that at church this past Sunday, the message was about doubting Thomas and about faith. Talk about divine intervention! I came to realize after the sermon that maybe there was a third option above....allow me to let Matthew off the hook with choice #3) ...maybe I didn't understand faith. My definition was all wrong and it needed to change. And, while I was at it, I also decided I needed to redefine doubt to reflect my new understanding. So here you go...
That's it. It's simple. To me, faith is being hopeful and optimistic. It is believing in what can be possible. It is a choice to accept our utter lack of control and to let go. It is anticipating the best things. Believing in things that cannot be seen and cannot be proven. Silver linings! That is faith.
And then there is doubt, a.k.a. fear. It is being scared of faith. It is being afraid of getting your hopes up, just to get let down. It is trying to control the uncontrollable in a desperate attempt to prevent heartache. It is hoping that you aren't wrong about what you believe in to be true. Doubts are not bad. They are normal.
Instead of being opposites, faith and doubt really go hand-in-hand. They are like peanut butter and jelly. That is, as long as you don't have a peanut-allergy. ;-) Whenever you put your hope in something, there lies a part of you that fears it. It's scary being an optimist sometimes. Or at least, that's my take on things.
Since coming to this new conclusion, I have not had one bit of guilt. I have had loads of faith and loads of doubt...but no guilt. And in the absence of guilt, comes peace. I love peace. It is the best feeling in the world. I mean, listen to me...I'm all sunshine and rainbows and peace. Just send me off to Woodstock and hide my razor blade, why don't ya? Ridding yourself of guilt is very freeing. You should try it sometime ;-)
And whenever you find yourself having big doubts about God, do what I do, remind yourself...no, stop and force yourself (because sometimes it really is hard!) to look for him in the smallest of places and the quietest of moments. He's there. I have faith in that...according to my new definition of faith. And if you're still having trouble, maybe he will blow a yellow balloon your way, like he did for us. Don't feel bad for having your doubts, just keep the faith.
K4C from Laura:
"We drove a lost family to their hotel last night --they had gotten off the Toll Road and were totally lost. We were happy to think of you on this beautiful day."
Thanks Laura :-) These beautiful days are such a wonderful reminder of our sweet girl. We appreciate your act of kindness in her memory!!