Sunday, June 05, 2011

Things I've Learned In Times of Doubt

"Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted."
~~ C.S. Lewis

The most valuable things I've learned in times of doubt are these:

1. Doubt comes and goes. It is not a permanent state of being. Don't treat it as such.

2. Don't make lasting decisions about anything important -- a friendship, a career, a marriage, the Catholic Church, God -- in times of doubt. (You may make decisions about dinner, or what book to read next, or which top to wear with those shorts. You may make decisions about what to move up in your Netflix queue, or about gift purchases, though you may regret them later. You may make decisions about whether you like Firefox or Chrome the best. But not much else.)

3. Doubt leads us to believe that nothing will ever be the same again. Nothing will be blissful, or shiny or lasting or meaningful. This is a lie. Go rearrange the furniture. Reconsider your position from a new angle.

4. Doubt might be coming only from one of these things: hunger, thirst, a rotten mood, a bad week, a bad month, a bad year, an illness, a disappointment, a misunderstanding, boredom, fatigue, burnout, allergy season, a dark night of the soul, or, as C.S. Lewis and Charles Dickens pointed out, indigestion.

5. Sleep is an objective good. So is Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine: "I wouldn't change one bit of it ... And besides, I like to cry. After I cry hard it's like it's morning again and I'm starting the day over .... A good night's sleep, or a ten-minute bawl, or a pint of chocolate ice cream, or all three together, is good medicine."


faith  (fth)n.1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.  2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belieftrust.  3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters. 4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will. 5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith. 6. A set of principles or beliefs.
Idiom: in faith   Indeed; truly.

Times of doubt are inevitable. For all of us, in so many things. The best response I've found is to hang on tight. I think God designed seasons for a reasons -- they're the best metaphor for life that I've run into.

Indeed. Truly.


Jennifer said...

This is brilliant. Especially the first part. I tend to panic immediately which doesn't help anything.

Leonie said...

So Very Very True, Karen! Well said.

sarah said...

So wise! And true, which all wise things are. But I would warn against making browser changes too. In a moment of doubt, I upgraded my version of Firefox, and have deeply regretted it ever since.

Sarah said...

This is fantastic! Thank you for posting this great, great, great reminder.

tanita davis said...

I think I'd call this a "needful" post - full of needful truths. Thank you.

Daria Sockey said...

I needed this today. this week. this month. Thank you Karen.

Sarah said...

Karen, I just have to come back to let you know what a blessing this post has been to me this week. I wrote a bit about it on my blog, if you're interested in reading it:

Thank you again for these inspiring words.

God bless, Sarah