Recently I’ve been experiencing some difficult times. Without going into a lot of detail, it feels like the load on my back is more than I can manage.
By no means do I pretend that somehow makes me worthy of special attention. We all have challenges in life. In fact, that’s why we are here — to experience challenges while in mortality. So I don’t feel any pity for myself. I simply feel the weight of my burden. It’s heavy.
Moments like these can be especially dangerous. That’s because moments like these make entertaining doubts extremely easy. And doubts are very corrosive, not just to faith but also to our sense of well-being. Doubt can rob us of the joy God wants us to have every single day. Entertaining it truly places us in great peril.
The danger of doubt
I’m not using hyperbole to make a point. Entertaining doubt is dangerous precisely because it corrodes faith, and faith is essential to experiencing joy. When we doubt, we stand in our own way to our own happiness.
Of course, not all doubt is dangerous. Some doubt actually is healthy. Asking questions shows a well-trained mind, so long as we avoid questioning what we know to be true.
Once you know for yourself something is true, you have no need to re-examine it. You can go forward building on what you know to be true and asking questions where you don’t yet know one way or the other. In those areas, doubt can be very friendly and promote good mental health.
Doubt becomes dangerous when we start questioning what we already know to be true. For example, I know the Book of Mormon is true. I don’t need to keep asking if it’s true, and I can use my knowledge of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to ask questions in other areas. If I were to continue asking about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, I’d waste my time going around in useless circles of questioning. There would be no growth, and thus there would be no joy.
If you find it easier to listen to your doubts, you need to train yourself to doubt your doubts. The best way to provide that training is with positive self-talk. You need to be more attentive to the messages you give yourself.
A common way we give ourselves those messages is with thoughts that run through our minds. If you call yourself a demeaning name when you make a mistake, or you think to yourself your blunder is just one more log on the fire of being denied your righteous blessings, then you’re training yourself to be your own worst obstacle.
You need to catch yourself when those messages come, reject them, and then replace them with positive uplifting messages. Instead of calling yourself something demeaning, forgive yourself and resolve to improve. Instead of collecting evidence for why your blessings won’t come to you, collect opportunities to improve and keep reminding yourself that you will succeed if you never surrender.
Negative messages can come to us through the media we choose to embrace. If you take in negative messages of hopelessness and despair, then it shouldn’t surprise you when you begin to doubt positive messages of hope and encouragement. You’ll find it easier to believe those messages may be good for others but just don’t apply to you.
That’s why daily prayer and scripture study are so important. They provide opportunities for us to remember who we really are, helping us to believe in positive messages more readily. Regular temple attendance can have a similar impact. Life’s all in how we approach it.
Break free of the habit of fear encouraged by negative self-talk. Embrace a habit of faith by promoting positive self-talk. The blessings you want probably won’t come overnight, but they most certainly won’t come if you refuse to change the habits that influence others to choose against you. No one wants an eternal companion, let alone a life partner, who they can’t believe in. And why should anyone believe in you if you don’t believe in you? Most people won’t.
I believe in you, though. I don’t care where you are from or what has happened to you. So long as you breathe and possess a coherent mind, you have the ability to do incredible things. The first step to realizing that ability is to believe in yourself and nourish within your soul positive messages that promote faith and encouragement.
Doubt your doubts and send them packing. Your blessings won’t come overnight, but the journey there will be much more enjoyable when you truly believe your blessings are there for you to have and you treat yourself worthy of those blessings.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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