Dazed and Confused Faith – 4 Tips for Standing Firm in Your Faith During Times of Doubt, Devastation, and Death
Have you ever experienced something so devastating that it shook your faith, made you feel completely hopeless, and left you waking up everyday in a fog?
I have. In fact, as of the time of this writing I’ve experienced three great life tragedies. I’m no stranger to pain, confusion, and wanting to give up all together (and even die).
But I’ve succeeded beyond my own setbacks. I’ve learned from several world-class mentors. I’ve written two books on human resilience and spoken to hundreds of thousands of people on the topic globally. In doing all of that, I’ve learned there are only a handful of options we have to choose from when dealing with desperate times.
If you want to stand firm in your faith when everything around you is blowing up, here are four tips to help you get started right now:
1. Speak with a trusted and knowledgeable advisor or mentor. I know what you may be thinking: “GREAT! He wants me to ‘talk about it.’” Yes, that’s right. This is my first piece of advice because it is one that will immediately allow you to begin expanding your thinking beyond the walls, borders, and blind spots of your own mind. This will help you ‘get out of your own way.’ The person you speak with may be a good trusted friend, a preacher, a counselor, a parent, etc.
A fresh perspective is often the beginning of resolution.
2. Read. Much like the previous tip, reading allows you to begin expanding your perspective, move beyond your own mental barriers, and gain more understanding. One advantage to reading is that you can do it alone, which means no thought is taboo. You don’t have to be afraid of being judged for thinking certain thoughts. It also allows you to begin drawing your own conclusions, which you can later discuss and fine-tune with your trusted advisor.
When I’ve struggled with loss and pain, three books that made the greatest difference in my life were:
- The Bible
- “A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis, and
- “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl
If you haven’t read any of these books, I highly recommend you start.
3. Pray. Sometimes when you’re going through a rough situation the thought of praying can cause you to feel angry, ignorant, or both. But the truth is its actually healthy. Praying allows you to get the real issues off your chest and express how you truly feel. And to be entirely transparent with you, there have been a couple of times in my life when everything became so derailed and I was so confused that I actually looked at the sky, yelling and swearing at God in my prayer. Something inside me during those intense times became extremely indignant and demanded closure. I’m not in any way saying you should do this or that it’s alright. I don’t believe it to be. I’m just being honest with you.
With no way to put the prayer process into a scientific test tube, you may be skeptical of it and I completely understand if you are. But you’d be amazed at what can happen when you ask God for help.
Besides, what if He answers you?
4. Seek to ask the right questions. A lot of people are looking for all of the right answers, but they’re asking all of the wrong questions. After getting blown up, burned, and nearly killed by the suicide bomber in Kandahar, Afghanistan I began asking “Why” it happened. However, my life shifted dramatically for the better when I began asking “WHAT can I do with this?” instead.
“Why?” was a dead-end question for me because I knew I’d likely never get my answer. But even if I did, it wouldn’t change what happened. However, the question of “What?” was an open-ended question with infinite possibilities.
Doubting your faith doesn’t make you bad. It makes you normal. You will never grow in any area of your life unless you are challenged.
If you’re looking for real answers, seek to ask the right questions.
If you’re struggling, take action on these four tips.
You don’t have to live in a fog anymore.
Question: What would be your first piece of advice for someone going through hard times? Leave a comment below: