Every once in a while I find myself fighting with doubt. We’ve all been there. Doubt is the uncertainty of something or a situation, and it isn’t a bad thing to have. If it weren’t for this feeling, we wouldn’t investigate or examine things to the fullest. We would blindly believe anything. But struggling with doubt can be difficult. Perhaps you have experienced something similar to a particular situation of mine. Let me describe it for you.
I’m getting ready to go to bed after a long day. I brushed my teeth, put on my pj’s, and climbed into bed. Just as I am about to turn off the light, and get a good night’s rest, I see it, eight legs, beady eyes crawling across the ceiling above my bed.
Now, I don’t suffer from arachnophobia, but I certainly don’t want this uninvited guest to join me in bed either. Who knows what it would do once the lights went out? So, I decide it absolutely, positively, must go.
This particular fellow is a “northern yellow sac spider,” Cheiracanthum, mildei. We commonly find them in houses on the ceiling or crown molding. They are harmless spiders compared to Black Widows and Brown Recluses and are beneficial in killing other insects around the home. They also don’t get huge or move fast like speedy Wolf Spiders.
I have a choice of methods when disposing of such creatures: capture it in a glass and throw it outside or kill it with a Kleenex®. Since this type of spider invades my home in legions during the spring, leaves cocoon-like webs in the top corners of every room, and occasionally hatches egg sacs in unattended coats, I decide on the latter. Hey, don’t judge me. It’s an ongoing battle.
So I find myself standing, on the corner of my bed, tissue in hand, willing myself to squish the small spider clinging to the ceiling. I know the facts about the spider. I know I am bigger than the spider. All I have to do it push the tissue up against the ceiling, but doubt causes me to freeze. Because of doubt, I stand there having a staring contest with a spider, and it’s winning.
These moments of doubt that we experience in our lives are important in our spiritual growth. We may believe in something, but it takes faith to accept it truly. Doubt can help us get there. Today’s fortune explains the difference between belief and faith.
Belief is agreeing with the facts. We usually believe the things taught to us. We learn facts and statistics, and base conclusions on that data. With my creepy-crawly friend, I believe the facts given about the spider and the situation. I should easily be able to dispose of it.
But faith is different. Faith is accepting those facts not just into our heads, but into our hearts, making it part of us. When it comes to the beliefs about the itsy-bitsy spider, I have to accept them in my heart to accomplish my goal. I have to have faith in the fact that I will be faster than the spider, hit my target, and it won’t leap into my hair. At this particular moment, a heebie-jeebie feeling was conflicting with my faith. Thankfully my faith was stronger.
Every one of us has beliefs, and they can lead to faith. This feeling could be faith in God, faith in a spouse, or faith in the ability to squish unsuspecting spiders. Belief and faith are not mutually exclusive ideas. In fact, they work best together. Believe it or not, when we question our beliefs and conquer our doubts, we make our faith stronger, and this gives us the ability to defend those beliefs.
So don’t feel ashamed for doubting something. Use that moment to reflect on the situation and yourself. Question boldly. Question often. And keep a box of tissues next to your bed.