I've been thinking a lot about the concept of doubt lately. I believe it's fair to say that I'm in a season of questioning and doubt. I'm in a place where some of the most essential values I've held onto throughout my life are being shaken and called into question. I think part of it has to do with just how much my life has changed since getting to college and since I really delved into community over the past year or so. I think studying abroad in China for a month was the catalyst that set it all into motion, though. China changed me forever in the most beautiful way. I've had a few notable times in life where I've had “ah-ha” moments and learned new things that shaped me dramatically. I often view my journey in terms of segments. Pre-this and post-that. I really do believe that years down the road when I'm looking at how I've changed, there will a pre-China and post-China version of Lindsey. It dawned on me while I was running a couple of days ago what this season of life feels like: free falling.
It's one of those experiences that is terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Once you're in the air, you've lost all control. Once you start down the path of questioning one or two things, you begin to question everything.
To describe it another way, over the past 10 weeks, I feel like I have died and been reborn multiple times. I feel like I've been in this cycle of death and rebirth, continually being shaped and evolving. While parts of my character and beliefs have died off, some new ones have sprung to life.
I trust in God and the depth of His grace now more than ever. I have a confidence in the saving blood of Jesus that I've never quite had before. I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit now with a certainty that I didn't have months ago.
Can I confess something, though?
I'm less sure of how Jesus does what He does than I used to be. I used to have all of that mapped out in nice, neat little charts. I'm not to the nth degree certain what it looks like to be a genuine follower of Jesus. I'm not certain just HOW Jesus saves people...HOW He brings people out of death and into life. That, I won't go into...because I don't think the internet is the best place to dive into it all. Point being: I view a lot of things as more open-ended nowadays.
My politics have been shifting ever so slightly for years, but recently that process has accelerated. A lot of the “social issues” that I once thought were black and white, I'm now seeing as many shades of gray. My views on pretty much everything are in a state of change.
The Lindsey a few years ago would have viewed the Lindsey today as someone who is “backsliding.” The current Lindsey's state would have scared the old Lindsey shitless. But the funny thing is, eighty-five percent of the time, I'm not scared. Nor do I believe there is anything inherently wrong or damning about doubt and questioning. When I am scared, if I can be honest, it's because I'm afraid of the opinions of others. I just have this confidence that I'm held firmly in love of God. I'm confident that there is no height nor depth that can separate me from Him. I'm confident that the One who is Perfect Love will cast out all fear. And if I have to spend the rest of my days on Earth sticking my fingers through the nail scars in His hands, that will be fine.
I've always thought my faith was “my own.” It feels like I've always had a relationship with Jesus. It's been me and Him on this journey together since I opened up my life and said “I don't know what's taken me so long, but I receive you. I want to follow where you lead.”
...but I really get this sense that I'm walking into uncharted territory of making faith “my own.” In the thick of my doubt and questioning right now, I'm in a free fall, trusting the one who holds me firmly in His embrace.
“To trust Abba, both in prayer and life, is to stand in childlike openness before a mystery of gracious love and acceptance.” (Brennan Manning)