When in Doubt...

Freda Howell McMahon   |   November 27, 2020 

When was the last time you doubted yourself? How did you handle it? Being plagued with self-doubt is not an alien concept for us but we all have our own way of dealing with the insecurity that follows. Quitting is one of the options available to us, but thankfully, not the only one.

Doubt operates with a give an inch, take a mile principle, as personal experience has taught me. IndiAanya is a blog I used to enjoy writing for; in fact, I used to enjoy writing. This year, however, I took a break; shying away from any written assignment. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that others write better me. I was not motivated to learn from their writing styles, to read more, or to even accept my place in the world of writing. I wondered why anyone would want to read what I write, when there are so many better things to read. Validation, it appears, was all I was writing for and when it was not guaranteed, pen and paper collected dust.

Os Guinness talks about living for the ‘Audience of One.’ We live for the audience of One when our lives are centered around God, when His opinion is the only one that matters, and when His pleasure is sufficient. It is a risky business to live for any other audience, whose opinion is bound to change and where love may be fickle. Somewhere down the line I had begun writing for an audience of many, and without constant affirmation, this journey was one I could no longer undertake.

God, thankfully, is not given to drifting, and drew me back with cords of love (Hosea 11:4). A week ago, a friend of mine surprised me by sending me a package. As I opened it, while my daughter looked on with gleeful anticipation, among the crayons and colouring book, I spotted perfume… something for me! It read, “I have only used this once. Saved it for super special occasions. But I believe God is asking me to send it to you. Freda, you are precious.”

Tears welled up in my eyes. Precious... to God...Precious! Precious was not a word I would have used to describe myself. The Bible is full of reminders of God’s love for me, and yet, how easy it is to just read them and not truly believe them. This one note jolted me back to reality. It reminded me of who I am in Christ and it stoked within me a desire to live again for the ‘Audience of One.’

The next time I turned to John 3:16, I didn’t just read it as describing God’s love for everyone, but as words directed to me;

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Growing up this verse had put me off because I always felt like one among many, but now God was opening my eyes to see that He loved me, along with all of you. Loved me enough to die in my place in order to guarantee that I can live with Him. I would keep my daughter from harm’s way as much as I could and yet God had sent His Son to die for me. The word precious does aptly describe us, the objects of His affection.

As I write this, my prayer for you is that you too would know how precious you are to God and the freedom He offers. His love for us is unconditional. While I was learning counselling, we had to be taught how to be unconditional towards our clients but God has never needed such teaching; He is the source of such love. Yes, certainly God is distressed by our sin because He is holy, and that’s why He made a way out of sin for us by taking our punishment.

In these current times, all of us experience doubts about different things. Will we make it alive through this? Will our loved ones be okay? Will we be able to ride out this pandemic financially secure? How long before we can get together with people again? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions nor do I need to. We have the opportunity to know the One in control of this world and our lives and He reminds us that not a hair falls from our head without His knowledge (Luke 21:18) and no situation will befall us where He is not in control.

As we soon enter the last month of this tumultuous year, may we rest knowing that we are cared for and valued, no matter what the world may say or even what we may say about ourselves.

 

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

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Freda Howell McMahon

Freda McMahon lives in a little Goan village with her husband and two daughters. She is a counsellor by profession, a homeschooling mom, and in constant need of God’s grace. Dark chocolate with sea salt, good conversation and solitude are a few of her favourites.

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