I’ve just read a really helpful post on the fantastic A New Name blog. Alice Buckley describes how she was struggling with doubts throughout writing a book that helps us teach children about Jesus. In some ways it’s not a surprise that as she produced a really helpful resource for the Kingdom, she was in a spiritual battle. I don’t know Alice at all so I’m not presuming to comment specifically on her situation, but I hope you see the more general point I’m making.
Since starting this blog almost a year ago, I have experienced spiritual doubts for the first time since becoming a follower of Jesus thirteen years ago. I’ve been humbled and amazed, really, to hear about people feeling really encouraged by some of my blog posts, and it therefore doesn’t surprise me that I have experienced a spiritual backlash because of it.
I’ve had a rotten week, but for no real reason. I’ve written about this before (Meltdown) – sometimes I cry or scream or run away (or just want to) but there’s no obvious trigger. People say, ‘How has your week been?’ and I say ‘Erm, not good.’ Then I’m supposed to give a reason! So sometimes I just say ‘Fine’ (I know, I shouldn’t lie).
To make matters worse, I hear about people with real problems in Pakistan, or the Sudan, or Kurdistan, and I think ‘Why can’t I pull myself together?’
Today I read Psalm 143, which helped me to pray and ask God for help. David prays this:
“The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.” (v3)
“Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.”
But can I really pray this? David had some serious problems. Heavies were after him. Nobody is driving me from my home and forcing me to hide in a cave. But I definitely feel like I need God to protect me and help me.
Then I remembered Ephesians 6:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
I am in a battle. I am thankful that I live in a peaceful, stable place (remember this? Still doing it – it does help). But when I feel like I’m in a battle, it’s because I am.
I guess now I’m supposed to reach some sort of helpful conclusion. Well, I have three things to say to finish:
- My mum is coming today so I need to clean the house, so I have to cut this one short, sorry!
- I wanted you to know that I’ve been, to use a British understatement, a little emotional this week. So if you have too, I know how you feel. I’d hate for you to think that because I have a blog I am confident and breezy.
- When we feel rubbish, we need to preach to ourselves, not listen to ourselves. (Someone wise once said that but I’m afraid I don’t know who it was.) Read the Bible, think on God’s promises, listen to a good talk online, ask a friend to tell you the gospel, and pray!
And one more thing (I know, so unprofessional!) – excitingly Mum in Zone One is having a book giveaway in the next couple of weeks. The topic of the book? Dealing with doubts. So watch this space!