Looking back at journals and scribbles and blog drafts I've written over the last few year…it’s clear I was convinced I was in a season of doubt in God, but I think it was actually just a season of disappointment.
It never really felt like God didn’t exist, or that He wasn’t there. Perhaps it’s a blessing that I always have a guttural sense of God and the Holy Spirit in the depths of me – but I feel like sometimes it’s also a curse. It would have been easier just to believe He wasn’t real or wasn’t there or wasn’t invested in my life, because then it would have made sense why so much was going wrong. Why all the pieces of the puzzle weren’t fitting together. Why the very clear equation I had grown up believing was true was suddenly a series of unintelligible and confusing questions.
If I didn’t believe that God was around, then I wouldn’t have to wrestle with the idea that maybe all the things I was so sure about – that a good Christian girl would never have to struggle with being single in her late twenties, or working at a church would be forever satisfying, or a million other lies I told myself were true – weren’t actually part of the deal. I don’t think I’ve had a category for “disappointment in God” in my heart until recently. I thought I did, but I understand now I was labeling it “doubt” and making it normal.
Doubt is kind of a trendy thing these days, so I fit right in. People understood me. A whole gang of us couldn’t reconcile the tension between things we had always grown up believing and what we were seeing to be true about the world we currently live in, and we banned together in a cynical tribe of Christians who were “figuring it out” but inching toward the secular worldview that claimed it would bring us fulfillment.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t. For me at least. And hear me, I don’t mean any of this as a slam to people who would still think of themselves in that tribe, because I get it. And honestly, part of the tension that exists for me is that for some of them - their life seems to actually be better. Like, we are told it's not and that Jesus is the only thing that will fulfill us - but I see some of my friends who loved Jesus before and their lives were pretty full of trials and just plain crap and now that they've moved on from that sort of conviction and don't have the same beliefs...things are going really well. It's a weird thing. But, that hasn't been the case for me, which is why I think I have grown out of that mindset. I think I can label what I felt and still feel today pretty clearly. The haze I mentioned a few blogs ago is being lifted and I am trying to call a spade a spade.
I always knew God was real and there and cared about me. I just was mad at Him. Like, really mad.
Whenever people talk about being emotionally honest with God, I laugh it off because anyone who knows me knows that I am emotionally honest to a fault. But for whatever reason I don’t think I was being emotionally honest with Him. I didn’t want to go there. Why? Who knows. I need to constantly put the story of David in front of me whenever I think God can’t handle how I really feel. Some of those Psalms are gnarly.
God can handle me being pissed at Him for not answering my prayers or when I don’t understand why something is the way it is. It’s better than than professing I “just don’t know how a God like that could exist” or whatever I said that made it all make sense. I've realized that doubt doesn't really hurt anyone but myself. The emptiness it brings doesn't really impact anything but my soul. That is not a productive space to live in - so I am trying to change doubt's name and call it what it really is.
Sometimes, even now, I am disappointed in God.
And that's ok.
Being real with Him is better than doubting He exists.