When I think about things I regret in my life, I often find that I regret the things I didn’t do, more than the things I did do. Not taking action in my life hurt more. I felt constantly stuck with the “what ifs” clouding my thoughts, wondering what could have potentially happened. In every area of my life, doubt has done nothing other than leave behind the most painful regrets. This ended up crippling me with fear and creating problems in my mind that weren’t even there to begin with.
There is good news!
Doubt is completely normal. Everyone has gotten stuck in their head with these tough thoughts. Then, these thoughts escalate into something terrifying, and soon you want to end a friendship, you want to withdraw your application, you want to take those words back. Even the greatest men and women recorded in the Bible faced doubt.
However, what I didn’t say was that doubt was good. It isn’t good at all, meaning it definitely isn’t from God, but from the enemy. Doubt is created to slow you down, and to keep you from what God has planned for you. Doubting yourself can stop you from getting that big job. Doubting a relationship can take someone important out of your life, leaving you only with regret and pain in the future.
But doubting God can take you so far away from every blessing He has planned for you, and will take you down painful paths that require challenging returns. The devil is called the “father of lies” by Jesus, because Jesus knew what kinds of spiritual, emotional, and mental battles we would face. The important thing after acknowledging that doubt is not from God, is knowing what to do with the doubt you face.
In the past year I’ve grown so much and have realized what is really important in life, in relationships, and important for me, but I realized the one thing that ruined all of these at one point or another, was doubt. Now, I struggle with the grip that anxiety has on me, but doubt is a close second when it comes to personal battles. Doubt comes in quietly, and unexpectedly which makes it so lethal. Everything seems peachy, then one day you have a thought that is different from normal, and it only continues to snowball until you have yourself second guessing everything.
“Your faith can move mountains and your doubt can create them.”
When I face doubt now, I have to take a huge step back. If I’m being honest, my anxiety and irrational thinking often create all of my doubt, and soon I end up having an anxiety attack. But now I pause, and think. Am I really not good enough, or am I creating this doubt because I am scared and it’s hard? Are there really issues, or am I impatient and I want a fix now, instead of taking my time? Is God even listening to me, or is He teaching me to listen to His whispers?
Take your doubt, and pause. Most likely, it’s irrational and backed by some fear of yours. I know all of my doubt is, and time and time again, I let doubt take blessings out of my life.
Doubting myself was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.
No, seriously. This past year was a huge time of change and growth, which all ended up having a positive impact on my life. I’ve grown into someone I really admire, and I look forward to continuing growing in all areas of my life. I can look back and say I’m really proud of myself.
One day I noticed that I had started talking myself out of something I really wanted to do because I felt as though I wasn’t good enough, and it kinda caught me off guard. What is the point of growth and change if you can’t use it to your advantage? Deep down, I knew I was good enough, but I let one small, yet dangerous thought creep into my life. I was struggling with swimming after my surgeries, and I wasn’t seeing much improvement over time and it was frustrating.
The year before had been a great training year for me and at this point in my life, I felt like I was failing and I was constantly questioning of I made the right choice because it was tough as hell. And I mean it. I was crying every day, I was in pain every day, and I was angry every day. Over the course of my last season, I asked my coaches six different times if I could quit.
However, my coaches believed in me. A lot.
So I took a step back and decided to self-reflect some, and it ended up making the biggest difference because I took time to remember all I had gone through and appreciate it. Doubting yourself will stop you from being the person you really want to be. I knew I could do it deep down, but I felt as though I was facing more challenges than positives even though I knew it was what I wanted more than anything.
My last season, after two knee surgeries, missing months of training, enduring ample amounts of pain and disappointment, was my best season. It was the most fulfilling season in my whole swimming career, because I made it through the hard stuff.
I didn’t say it wasn’t perfect, or that I didn’t have doubt some days still, but it was more than I could have ever asked or imagined. My doubt didn’t come from God, but from myself.
Doubting my relationships brought the most amount of regret into my life.
I don’t mean just dating relationships, but even friendships or my relationships with my family. To me, the people in my life are the biggest blessing that I will always be thankful for. Now, I make sure to thank the good Lord every day for those that surround me. To be honest, I used to be the biggest quitter. Yep it’s true, I gave up all the time, especially on people. I let a lot of people walk out of my life without fighting for them, and I’m always disappointed that I didn’t give it my all when things felt harder than normal.
Until a year ago, I gave up every time something got difficult (hence me trying to quit swimming with one season left). I had one friend in particular, and as soon as our friendship became challenging I stopped trying. We were not communicating well, and it started to seem as though we had more problems facing us than positives. I felt like it was all her, or that there was just too much to fix. I was being selfish and I wanted an easy out.
It was easier to say she didn’t tell me what was going on in her life, when in reality I wasn’t trying hard enough. I didn’t consider that every relationship faced multiple challenges over time, and I also forgot that not everyone is super easy to love. None if it is supposed to be perfect or a breeze, because then it’s not worth it as much.
Not the easy route, but the route that is worth it.
“Challenges don’t ruin relationships, doubts do.”
I didn’t understand that every relationship struggles. I thought it was a bad thing. Plot twist: it isn’t. During my period of growth, I realized that I had really messed up by letting people walk away. After some time, I tried to reconnect with this person and it was challenging. There was a lot of pain, but after some time passed, she started to let me in again. While we have been apart for years now, we have stopped letting distance or petty disagreements get in the way.
Looking back, I’m grateful for working through the challenges we faced because people are worth it. You can’t appreciate the highs of the relationship, if you can’t walk through the lows together.
Doubting God almost ruined my life.
There were times that when I talked to God, I thought I was talking to an empty sky. At one-point last year, it felt as though I had really lost everything. When one thing went wrong, everything else got pulled with it. I was angry with God, wondering why He would take away so much from me.
I turned to a lot of bad habits and made some less-than-ideal decisions, and it hurt me a lot. Everyone in my life was concerned as they watched me bring pain upon myself. And as expected, none of those habits made me feel satisfied. At one point I didn’t recognize who I was anymore, and I had fallen so far from God.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6
I gave in to the goodness of God.
One day I fell to my knees, crying because I knew how badly I had messed up. I knew that God had not abandoned me, but I had abandoned Him. Since that day, I became intentional with my life. Who I spent time with, how I spent my time, and I lived my life full of purpose. I talk to God like a friend, sharing every feeling. I’m turning my life in a 180 direction with His guidance.
What really helped me was remembering that when Jesus was on the cross, He even thought God had left Him. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, thought that He had been forgotten.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
God had not forsaken Him. Even though God did not rescue Jesus immediately from taking our sins, God had a bigger and better plan. Silence doesn’t mean God is not there. No doesn’t mean never, it means not now. We are never alone. When we hand our pain, our doubts, our fears, over to God, and take a step back to really evaluate, life can be so much more clear.
Ever since I gave my life back over to God, my life has felt so full of meaning. The changes I made were genuine. Even those in my life have noticed how much I’ve changed and how happy I am. When my faith was back in God, everything started falling into place. Fighting my doubt with God in my heart has brought so much happiness in my life.