Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: doubts

kids drawing depicting doubts

Unqualified for Life

I’m unqualified for my life.

I don’t have a degree in creative writing, but I write books. I majored in psychology so that I wouldn’t have to do math, and go figure, I do bookkeeping and accounting for my husband’s businesses. I don’t believe there is a degree that could teach everything a mom needs to know to raise children, but I’m in the middle of raising three teenaged boys anyway.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

Fortunately, God does.

I love stories, but some aren’t constructive. Especially the ones I tell myself. The conversations in my head fill me with self-doubt and turn me into my own worst enemy. If I allow the wrong self-narrative to run wild, I can talk myself out of anything, even God’s will for my life. Before someone thinks I’m crazy, these voices are quite common, even going back to Biblical times.

Through the burning bush, God informed Moses that He’d heard the Israelites’ cry and vowed to rescue them. God commanded, “Go to Pharaoh and bring my people out of Egypt.” Moses should have had been ecstatic. In Egypt, he’d advocated for ending Israelites’ slavery to the point of killing an Egyptian guard who was beating an Israelite slave. However, instead of hearing his victory cry, Moses listened to a different self-narrative telling him, “You’re unqualified.”

“Who I’m I,” Moses told God, “that I should go to Pharaoh?”
God responded, “I will be with you.”
Yet, Moses’s self-doubt still spun out of control. “What if they don’t believe me? Or what if they listen but say the Lord didn’t really appear to me?” And then, “I’m not eloquent enough.”
God sets him straight, “Who do you think gave human beings mouths? I will teach you what to say.”
However, Moses let the voices in his head top God’s voice and almost missed out on God’s will because he still asked God to send someone else (Exodus 4).

cup and string telephone

Which voice are we listening to, God’s or our self-doubt? What purpose are we missing because our minds told us a story that we’re not right for the job?

The truth is, we’re all unqualified.

We don’t have the skills, wisdom, or power on our own, but God does, and that makes all the difference.

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Boy raising hand in class

It Never Hurts to Ask

Boy raising his hand in class

Have you questioned whether you have the skills to make the team, good enough grades to get into college, or ever poured your life into a project only for your boss to give you another even more challenging one?

My hand is raised.

You would think book launching would become less nerve-wracking with each release, but every time doubts plague me. They buzz about head like bees threatening to sting. This one isn’t going to measure up. People are going to be disappointed. And even if or when good reviews start pouring in, the bees don’t stop circling. You’ve set an expectation, how are you going to beat that? Look at your work-in-progress. It doesn’t come close.

Moments like these, I’m grateful for the story of Elijah, because we are not alone.

On Mount Carmel, Elijah’s confidence was at an all-time high as he courageously announced that he was the only remaining prophet. He taunted the other so-called prophets asking them if their gods were on vacation or sleeping. Elijah had men dump buckets of water on the offering, alter, and wood and filled a trench around it. He then called upon the God of Abraham and fire rained down from heaven, burning up the offering and drying up every last drop of water in a fantastic display of God’s power.

bonfire

Not long after, Elijah swings from a high to a low. He runs from Queen Jezebel, who’s threatened to kill him, and he hides in the desert, weeping and telling the angel God sent to restore him his woes about being the only prophet left and prayed to die. Why is it that like Elijah, our confidence can be like an iron dome one day, but the next, it’s as if we’re trying to grasp water running through our fingers?

We all have doubts—doubts about ourselves, our abilities, our future. James 1:5-6 says, we aren’t to be double-minded. “If you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” Like Elijah, we can turn to God. He’s not afraid of our lows or our doubts. He’s not going to turn us away with a pointed finger saying, out of my sight, you of little faith. God’s going to meet us in the desert and give us substance like He sent an angel to Elijah. Or he’ll bring us up to the mountain and speak to us in His still small voice. He’s going to remind us of His faithfulness and our past victories. He’ll send us revelation and people to strengthen us like Elijah’s successor Elisha.

All we have to do is ask.

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Arerial view of doctor's supplies

The Doctors Killed Garfield

“The doctors killed Garfield, I just shot him,” claimed the assassin, Charles Guiteau. Guiteau’s strange words were not entirely wrong. James Abram Garfield, our 20th President, died eleven weeks after being shot.

Aerial view of doctor's supplies

He’d been on his way to a family vacation at the Jersey shore when Guiteau’s bullet pierced his body and lodged in his abdomen near his spine. Doctors rushed to the scene. They poked and prodded the wound with unwashed hands in an attempt to remove the bullet without success.

In tremendous pain, President Garfield was brought back to the White House where the doctors continued to surgically probe the wound, turning a three-inch-deep hole into a 20-inch-long incision. Infection set in turning the wound into a puss-filled, rotting mess. What we now know as germs and bacteria attacked the President’s internal organs, rendering them septic. President Garfield died on September 19th, 1881, technically not from a bullet but the following infection. (Markel, The Dirty Painful Death of President James A. Garfield, PBS.com NewsHour, Sept 2016)

We may not have taken a bullet, but many of us have open gashes festering like President Garfield. Whether something horrific was done to us or whether our actions left a physical, emotional, or mental wound, we wrestle with the negative thoughts and doubts that seep in. Guilt, worry, and stress corrode our well-being and steal our joy.

Ephesians 4:27 says, “Do not give the devil a foothold.”

A foothold isn’t much, but it’s just enough to keep a door from closing. It’s enough to let something unwanted inside. Once it’s in, the septic thoughts infiltrate our hearts and minds like those doctor’s unwashed hands. But we have the power to stop them.

2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to, “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

We have the power to rein in our thoughts and take them captive. We can flush out guilt, self-doubt, and shame and rid ourselves of their toxic infection. We can let the blood of Jesus cleanse us – wash us clean.

Sheep in the snow

I find it best to shut off those negative thoughts as soon as they begin. I remind myself I am a child of God, that He delights in me, and that Jesus’s blood has washed me white as snow. When you come under attack, if you still question whether you are worthy or capable of being cleansed of all sin, let me remind you of what the Bible says:

Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Colossians 1:13-14 – For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:14 – How much more, then, will the blood of Christ… cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death.

Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

1 John 1:9– If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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