I COMPLETED THIS 24” X 41” Oil about ten years ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t date it at the time. It is one of only a few I’ve painted this large in either Oil or Acrylic. I like the composition and quiet seclusion of the winter cabin setting. It’s one of four seasonal paintings this size that we rotate on one Art wall of our living room.
Why choose this for today’s Thought—Doubt? The subzero Minnesota wind chills we recently endured cause some to doubt Spring will ever arrive! On top of that, others are doubting we’ll ever get our vaccinations and safely land on the other side of COVID restrictions. Take heart! I often quote the King James Bible translation where “and it came to pass” appears 463 times!
HAVE YOU EVER experienced doubts? Do you have current doubts? I see three questions needing an answer: Exactly what are doubts? Are doubts a ‘good’ or a ‘not-so-good’ thing? How can I best deal with my doubts?
What are doubts?
“DOUBT IS A MENTAL state in which the mind remains suspended between two or more contradictory propositions, unable to be certain of any of them. Doubt on an emotional level is indecision between belief and disbelief.”–Wikipedia
Others suggest doubt is a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction about (something); to believe that (something) may not be true or is unlikely; to have no confidence in (something or someone). Some common synonyms of doubt are mistrust, skepticism, suspicion, and uncertainty. While all these words mean “lack of sureness about someone or something,” doubt suggests both uncertainty and inability to make a decision.
Understanding Synonyms and Antonyms may help in defining doubts. Synonyms: indecision, uncertainty, vacillation, irresolution, misgiving, suspense, hesitancy, distrust, suspicion, quandary, perplexity, skepticism, incredulity, ambiguity. Antonyms: include conviction, credulity, confidence, decision, assurance, belief, certainty. Any of this ring a bell? Next question…
Is doubt a ‘Good’ or a ‘Not-so-good’ thing?
MY ANSWER WOULD BE: It depends. I see doubt as a potentially ‘good thing’ (expressed by one or more of its Synonyms) as you sit in the first day of a new class with a feeling of hesitancy or uncertainty. When we face nearly any new challenge or unknown there is a degree of doubt involved. In that sense, we will not grow and mature without beginning with doubt. Doubt becomes part of the natural progression in growth.
When you’ve finished the class and received an acceptable grade; we use the Antonyms to express how we feel: conviction, confidence, belief and certainty. The argument could be made that doubt was a ‘good thing’ at the beginning of nearly any accomplishment in your life e.g. whether giving birth or riding a bike.
I see doubt as a ‘not-so-good’ thing should I allow myself (on the emotional level) to remain in a place of indecision when faced with a new opportunity that requires action. If doubt, up front, keeps me from enrolling in the class, I will never experience that conviction, confidence, belief and certainty of completion. Same is true of having a baby or riding a bike!
How may I best deal with my doubts?
I BELIEVE MANY (if not most, or all) of our doubts are rooted in unawareness or lack of knowledge. We’re on the threshold of a new experience but pretty much at a loss as to what to expect. How do you best deal with this? Ask questions before you start. Ask to read from someone’s report who completed the class…has given birth…or is a bicyclist. Hearing someone’s personal experience can radically reduce the fear factor sometimes associated with doubt.
Doubt concerning the resurrection of Jesus troubled the Apostle Thomas (aka ‘doubting Thomas’). It becomes a classic example of how the testimony of another (in this case Jesus) can erase any fear factor associated with doubt. “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:26-28
AS A FOLLOWER of Jesus, when doubts attempt to enter your mind, stop to…
…Remember: You are not alone; “The Lord is my [your] shepherd” Psalm 23. Remember: God’s love for you has not changed; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 Remember: “Never will I [Jesus] leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Evidence says your doubt can become a “Good” thing! Will we allow it?