I Doubt Everything, Including My Faith

Though I Grapple With More Hope Than Faith, Still I Push Through

If I keep my hope, surely faith will follow shortly after.

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One thing I have noticed since working on improving my devotion life and my relationship with God is that I may have more hope than I have faith. They are related, but I can and often do distinguish between them. The former functions as a placeholder for the latter that keeps me encouraged and invested in my beliefs, but I seek to build my faith until they are both prominent rather than one greatly amounting to more.

Faith is defined by Merriam-Webster as the confidence and trust in a person or thing and/or belief that is not based on proof while hope is defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. I think the nuances of the two are greatly significant and play an important role in my life and my beliefs.

Faith in God is believing in Him without physical proof of His existence besides the remnants of His influence and actions. It is trusting in His plan and knowing it will be the best because He is God, and He only seeks the best for you in the end. It is confidence in His will and what is to come, and it is looking forward to His promises as certainties with full expectation.

Hope in God is generally believing in Him (with room for faint doubt and many questions) without physical proof and really yearning that He is indeed real. It is knowing His plan is best, but when circumstances are looking bad, it is mustering that meager strength to hold on and stay dedicated while trying not to panic. It is knowing He has a will and doing one's best to abide by it, but sometimes, you can get blinded by what is going on and the "maybe I am not doing this right" moments that you question whether He is even aware of what is going on and planning on helping out.

At the same time, I wholeheartedly believe in God, there is occasionally a small voice in my head that says, "But, like, really… is He real?", "Is He really listening?", or "Can He really do that?" It screams of cognitive dissonance all over.

I mean… I believe God can do a lot for people who ask of it, and I have seen the results of His actions in many around me and my own life. Yet I still waver when it comes to my own personal relationship with Him and the expectations on both sides.

Sometimes I feel unworthy because of it, so it makes me hesitate in making requests. Sometimes, I feel like I am just talking to the air because I am just reciting things rather than saying them. Sometimes, I have to fight the notion that God cannot do something in my life that He has done for many people. I have to just believe. which is one of the hardest things you can ask me to do, but I do it because I believe it is worth it.

I am a very analytical and logical person, so I have a very questioning mind. Some would say that clearly because I have these doubts, it means that my rational, modern mind is trying to shake off these years of indoctrination and fantasy to enlighten me to the reality of the universe: there is no God. They would say, "Go with it. Free yourself. Why would you believe in an invisible wish-granting man in the sky? Do you not see the state of the world? If a God existed, why would He let this happen?"

What you need to know is that doubt and questions are my default setting, not a result of logically unsupportable faith. I question everything: biology, religion, mathematics, sociology, psychology, etc. It is a part of who I am. I do not take most things at face value. I have to learn a lot and do intensive research before I accept anything, and even then, I hold onto some reservations.

So, when it comes to my beliefs, I do have doubts and questions, but I have that for everything. What matters is that I am trying to learn more about my beliefs to assuage some of the doubt or, at least, understand it better. It is not worth it to just give it up on something as ephemeral as doubt because it does not equate unbelief.

Yes, I have more hope than faith because it is not my nature to accept things blindly, but I think that is a good thing because it forces me to become more educated and resourceful. I must learn for myself what people try to tell me, and asking questions can often lead to great insights.

It does make it harder to be devoted to my faith, but it is not impossible. If rationality is my cross, I will bear it because I will come out stronger in the end, armed with truth and feeling content that I have learned all I could while still seeking more just in case there is.

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God's Letter To The Struggling College Christian

Don't give up on me because I haven't given up on you
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Dear Struggling College Christian,

Life can be tough, especially in college; you're at that age where you're not exactly an adult but also no longer a child.

You're somewhere in between, possessing just enough freedom to do what you want while still being held responsible for the decisions you make about your future. You're always stressed out. You're going to get hurt, you're going to feel like dropping out or changing your mind, and you're even going to want to turn your back on me, your God, but I want to tell you this: your suffering is not in vain.

SEE ALSO: I Am Christian Millennial And I Do Not Hate You

I want you to know that everything you are going through is a lesson. It's all building you into a better person, a better you. The things you've asked of me, the things you've told me you wanted – those are things you have to be prepared for and you still need a bit of tweaking.

The future, though bright, isn't all sunshine and roses.

The path has twists and turns, cracks are in it, fallen logs in your way, and most of the time you're not going to be able to see straight ahead of you. The weather is going to be unpredictable. The hailstorm is going to knock you off your feet and the twisters are going to send you spinning into confusion, exhaustion, and doubt.

But with the strength that I am trying to build up in you, you'll find that you know exactly where to find shelter when the storms break down your door.

You'll find that the lessons you learn from trying times are exactly what you need to fulfill my plans for you. You've read Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28 hundreds of times, but there is a verse in the Bible that you may have never paid attention to.

Ephesians 2:10. It reads: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

The most important part of this verse is one simple word: beforehand. So while you're crying and stressing about what job you're going to land after you graduate, if you're going to marry that person you've been with for years, or if you even want to be majoring in what you're currently majoring in, I already have a plan laid out specifically for you. You are my child, my creation and you have a purpose.

However, while knowing these things is great, it is all pointless if you don't do. So here's what I want you to do: do not give up. Have faith in me. You believe in me, so why not believe in me in your darkest moments? That's the reason you became a Christian, right?

Because I'm the one person you know that won't forsake you. You know that I love you, and you know that I'm here for you, so prove it. I know it can be hard when you're pulled in a lot of different directions by your social life, your academic life and your extracurricular activities not to mention your family life and your own personal sanity, but take a few minutes out of your day, every day, to talk to me.

Tell me your fears and your desires. Remember that you can ask me for and about anything. I'm always going to give you an answer, whether it's a yes, no, or not right now. After that, I want you to stop worrying and fight on through the darkness. You are stronger than you think.

My Child, enjoy yourself while you are young: don't stress over the things that you can't see. Don't give in to the depression, the anxiety, or the stress; things that are not of me. Don't let yourself forget about me or believe that I'm not there when I am and know that my plan is set in place for you.

All you have to do is walk in it. Trust that this is all for your good. But most importantly, remember that I love you unconditionally–at your worst and your best. Life can be tough, but you are tougher simply because you are mine.

I've got you,

God

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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5 Verses To Get You Through Finals Week

Finals are coming up everyone! With that comes additional stress. Who is better to turn to in a time of great stress and anxiety than our God?

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As I said before, the semester is flying by extremely fast. We have almost reached the finish line, and with that comes the final stretch. Finals Week. Stress reaches a new level. It feels impossible to study for every final as well as still finishing the last few assignments of a class. When I feel overwhelmed, God is who helps me. Reading the Bible calms my nerves. Here are five of my favorite verses to ease my concerns.

1. Psalms 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble

-King James Version

2. ​Jeremiah 17:7-8

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

-King James Version

3. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed

-King James Version

4. 1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

-New International Version

5. Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

-New International Version

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