May 25, 2010

Have you ever been trucking along doing what you are called to do and then be overwhelmed by doubt?  I know I have.  I always hate it when this happens.  I suddenly find myself questioning every decision I have ever made.  I am sure Chris, my hubby, will read this tomorrow morning and laugh because sometimes when I have moments of doubt they can get rather extreme– I doubt my abilities as a mom, as a wife, as a lay minister in the church, as a blogger, as a gardener, as a friend, and on and on.  (Honestly, the last couple of weeks I seemed to be doubting everything I felt called to do.)

These moments of doubt sometimes sweep into our lives from out of nowhere.  We suddenly find ourselves overwhelmed with questions and fears.  We question is this doubt from God?  Or is this doubt not from God? There have been many times in my life when a moment of doubt came that I started trying to change decisions I have made or make new decisions.  This never tends to work in my favor though.  When I try to make decisions in a period of doubt they are never sound decisions!  They are typically emotional decisions I have made out of fear or uncertainty. 

When doubt comes these days, I have learned to do two things.  First, wait it out and make no decisions.  This period of doubt always passes.  Second, and most importantly, I bring all of my doubts to prayer.  I find through prayer, consolation will eventually come.  Through prayer, I will be reaffirmed as to the direction I am heading in or I will be nudged into a new direction. This is one of the great tools I have learned from Ignatian Spirituality.

Prayer roots our discernment in God and frees us from our doubts so we can be the beloved daughters and sons of God we already are.  Prayer reminds us that we are undoubtedly loved by God, and that, rather than doubt, is something worth clinging too! 

How do we overcome doubt in our lives?
Do we allow God to help us overcome our doubt?
Do we need to sit with God and be reminded of God’s unconditional love for us?

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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  1. Rae

    Great post! I have gotten better at not making decisions during times of doubt, and trusting that I had a reason for choosing whatever it was that I chose. But I still need significant practice in praying through doubts. For various reasons I have never had a spiritual director, and sometimes it just feels safer to *not* try to be convinced that something is “God’s will.”

  2. Becky Eldredge

    Thanks, Rae! Praying through doubts is still a challenge for me also. I have to commit myself to bringing doubts to prayer or else I start wanting to make decisions on my own without asking for God’s help.

    I hope no spiritual director tries to convince you of “God’s will” in your life. I believe a good spiritual director’s role is to help us learn how to hear God’s voice on our own, and to journey with us as we discern what God is asking of us.


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