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The Valley of Doubt

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May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

“…yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil.” I said.

And my friend replied, “How about we say, the valley of doubt, it doesn’t sound so drastic.”

We laughed. Doubt has been weighing on my mind and heart lately so I thought I’d share a little bit of my processing. Maybe it will help you too?

Almost one year ago we weathered Hurricane Irma. I took this video as we rode out the storm behind hurricane-proof windows. What a sight! And when you’re in the midst of it you wonder what you’ll come home to when it passes.

This was it! We ventured back into our neighborhood, driving through the streets of downed trees and power lines and saw the flooding and loss. Luckily our house was standing and no windows were broken and our power came on that day! A total miracle as many were out of power for weeks.

Yet why is it one year later we still have a roof that needs replacing? I heard a statement from someone yesterday that made sense to me.

“If the insurance company can deny, delay or discourage your claim long enough then eventually you will go away.” (…most people anyhow…they just don’t know who they are dealing with!)

Well isn’t that just like life? I smiled and asked this gentleman to repeat what he called the 3 D’s and I felt he was on to something.

Deny. Delay. Discourage. And all that causes Doubt.

If those are the tactics used in the business world to not pay legitimate insurance claims for a roof that needs replacing then how could those 3 D’s also be causing us to ‘go away’ from God?

I thought about it.

Last week I was in the Dark Valley of Doubt and it looked something like this…

“I’m not good enough to do anything significant. God doesn’t really need me. There are so many others. In fact, others don’t really need me. They are busy and have their lives. Why do I care so much? What’s the point of all this? Why did this book come through me? What do I do with it now? If anything…” and the mind spins on and on and on incessantly.

So much so that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was feeling tired and drained.

I was denying myself the confidence to move forward in the gifts God has given me.

I was delaying taking action. My last blog was almost a month ago.

I was allowing discouraging thoughts to continually plague my mind.

And I think if there is a Devil (look at all these D words!!) that is where he lives. In the D’s.

If he can get you caught up in the web of denying yourself of the thoughts that you CAN do something to make a difference, if he can tell you to just do it tomorrow or he can discourage you from doing anything at all then he has won. Doubt will take over and you’ll be Dead in the water.

Eventually, you will just go away feeling like God is distant. Your claim for greatness and success, your right to live out your purpose and help others find themselves in the midst of God’s love, will be Denied.

Enough is enough. I could see myself circling this mountain of Doubt and I knew I had to do something about it. NOW.

So I started by listening to a new podcast Oprah’s Masterclass.

I heard Shaquille O’Neal talk about his love for his step-father who pushed him to be one of the greatest NBA players ever.

I heard Justin Timberlake talk about his gut feeling to leave N-Sync and go out on his own when they were at the height of their popularity and how no one understood why he would do that.

I heard Jay-Z talk about starting his own record label because he couldn’t get signed and the confidence it took to pretend he was selling records like Universal when in fact he had sold none yet.

I heard Reba McEntire talk about losing 8 members of her band in a plane crash and how Dolly Parton offered her band as a backup so she could finish her tour…and how painful that memory still is for her 20 years later.

I heard Alicia Keys talk about growing up in the projects with her single mom, a no-nonsense para-legal, and how she had to present a well thought out argument to pursue music instead of college.

I heard Dwane Johnson share that his greatest job on earth is being a dad to his daughter and that he’s blown away that at 13 years old she told him what she appreciates most about their relationship is that she entirely trusts him.

These are the greatest life lessons that can Destroy the 3 D’s.

People supporting people. Knowing yourself well enough to follow your gut. Focusing on the relationships you build throughout your lifetime.

It wasn’t about chasing money. It was about the journey to greatness and finding the good in tough situations. It was about persistence and belief in your gifts. It was about timing and one person opening the door for another.

It was about learning along the way and a willingness to take the first step, and the second, and the third without much surety.

God wants us to guard our minds and hearts from believing the three D’s. He is not pleased when we deny ourselves the time to pursue our gifts, or when we allow ourselves to sit in discouragement or we delay taking action. These all prevent our ability to allow Him to use us to do His work in the world.

Look at how many very successful people got to where they were through the help of other people. Never discount your role. You may be the parent who inspires your child to greatness. You may be the friend who steps in during tragedy.

You are important. Your contribution matters. You are a necessary part of God’s plan and it pleases Him when you realize it.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

…and know that you can claim greatness, not because of you, but because of Who is working through you. Who God made you to be in this world, no one can take away from you.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

  • What do you need to do today that you have been delaying?
  • Where have you been discouraged that you need to trust His plan for you?
  • How will you stop denying the gift He has given you and act on your intuition?

These are not rhetorical questions. These are real questions. Pray for clarity and courage. Pray for the ability to act on a hunch. Pray for doors to open and for people to show up who can help you along the way. Look for ways to help others too.

So simple. Why do I always over-complicate it?