The definition of Doubt – to be uncertain in opinion or belief; to be undecided, to be inclined to disbelief, to hesitate.
I started off this week feeling pretty defeated. First my football team lost in the Super Bowl, so that didn’t help. On the job front, my inbox and to-do list was overwhelming every portion of my mind. How can I ever get all of these demands completed? And even if I fulfill all of them, the odds of seeing positive results seem extremely slim. The negative vibes can sure leave one feeling very defeated at times, ever feel that way?
I had not planned on making this a topic for Average Joe’s Portico but I have been talking with so many people feeling ‘defeated’. One friend running a small business has seen their health care coverage increase from $1100.00 a month to $2550.00 a month for their family coverage. Coupled with other insurance coverage the total tab was over $60k for a one person business, putting their business at a ‘near impossible’ position to make a profit. She had not considered the cost of health care increasing at such an astronomical rate, before making the decision only three years ago to quit her job and seek the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to have her own business.
I covered yesterday tips on how to muster up the inner fortitude in Defeating Defeat. Sometimes it may take more than just dealing with your own attitude, it may take setting up hedges in your difficult environment. QuintCareers has an excellent article on the topic of Coping with Stress in the workplace that is well worth reading. This site also contains tips on building a resume. This past week I have had conversations with several people that are in that defeated mode because of needing a new job. Perhaps this is the time for them to update the resume and toe the line for other opportunities.
Don’t lay around waiting for things to change. If you are in a no hope defeated position, there is no sense in dealing with the doubt, take steps now in Defeating Defeat!
(If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, you have to read the Do you Dare tab to understand the shift, click here before you read below and come on back if you dare)
Recently I experienced a clash (of internal will) regarding someone who seemed to be in major need of defeating defeat. For anyone who says that there is no God, that there is no life beyond the physical people we see and touch each day, then to me, they have their ears and eyes closed.
The latest internal clash started when my wife walked in to a service ahead of me and sat down by herself, oddly in an empty row she normally would not sit. I glanced at her to remember the spot as I was doing the usual gabbing beforehand. Upon making my way in, after a few minutes of the opening song I happened to notice she sat right next to someone I knew was in the midst of some hard times. I mused for a second as I was looking for an excuse to talk to this person and perhaps cheer them up a bit, but I thought little of the irony in being that close.
A stirring began almost immediately in the pit of my stomach. It is not the first time that has happened, but I can tell you it’s the first time I’ve felt the confidence to tell anyone about it outside a small circle of others who know what I am talking about.
But you know what, defeating defeat is only slightly smoothed over with positive thinking. The daring Portico claim needs some more stretching. Positive outlooks and tricks to combat negativity surely helps some. Honestly, I believe it takes a lot more than just positive thoughts in defeating defeat, once and for all.
Back to my internal clash; I recall sitting through the first couple of songs and the word “key” kept ringing in my head. I fumbled in my pockets thinking, oh no, I left the keys in the car or they were lost. But no, they were right there in my pocket. Perhaps, there is a keyword coming up that I need to be thinking about. It made no sense to me.
But then it began to get clearer, I was being prompted to tell someone: ‘they carried the key in their hands to getting out of the prison they felt they were in, the key will unlock their door of despair.’ I knew right away who that message was for, and they were sitting right next to my wife. I began to think, well that is dumb, how do I tell them something weird like that, they will think I’m a nut case or something. So I pushed it aside and decided I’ll just talk to them after the service was over.
But the prompting did not stop. I had this sick feeling in my stomach and I could not tell if I had gas, the heat was up too high, or was this that voice of God telling me again, to go this. I’ve had it happen before and I played around with the thoughts for a time before finally waiting for more ‘ironic’ things to happen to convince me, dude, God is telling you to do this. This time it was more pronounced, the prompting said, it needs to be said, like right now!
Well how awkward and weird would it be to scooch my wife out of the way and say this thing about a key to somebody. So I asked my wife for a piece of paper and decided to write down the message in a concise sentence. The next thing I knew as I was writing, a Bible verse pops in my brain clarifying that this person is really feeling trapped with no place to go. So I pulled out my Ipad and went straight to what was now firm in my mind, Galatians 5:1. Since we have modern wifi, my BibleU on-line tool pulled up about 25 versions of the same verse.
I kept hearing, hurry up. So I quickly glanced through and wrote down this additional line on the piece of paper Galatians 5:1 (GNT – Good News Translation) “Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.”
My crazy heart was beating at full force as I folded the piece of paper. I was tempted and nearly stuck it in the back of my pocket as my doubting side said, this is dumb, just give it to them after the service is over. But no, it needed to happen now was what I was feeling. Soon thereafter I was reaching behind my wife handing a note to the person sitting next to her. They looked at me and smiled and said, ‘who did you want me to hand this to’? I pointed back and said, ‘it’s for you’.
They opened the note up and read it and had a slightly puzzled look, but a glance and hand sign indicated a thank you, I really needed to hear that. My heart calmed down from the pending red-face I had felt coming on as I still deal with that fear that comes with taking any step that requires more than what that inside introvert wants to take. I was quite relieved that this was over and I could get my breath back. I had not listened to a word of what the guest speaker had said up to that point. Now I could finally refocus.
I dropped my shoulders and felt a rush of relaxation and peace settle in. Little did I expect what happened next. The guest speaker said he had somewhat of a prepared lesson to teach but felt, as he called it, a change of ‘Spirit’, he asked us all to open our Bibles to a verse that he said expressed God’s love and desire for all of us. One of freedom and peace.
My eyes turned the size of saucers as did my now, undefeated friend, as we looked at each other when the speaker said, let’s look at Galatians 5:1. We both looked at each other with big smiles, I said, ‘WOW’, and they said ‘WEIRD’.
I’m not sure who got more out of this clash of Spirit that I went through in my head. I know I was merely the messenger passing on a note to someone who needed to hear, see, and feel God’s love. My prayer is they truly found the key to release them to the full freedom that comes not from positive thinking, but from a God who loves us. We are a conduit to passing that message on.
What a rush it was for me though to see what seemed to be a gigantic struggle to just pass on a few words. It was well worth getting over that doubt I was dealing with.
I know for some this type of experience could be interpreted as coincidence, or maybe just fate. I know it was much more. This morning I read a profound thought about faith and doubt. Call it irony again if you want, but I read it in an older book, When Heaven Invades Earth , the day after this happened. It was a right in line with this ‘clash’ I was working through. It states:
‘Faith is not the absence of doubt; it is the presence of belief. I may not always feel that I have great faith. But I can always obey, and do as I hear what God is saying. It is a mistake for me to ever examine my faith, I seldom find it. It is better instead for me to obey quickly. After ‘it’ is over I can look back and see that my obedience came from faith.’
As I go on in my work life, family life, and church life I know I have had a lot of ‘it’ moments when things like the above have occurred. Many times in my more fearful, protected days, I opted to put the note in my pocket or never write it at all. There also have been times where I wrote or spoke what I heard; those are the days where defeating doubt led to helping someone who needed help in Defeating defeat. It comes down to knowing what you have experienced, and passing it forward to another person that may be in need.
We are surrounded by people in need everywhere, the question is do I care enough about them so much that I am willing to risk a little embarrassment to share with them what I have? The more I practice ‘it’, the clearer the message of hope to meet a friend or even a strangers need becomes. There is no greater feeling than the taste of helping, someone,,,, find that freedom that has them in the throes of defeat.