I’ve been thinking today about doubt. It’s another fascinating concept that we often take for granted: to be undecided or skeptical about something. Each and every question we face is usually purged of or submerged in doubt (but sometimes anything in between)…leading, eventually, to whatever choice or decision we make. Doubt often carries negative connotations, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, if utilised in the right way.
When it comes to our own dreams and ambitions, I think doubt is key. In my opinion, you can’t have a God-sized aspiration without doubting your own ability to succeed without His help. This self-doubt serves as a brilliant reminder that with God we can do all things; but without we can do nothing. In John 15:5-8, Jesus reminds of this:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Doubt is also humbling. Doubt brings understanding that we might not always be right; that there may be other factors to consider; and that we may not always have the answer. To doubt ourselves is to understand that we aren’t perfect. However, doubt can become dangerous when it exceeds the level of self-confidence that we have. At that point, doubt can become oppressive, restrictive and unproductive. The two sit opposite each other on a pair of scales – the doubt-full counterweight balancing our confidence in order to stop us from putting so much weight into a decision that we cause damage with arrogant attitudes. Confidence, balanced by the sense of realism that doubt contains, can lead to incredible things.
I think a little doubt can go a long way in moderation. But I certainly don’t think it’s substitute for a little hope…or faith!