Friday, April 30, 2010

Second Guessing

Do you ever catch yourself second-guessing your lifestyle decisions? I do regularly and that's where I have been.

Back in my 20's I was oh-so-confident. I was unbudging and unyielding in the beliefs and ideas that I held dear. I lived my life with conviction that my choices were right and good and true. They say (or rather He says) that pride goes before a fall. And boy did I fall.

I found myself in the midst of a very abusive and controlling spiritual situation. It didn't happen happened over a period of years. This was years of my spiritual life and beliefs being slowing eroded and undermined and replaced by someone else's way of thinking. After I left this situation, I was a spiritual and emotional and physical train-wreck. Post-traumatic stress disorder in all of its ugliness. I had been broken and humbled. I had been the one who knew I would never fail at anything in life...and now all that self-righteous pride was shattered. I had failed as a wife, a mother, a family member, a friend, and as a follower of Jesus.

The good news was that my "failure" brought me to a place where I could finally taste the goodness and greatness and sweetness of the grace of the Gospel of Jesus.

However, an unfortunate consequence of that situation has been that I don't trust myself or my decision-making. I realize how easily I can be deceived so I want to live humbly and trusting in God. In every decision that we make (whether it's about work or housing or education or ministry or whatever), I feel a bit terrified. I wonder and question whether or not I am hearing God or being misled by man's teaching or following a self-path. As a result, I find it difficult to find joy in the paths that we have chosen because I fear that I am being duped.

This double-mindedness is wearing me down. I want to walk in a humble confidence in the paths that we have chosen through prayer and process. I want to have clear, singular focus and not anxiety, questioning, guessing at every turn. I want to trust God's gentle lead and the intuitive gut that He has given me (that I rejected and ignored over and again through the years). I want to rest in the truth that even when I fail, His gentle correction is there to steer me back to straight paths.

I want to walk by faith. And faith is tough when you had faith in lies that you thought were truth. My faith has to ultimately be in the Person of Jesus and not in my decisions, ideals, or lifestyle. Looking to Him as my Shepherd is the only Way. He really is THE Way, THE Truth, THE Life. So when the doubts and questions come, I look at Him. And I seek to follow Him in His character and ways....and trust in the freedom that He has given His children to choose many different paths/lifestyles all of which can glorify Him and keep us humble in the process.

photo credit


Ashley said...

I struggle with the same thing, and have come to realize a lot of it is probably an indirect result of my "perfectionist" personality...I really don't want to ever make a mistake, so I second-guess everything. I've found great comfort in focusing on the truth: NOTHING can ever separate us from the love of God. Ultimately this is all that matters. I'm also encouraged when I read stories of the "heroes" of the Bible and see how many mistakes they made. If we're seeking the Lord, even our mistakes can be used for His glory :)
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand." Ps.37:23-34

Aimee said...

Thank you Ashley for your thoughtful response...yes, I have to remind myself CONSTANTLY that nothing can separate me from His love...not even ME! :) Your words encourage me today!

Bonita said...

I understand those fears, Aimee. I think it helps to remember that even though you went through all of that upheaval, you came through, because He brought you through. When you couldn't see, He saw and led you out of the mess.

That's my hope and trust, that no matter how big my messes, He will bring me through them and I'll come out on the other side.

Aimee said...

awwww, so true, Bonita. Thanks for your truth-words that help heal. He DID bring me out...when I read the Psalms and read "He brought me about of a miry pit" or "He brought me up out of destruction" I really really *feel* that. Beautiful reminder. I just don't ever want to get in that pit again b/c it was so terrible and terrifying.

Andrea said...

aimee, i think we have to learn to embrace the fact that we WILL fail and we might get into that place again, maybe from our own fault or maybe because of some other reason. but we should never be fearful of that because we are always under His wing regardless of what happens.
I love what ashley said, "if we are seeking the Lord, even our mistakes can be used for His glory."
May He be glorified in ALL circumstances!

Aimee said...

i just want to "fail small" :) that kind of "failure" that I experienced just hurt so deep and long and wide and hurt SO many that I was close to. it took years to see through the muddled mess. I wouldn't trade the lessons learned or the fruit for anything, but I would never never never want to walk through such a dark spiritual/emotional place again. I didn't sense God in my life for YEARS...that was a terrifying experience, but one that taught me about living by faith and trusting that the Word of God IS true and just clinging to it despite my crazy feelings/thoughts/belief system etc. So yes, I know by faith I would be under His protective wing, but don't want to put myself in a place again that makes me so deeply doubt that. It's a heart-struggle for me to REALLY moment-by-moment believe and trust (way down deep where i am really honest with myself).

Aimee said...

oh Lord, help my unbelief!

Bennett and McConnell Family said...

Five years ago this month, Aimee.... Those who walked in darkness have seen a great light! For as long as I live, I will never stop saying thank you - in mind, body, and spirit - for that light!

Jana said...


Sandi said...

Thanks for sharing this.

I can identify with this struggle myself. Failing feels so wrong to me. I am ever slowly realizing like you said that it is God's good tool to show me my need for Him. If I were to succeed all the time would I not think it was me?
I tend toward perfection. And I am growing in seeing that my desire to be perfect is an affront to His death on my behalf. That has helped me rest when I mess up. He died so I could mess up and live!

I found my way here via Joy ~ Memoria Arts. I very much enjoyed my visit.