Reflection on Doubt
Written by Sherry Nelson
Deaconess Anne House corps member
Doubt. It’s such a small word with such meaning and controversy behind it. I came into my year with the Episcopal Service Corps wrestling with many questions about my faith already. I grew up in a tradition that taught me it was not okay to have doubts. However, I found that when I began to have conversations with people we had similar struggles in our faith.
I think it is fair to say that most people have at some point in their lives questioned if God really loves us or even exists. The specific doubts are different and these are just two broad categories that many questions fall under. While there is a stigma with having doubts, I find that the most meaningful spiritual conversations have centered around them. The most growth happens when we truly take the time to examine what we believe and why. If we don’t ask questions and seek answers than it is easy to remain stagnant in our faith. It seems common for us all to want to deepen our faith, but sometimes it’s harder to take the steps to get there.
I believe that doubt can be a helpful thing. I have appreciated the people with ESC who have listened to me voice questions and encouraged me in doubts. This is an especially formative time in our faith for us as young adults. If we are unable to be honest about where we are in our faith, than that would be unhealthy. I appreciate the space I am given to live with doubts and grow from them. Sometimes people think of you more respectfully when you simply say “I don’t know” instead of giving a cliche answer. I don’t necessarily think it’s okay to be comfortable with doubts forever. There needs to be an active discernment process surrounding them. However, it is important to remember that we are only human and unable to know all. Some things we will never find the answers to, or maybe not the ones that we thought we were looking for. There is something to be said for the journey though. My most meaningful spiritual moments were crying out to God in total honesty of what I was experiencing, the doubts I had, and my frustrations. I still don’t have those answers, but I think I understand my faith better and how it affects my life.