I’m a doubting Thomas,
I’ll take your promise,
Though I know nothing’s safe.
Oh me of little faith.–Nickle Creek
Sometimes, it is not easy to live a life of uncertainty, a life of faith.
A few days ago, I got another rejection from a magazine that I had hoped would publish a piece of fiction I wrote, a piece I really believed in, a piece I really thought was good. But now I am beginning to doubt. I am beginning to doubt myself, my calling, my talent and even my faith.
I feel most in-tuned with God when I am writing creatively. Most of my work as a Christian is tied to my work writing and editing for this very site. So when I start to doubt my writing, I begin to doubt everything.
Faith, like creativity, cannot be proven. I may never know if the God I believe in is real, just as I may never be able to empirically evaluate my talent as a writer or editor. And just like faith, it doesn’t matter how many times someone else tells me that I am good, or that God exists, if I can’t believe it for myself.
So, one big rejection and I am beginning to doubt it all. Yet, I know as both a writer and a Christian, doubt is as essential as faith. I might even go so far as to say doubt is essential to faith. There are no sweeping comebacks if we don’t fall down.
I think to make sure I am sane, I have to doubt. If I am to continually believe in things that cannot be proven, I think a bit of doubt and perspective might help me decide what I want to believe in, and what might just be too far-fetched.
But the most important thing about my doubt is that I don’t leave it there. I work through the doubt, in my faith, in my writing. Will Donnelly recently asked “What if we were to see it [doubt] as the fire-starter it is?” Indeed, I know that doubt can move me to better places as well as bitter ones.
My goal has never been to have unwavering faith, or constant inspiration. I want my doubt to move me. I want to work through my doubt to something greater. I want to have enough faith in my path, in my God, in myself to keep going with my doubts until the universe stops sending me rejections and rings with a resounding yes.
I often wonder what kind of example of faith I can be, when I question so much. Yet, I know that this is the only way to be an example of what I believe–to be myself, and live my life as I feel called, no matter how ridiculous I look or feel. I must share my doubts, when I have them, and my strength when it finds me.
But for now, it’s just me, here with my doubts and my determination. Just a doubting Thomas, with just a little faith–but that’s just enough to get me to somewhere good.