Doubt: Leaning Into God’s Grace

God's grace doesn't require perfection copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’m still pondering our Five Minute Friday word from last week. There are several wonderful posts on doubt, if this is something you struggle with.

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I’ve seen it throughout my life. My tendency to doubt. Looking for that teaching job after college, the perfect husband, babies and motherhood, and writing . . . doubt walked by my side through each of these seasons.

Forest of aspens

Doubt reveals itself in different forms. When I really want something—especially when it’s not coming—I doubt that I’ll ever have it.

Or, when I’ve experienced success, and then a setback comes, I begin to doubt that: 1) I’m worthy of that good thing, or 2) I will ever achieve my dreams.

Rainy day

When I’m tasked to do something bigger-than-me (raising children, anyone?), it’s easy to doubt that I can do this well. Will hubby and I teach the boys how to walk with Jesus? How to live a productive life?

Every time the kids and I have an argument, or they push-back, doubt condemns by making me question my ability to mother well.

Leaf on pavement

When I assume more responsibility than I’m designed to take on—when I try to take on God’s role along with mine—I’m going to fail. And doubt will have the upper hand. Again.

When I try to live up to my expectations for perfection, I’ll fail every single time. Doubt strikes when we’ve tried our best at something, and our best efforts fall short in the eyes of someone else. We forget to walk in God’s grace. 

God’s grace doesn’t require perfection; it only requires a yielded, accepting heart.

Father son holding hands

Doubt surges in to fill the empty places in my heart. After something disappointing happens,

. . . when I wonder if I’m really supposed to be pursuing a dream,

. . . doubt whispers in my ear that I’m not good enough.

If I listen, my emotions end up in a tailspin. I question everything I’ve prayed over and worked toward. Doubt leads me into dark places when I allow it to.

Stormy beauty

And there’s the key. When I allow it to.

Have you noticed something missing in my musings? When I leave God out of the equation, doubt barges in. The thing is, doubt can never replace God in the equation.

When I only rely on myself to accomplish something, it’s not going to happen . . . at least not as well, or beautifully, as when I invite God into the process.

Bee on white flower

These are a few steps we can take to overpower doubt and invite God in:

  1. Believe God’s word. Doubt’s goal is to tell us lies. God’s word splays truth on every page. We need to embrace it, memorize it and cling to it when disappointments come.
  2. Remember God’s grace is enough. We’re going to make mistakes . . . to fall short of where we were aiming for. God’s grace is there. Even though these things happen, it doesn’t mean we’re not headed in the direction He has planned for us. We need to lean into His grace and accept it.
  3. When we feel like we’ve fallen short of someone’s expectations, we need to re-evaluate the standards we’re measuring ourselves against. I find that my standards for me are often higher than God’s standards for me. He doesn’t require perfection. He asks for our trust. And, we may need to see if our perceptions of the expectations are accurate.
  4. We need to know our role and God’s role in the endeavors we undertake. And we need to complete our role while trusting that God will complete His when and how He knows is best.
  5. When struggling with doubt, be bold enough to be a Peter. Step out of the boat and call to Jesus, trusting that He will take our hand and lead us.

Dying geraniums

Unfurling geranium

Doubt won’t stop coming around just because we take steps to stop it’s effect on our lives. We need to remember who we are to Jesus, and walk with confidence, knowing we are treasured by Him.

What about you? How has doubt revealed itself in your life? What suggestions  would you add to my list for dealing with doubt?

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11 thoughts on “Doubt: Leaning Into God’s Grace

  1. Jeanne…you’ve captured the nasty doubt cycle so well and you’ve confirmed a lot of what God has been writing over my heart too. It can so easily become a runaway train if we don’t cling to Gods truth – both who He is and who we are in Him. Thanks for the reminder today, sweet friend. I have no doubt that God has written BIG dreams over you with great purpose. xo

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  2. Thank you for these reflections in doubt. When I doubt myself, I look to others because of course they’re doing it right! And, maybe they are… I’m learning to recognize what is perfect and right for one person or family may not be for me or my family. And that’s ok. But, then I’m still wrestling with the doubt and no easy answers…

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    • Annie, I’m oh, so familiar with that comparison thing. I tend to compare my worst to others’ best, and it’s pretty . . . ugly. I love that you’re learning that each of us, each of our families are unique, and that’s not only okay, it’s good. Keep wrestling with the doubt, and make sure you end up on top, my friend. Thanks for your honesty.

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