Tag Archive | doubt

Life Comes Full Circle


“Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.” ~Author Unknown

In life there are no guarantees…You’ll never know unless you try…It’s better to try than live with regret…What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. All clichés that gained their status because people like me needed to be told the same thing over and over again to spur them into making some sort of decision. Despite me knowing that nothing is more uncertain than life itself, I search for guarantees when making a decision. Even though I know that trying your hand at something with the threat of failing is better than never having tried at all, I sit terrified at the thought of venturing outside my comfort zone. All the while forgetting that this too was once a vague dream that I never thought possible. Forgetting that my life has been filled with leaps of faith that not only worked out just fine, but also brought me some of the greatest milestones in my life. Knowing all I know, why then is it so hard to make a decision and stick with it?

Up until now I have never really thought about it feels like and whether you see it ahead of time when your life is coming back full circle. A picture of an athlete running on a track appears in my mind and I wonder, were it for the markings that demarcate the start and finish line would he know when he has completed a full circle? Would he know he has run the distance he is required to run or would he just keep running until he wore himself out? As I sit thinking of my life and routes that lie ahead, I wonder what more needs to be done to make it clear that I need to stop running. My legs are weary, they feel like they will give in at any minute now, I know I have run the best race I could have run, I know up ahead lies the finishing point, besides a physical barricade to stop me from running further what more am I looking for?

This time last year an ongoing debate raged in my mind about whether making the move to Scotland, and leaving behind all that was familiar to me, was the right thing to do. Similar to where I stand right now, my mind was almost made up but the doubt still loomed and everything within me trembled at the thought of the journey that lay ahead. How could I not tremble? Up until last August I did not even own a passport let alone had experience of setting foot on any soil beyond the borders of South Africa. Even though I had applied for a job here and things looked promising, I still found it hard to believe that I was going to end up here. It didn’t help matters much that the process was riddled with problems and I ended up only arriving here in December as opposed to September as originally planned.

A year later, here I sit with yet another battle raging in my mind bearing an uncanny resemblance to “The Battle of 2010”. Similar to last year, I am unsettled in my life and I feel I have lost my bearings. As much as it makes me sad to say this but I really do not feel like I belong here, I belong back in South Africa, among my own people. Which all seems somewhat strange to me because I had the same feeling of not belonging in South Africa a year ago. As much as people would like to lead me to believe that this should all be written off as random ramblings of a schizophrenic mind, I have enough faith in my God-given senses to know better. Do I listen to the part of me that says going back is the right thing to do, it will bring me peace and reunite me with the life I built for twenty-five years? Do I silence these thoughts and listen to the part of me that says I am making the wrong career move, I am giving up a great opportunity and all I am is just being a quitter right now?

While it might be true that I have not accomplished all that I had set out to accomplish by coming here, I feel I have done enough to earn an A for effort! Whilst I have not progressed up the ladder as planned nor have I travelled around Europe, as was my primary non-work goal when I moved here, I still feel it is time for me to go home. It brings me great sadness to know that I did not do these things and it makes me feel like I have let not only myself down, but also my supporters who were standing on the sidelines cheering me on. While at times it feels like I am quitting on this race simply because my legs are cramping and I’m just too tired to attempt taking another step, I know in my heart this is not the case. Why then is my heart riddled with guilt? Why is my heart so sore at the thought of giving this up?

Truth be told, I do not think there is much that I would be giving up by returning home. I would incur a lot of unbudgeted costs yes, but to me the costs to my heart and soul are way higher by staying here. I am a fragment of the woman I used to be, yet two or three sizes heavier. I cannot remember the last time I went to church, an activity which used to be the centre of my life. I walk around numb because after months of suppression my tearducts have staged a protest and refuse to work. I long for the embrace that let’s me know that everything is ok, that I can cry and be vulnerable it’s ok. I have no one who allows me that in that country. I might have more than I did when I was in South Africa but life feels emptier than it has ever been.

I will not lie and say being here is not a fantastic opportunity because it is. If it wasn’t I would not be torn by giving it up. We often hear people say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” In as much as I agree with this, I also think there comes a point when the hardships that you go through only succeed in making you hardened. There also comes a point where you need to stand up and say enough is enough, I refuse to go through this again. Let’s face it, we can only keep growing stronger to a limited point and after that what didn’t kill you will eventually kill you. The human body was never designed to be immortal and I think we tend to forget that at times. Which makes me wonder then; what good will a brilliant CV do for me when I am dead?

Knowing all I know, having rationalised, gone back and forth and held numerous discussions with numerous people on either side of the ocean, why does this whole situation still seem so hard? Why am I filled with so much doubt? Why do I still feel like I’m looking for affirmation that I am not messing up my life even further?

I would be naive if I believed that the decision would be easy from this point on. It would certainly show that I have no understanding for my own character if I thought I would stop doubting myself now that I have processed and laid out my thought process because let’s face it, that is not about to happen. At this point all I can do to silence voices in my head is just pray. Pray that my heart is in line with God’s will for my life and I will not be shamed in His eyes by the path I choose to follow.

Questions of Faith


For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. ~ Ephesians 6:15

Life is never what we expect it to be. We float through life never realising the danger that lurked around the corner that we just missed, never thinking as we leave the house in the morning that we might never make it home again. Yet, so many leave their homes and never make it to where they were going let alone make it back home. A routine checkup turns into an indefinite hospital stay for others. Some sleep with clothes ironed and laid out for the next morning, to-do-lists and appointments set for the next day and then, with no forewarning whatsoever, just never wake up.

One of the sad realities of being separated from your family and those you love is the constant fear of that call you are about to answer being bad news. Without even realising just how tense you were, you breathe a hectic sigh of relief when you are greeted by a lively, warm voice on the other end that reassures you that everything is ok. Yes you trust in the Lord and you pray to Him to keep your loved ones safe but then sometimes you wonder if that is enough. Did that fragile young child who has just become an orphan because her parents got killed in a random act of violence just didn’t pray enough?  Did the twenty-two year old who’s just died of cancer, never experiencing the joy of independence and the fulfilment of a life well lived die because they did not believe in God’s promises? So many questions pop into mind and if you were to try answer them all you would surely get nowhere.

My life has been filled with so much sadness and tragedy lately leaving me pondering so many questions of faith. To be clear, I do not question my faith, my hope remains firmly implanted in the Lord. I do not ask, “where is God” but rather, “what have we done Lord? What have we done to make you so angry that You allow us to continue to live in this barren wasteland?” My heart breaks when I think of all the pain, the hatred and the sheer evil that seems to consuming this world one heart at a time. What makes a man molest a vulnerable little girl over and over and over again, in school no less? What gives people the heart and the courage to plot and kill church leaders? Why are so many walking amongst us declaring to be Christians, declaring to be godly and yet unleash hatred and cruelty at every chance they get? Is this the life we are destined to live?

In as much as we live in discouraging times  I do not believe it is time to lose hope in humanity and in life. If God, knowing all He knows about each and every one of us, knowing our hearts’ desires, the evil and sin that lurks in us still has faith in us and undying love for us, why should we despair? I believe the Bible when it says, “His compassions never fail, they are new every morning.” I believe in the promise that “those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Which is why I get almost furious with the things that happen in my life. I find myself asking Him, “how it is that I dwell in Your house and yet still I find myself uneasy, surrounded darkness and serpents?” This is where the questions just multiply and then, without warning yet almost always on que, the battle of scriptures ensues in my mind. First witness for the prosecution is Exodus 20:5 which reminds me of God’s stern warning that “(He) will lay the sins of the parents upon their children; entire family is affected, even children in the third and fourth generations.” To which, almost callously I ask, “wait a minute Lord, what happened to nothing can ever separate us from Christ’s love?” Then of course, in an effort to prove that I did not just make this up and to point it out to Him and say, “see, see, You did say it!”  I storm to fetch my Bible, flip to Romans 8:35 and as I read it I feel the rays of God’s smile on me. I feel Him laughing at me saying, “Gotcha!”

As much as I would like to believe that Paul put his pen down at that point and declared us inseparable from God’s love and thus never having to suffer anything(which admittedly is how I read it). There are still four and half verses left in the chapter. Seven chapters till the end of the book of Romans. Twenty-one books till the end of the Bible. So sheepishly I go on to read, “Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death? As the scripture says, For your sake we are in danger of death at all times; we are treated like sheep that are going to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we have complete victory through Him who loved us!”

After allowing these words to simmer in my mind a while, the words of my favourite Psalms start coming into focus like a train appearing in the distance, just a flicker at first before full brightness and clarity. Psalm 42 is very dear to my heart because so many times I, like the psalmist, feel exiled to the land of the forgotten. The land where you have only your tears, heartache and longing for days gone past to keep you company. I too, feel like God has turned His face from me. As if refuses to look my way let alone smile His favour upon me. The psalmist puts so eloquently what I find myself grappling with far too many times; the longing to be with God and be in His presence instead of what feels like exile in a corrupt, rotten land, the heartbreak and tears that come with remembering the good times and most of all the enemy taunting you and adding to the feelings of abandonment.  I love this Psalm because even in the midst of all that depression, he says, “Yet I will praise Him, my Saviour and God.” This always gives me courage because it reminds me that because His mercies are new every morning, He will once again bring back the happiness I once knew.

It has taken me a while to learn that not all questions of faith mean you are questioning your faith. It has taken a lot of training to learn scriptures that will enable me to answer my questions when they do arise. I did not absorb from reading Ephesians 6:15 once just how much the Bible prepares you for. In as much as I get extremely frustrated that I cannot recall scriptures verbatim, I have come to realise what a blessing that is. It is because my memory fails me that I find myself constantly referring to my Bible and whenever I open it I never just read one verse, I find myself reading others as well which bring fresh and also renewed knowledge and understanding.

It is only now I realise and understand yes, Romans 8:35 is right. Trouble, hardship, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger and death cannot and should not separate us from the love of God. In these tough times, when everything seems sombre, we ask Him questions and to find answers we turn to His Word and there we find the truth and the peace that keeps us going because, “He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation, became His prized possession.”

Beyond A Shadow Of Doubt


Birthdays. The days you’re supposed to demonstrate you’ve gained a whole year’s wisdom so that you can be allowed to advance to the next level. Nothing quite invokes extended periods of contemplation quite like a looming birthday and with my twenty-sixth merely days away I have a lot of burning questions on my mind, questions I need answered to prove that I actually learned something from being twenty-five and I am now ready for level twenty-six.

 I’ve always had this feeling that I cannot shake that I will not be around for a very long time. My grand time line for my life does not extend anywhere past mid-forties and not because I’m incapable of seeing that far ahead but because at that age my life just goes black  in my mind.  Thinking about it now, I can’t help but wonder if I have been using this ‘premonition’ as an excuse to get things done and get them done right now!  I do however acknowledge that this might be legitimate, but how can I know for sure? Is it even possible to know for sure?

I am a woman of many convictions and I absolutely cannot cope with doubt. Doubt tends to cause some of my very unbecoming character flaws to rear their ugly heads for all to see. So quite naturally I do not appreciate it very much when I have to spend time, least of all weeks doubting and doubting my own beliefs no less.

There are three things I am certain of in my life:

1) God is the author and finisher of my fate  and He knew exactly how every second of my life would play out before I even took my first breath,

2) God is merciful, loving and compassionate and He is the definition of the word good, and

3) I have a flair for the finer things in life and therefore was never destined to be poor. Yep it’s true! I make no apologies for it!

I am absolutely convinced that all three of the above are true. Number three I have known all my life and have held onto through the darkest times in my family’s life. Even as I slept on floor, didn’t eat meat for sometimes weeks on end, only received new clothes once a year, I still knew that I was not destined to live like that and I knew it was going to end. I remember when I was ten years old my father said to me, quite prophetically, I would never amount to anything in life and I would forever be poor because I am too extravagant. Weirdly I did not believe him even though I believed him when he said I was stupid and wouldn’t get very far in life. Through my parents divorce  when I was twelve when we had to start from scratch, the conviction was there. I think it is therefore safe to say it’s one of those knowing beyond a shadow of doubt situations. But where did such an unshakable belief come from?

I still remember having to scrape my bottom lip off the floor when I heard a pastor say, “Not all good things and not all good thoughts are from God.”  I thought he’d lost his mind but as I sat and listened, it all began to make more sense. You see, the devil’s been a scam artist for ages now and has evolved in his trickery. He knows that he is more likely to fool us with a lie that appears good and feels good and right rather than one that feels wrong. I don’t think I am the only person to have been in a relationship that was ultimately wrong and I even knew it was wrong but was still in it because it felt to right! This revelation of course opened the brimming box of questions that led to me doubting my intentions, decisions and beliefs.

About two months ago a close friend asked me how you know if you’re destined for something and whether it is possible that some of us are destined to not of have our heart’s desires fulfilled. Almost immediately, I told her that that was ludicrous. I was of the belief that God doesn’t put desires in our hearts that He would leave unfilled, this belief I had picked up from a sermon I had heard a while back. Rather than being laid to rest at that point her question haunted me, two months later it is still haunting me! It is not that I necessarily think my original response was wrong, I do however think there are multiple options that I had not considered.

The first being; if satan was capable of deluding us with seemingly good things what would stop him from trying to lead us astray with good desires? Mine for example is to be married and be a good wife and mother. I can honestly say that that is my heart’s biggest desire. One day I started thinking, what if the enemy is using my desire to drive a wedge between God and I? Could he be somehow standing in the way so that I can discouraged and start doubting  the truth of scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11?  Within days my thoughts jumped to the other end of the spectrum…why was I so convinced that it was supposed to be? Could I not tell from all my failed relationships that God was trying to tell me something?  I soon realised that I was caught in the depths of doubt!

After weeks of contemplation, presenting arguments back and forth in my head, I think I am finally ready to deliver a verdict. There a millions of things that we were predestined to do all of which we will do. Then there are things we believe we were destined to do, these may or may not happen. Sound like I am still stuck sinking in the sea of doubt? Let me clarify further. As humans we have a finite view of the world, God does not! What we do not understand is that we are eternal beings and part of what we were predestined for was never meant to unfold on this earth. Whilst things that we predestined for WILL happen, there is no certainty for the desires of our hearts, they will however fulfil their purpose in our lives. I’m a firm believer that every experience and non-experience(if I can call it that) serves a very specific purpose in our lives some purposes we will never get to grasp simply because we are human.

Some things are just not for the human mind to comprehend and I think at some point we need to reach the point where we are willing to stop trying. God is the only one who knows things ‘beyond a shadow of doubt’, we just don’t have it in us to comprehend the space that exists beyond a shadow. Whilst I remain convinced that I was never destined to be poor, I think it would be quite arrogant to think my beliefs will alter what I have been predestined for so spare a thought and a penny should it one day turn out I was wrong.