What to Do When Doubting Your Faith (and Why Doubt Isn’t Always a Bad Thing)
Written by Tiffany Dawn | August 7, 2018
If you’re doubting your faith, you are not alone.
You might feel like the only one, or maybe you’re afraid of asking the hard questions, but I think the process of doubting is normal and can actually make your faith grow stronger.
So if you’re facing a lot of doubts, here are seven things I recommend doing.
1. Ask the hard questions.
If God really is true, then there is no question that scares Him. There is no question that’s going to stump Him. He can handle our doubts; He’s not afraid of them.
In fact, I am convinced that doubting isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in my opinion, it’s simply a normal part of growing in our faith. And I believe that asking the hard questions can actually make our faith grow stronger.
So ask the hard questions. Don’t be afraid of them; instead, let them help you grow.
2. Stay in Christian community.
When doubts come up, it’s tempting to distance ourselves from Christian community—from our friends, church and mentors. Sometimes that’s because we’re afraid people will judge us for doubting. But it’s so important to stay in community.
Find wise, trustworthy people who aren’t afraid of the questions and don’t feel the need to always give you an answer, but will simply walk with you as you’re asking the questions. Spend time with them. Share the questions you’re asking and the things you’re learning. (You may even want to keep notes in a journal that you can look back on someday!)
3. Use lots of resources.
As you’re asking questions, use the resources around you. Here are just a few you could check out. (In the comments, share other resources that you love!)
- Tim Keller’s book The Reason for God
- Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ
- Philip Yancey’s book The Jesus I Never Knew
- Podcasts by Ravi Zacharias
- YouTube videos with John Lennox
- The Truth Project
- The Bible Project
4. Keep coming back to Scripture.
Sometimes we’re afraid to talk to people who come from other perspectives than what we’ve always heard. But hearing the other side of the story can help us really know what we believe in a deeper way. Nevertheless, as you ask questions and hear different perspectives, don’t forget to listen to what God has to say as well. Bring all the information you hear and all the questions you ask back to God, even by searching the Bible.
You may start to understand certain passages in Scripture differently than before, or you may end up believing all the same things you believed when you started doubting. Either way is okay, as long as you are approaching God and Scripture with this mindset: “God, I want to love you by following you with all my heart. And I know Scripture helps teach me how to do that.”
5. Let your questions draw you closer to God.
Especially when you’ve grown up as a Christian, it’s easy to think Christianity is about doing and believing all the right things. Now, don’t get me wrong: It is important to believe things that are true and to honor God in our actions. However, Christianity is about so much more than just that. It’s about a relationship with God!
Doubting your faith could actually be a gift in disguise, bringing you to a whole new level of intimacy with God, where your faith becomes a genuine relationship with God instead of you just trying to have all the right answers to all the right questions. So ask God to use this time of doubt to bring you closer to Him. Share this whole journey of doubting with Him by telling Him about your doubts and questions, and asking Him for help.
6. Be okay with not knowing all the answers.
On this side of heaven, we won’t know all the answers. It’s like Paul said: Right now, we see dimly, partially, as if in a mirror…but someday we will be face-to-face with God, and then everything will be clear (my paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:12).
I used to be really uncomfortable with saying “I don’t know” about any given question or issue. It made me feel like an awful Christian! Now, I’m becoming more comfortable with not knowing. Just because I don’t know doesn’t mean God is unsure!
There will always be issues that I don’t fully understand, questions that I don’t have a good answer for. But that just reminds me of how huge our God is. He is infinite, far bigger than our human minds can comprehend. And my questions have become further proof to me of how huge and wise our God is (see Isaiah 55:8-9).
7. Ask for God’s help.
As you wrestle with doubts and questions, wrestle alongside God—not far away from Him, but close beside Him. Ask Him to open your eyes to His truth, and to help you understand His perspective.
I’m reminded of Mark 9:23-24, when the man cried out to Jesus, “Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief!” (My paraphrase.) He had a bit of faith and a lot of doubt, and he knew He needed God’s help to find his faith. So, just like that man, ask God to help you with your doubts.
I am convinced that doubting our faith is not only normal, but it can also also help us grow.
It’s not a bad thing; it’s a human thing, part of the process of making your faith your own. So celebrate this journey. Learn all you can from it. Stay close to God and to people you trust. And I think you’ll come out on the other side with a stronger faith than you ever had before.