A friend of my recently told me that he really like the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and I can say that I get it, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Knowing that despite everything that’s going on in my life, I’m putting my faith in God; I’m confident that he will see me through. Last week I had a conversation with my mom about some of these thoughts that are circling in my head. Although I don’t put all my energy and effort into these things, not having my own family, a stable career, or own a home; I feel as though I’m somehow lacking. Whenever I talk to my family from my home country it seems family, career, and children are very important. What you do when you have those things doesn’t seem to be a concern. Despite not buying into that definition of what success is, I have to admit that it does cause me to doubt myself. I’ve not accomplished those things, so does that mean I’m not successful? For me it’s more important to be an emotionally healthy adult, and to live a life like Jesus. Family, money, and career are only part of life, a very secondary part. I’m glad I had that conversation with my mom, she assured me that she understands my priorities in my life. That made me extremely happy. The older I get, the more I realize how wise my mom is, and did I mention all around awesome!
As I contemplate why I’m feeling stuck, and feeling like I haven’t achieved enough, I take time to put those thoughts in the right category. The conversation with my mom revealed a lot about my faith. She told me about time after time when we prayed for our needs to be met, and almost instantly God answered our prayers. Even recently, I wanted to take a class that my church was offering, but didn’t have the money. It was going to enhance my Spiritual Gift and help me to be a better resource for those who are hurting or in need. I prayed that I would somehow get the funds to take the class. On the last day to sign up, I received a check in the mail, apparently my employer didn’t pay me everything, and sent me a check. Many of the stories my mom told me, there was time after time when God showed up. I laugh because I think after time and time again of seeing God show up, how can I still doubt him.
The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17: 5-6 NLT.
Sometimes as believers we struggle to understand what God’s word is saying, but just think that even his disciples who were with him also struggled. In a later verse Jesus explains that although a mustard seed is very small, it yields a big tree with plenty of fruit. So that’s what our faith must model, with just a little faith we must yield great big things. So what is Faith anyway? Faith is believing in something that’s not seen, having confidence that something will happen in the future. In contrast what’s doubt? Doubt is the lack of belief, even though there may be evidence that should convince you otherwise. Doubt is a funny concept, for example we may hear the enemy tell us, “see God hasn’t come through for you when you needed him, he’s not real.” So if God’s not real then the enemy isn’t real either, but no he would have you think that he’s real but God isn’t! We live in a world of opposites, good & bad, light & dark, up & down etc. So it stands to reason that if God the positive or faith isn’t real, then the negative or the devil/evil doesn’t exist either. Next time you start to have those kinds of negative thoughts about God, see what happens if you use that argument. I’m willing to bet that some of your thoughts may subside.
Many believers struggle with this central question. If God is real, why does he let me get tempted. I’m not quite ready to debate that topic, but I did find this verse today:
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. James 1: 12-15 NLT.
I think the verse says it all, we sometimes get too hung up on things and try to explain everything, so rest assured that God doesn’t tempt us; but yet we doubt. I’m not one of those people who feels sorry for myself. I’ve noticed a trend with emotions like shame, pity, and self-doubt. They put us in a state of in action, we don’t like the current situation, but yet we sit around and do nothing. In contrast self-confidence, faith, and hope puts us in a different state. Those emotions put us in a state of action, we want to get up and do something about our situation. We say “so what if my circumstances aren’t ideal” we get up and do something about it. So today I got up made a list of what I wanted to accomplish, and then I got up and did something about it. I’ll admit I did feel like just laying in bed a few times, then there was that voice “get up!” “Get Up!” “GET UP!” Ok I hear you I’m up.
So what about you, are you letting shame or doubt keep you in a state of inaction? Do you believe that you shouldn’t have faith because things didn’t go your way? Ask yourself what could I have done differently? Am I in a state of Action or Inaction? In order to actualize our dreams we must act. This is a cruel world we live in, nothing comes easily. As Christ followers, aside from his grace and love, we’re also guaranteed that the path isn’t going to be easy, that we will struggle. We are also promised salvation, and the hope of his eternal grace. As Christ followers we sometimes have to stand alone, to stand for what other people might think is a crazy idea. I made anew friend this week and she encouraged me to do something bold. Sometimes you have to “TAKE A STAND” you have to have faith like that little mustard seed. To have faith that God will come through for you, even though those around you who love you tell you know, you’re making a big mistake.
Will you TAKE A STAND with me, to not let the naysayers feed you with doubt and self pity. I’d love to hear how you’re taking a stand, send me your comments below.