When I was growing up, I had so many questions about Christianity, the Bible, and Christian life in general, but my problem was, they STAYED in my head. I didn’t have the courage to actually come forward and ask these questions because I didn’t want to be perceived as a problem or an issue. Now, as I sit here writing this, I wish I could hop back into a time machine and give myself a good firm slap and tell myself to snap out of it.
Let’s be honest: There are times where being a Christian feels confusing and lie things don’t make sense. We read scripture, or find “contradictions” in the Bible and it can feel so tempting to just give up and accept that it all isn’t true. (I’ve been there)
Let me be very clear when I say this:
The Truth Will Hold Up To Real, Unbiased Scrutiny
Here are 4 things to do when you’re questioning your faith:
Yes, all of them. The list could be short, the list could be long, but it is so helpful (and therapeutic) to sit and actually write down all the questions you have. These can range from pretty basic, to deep and philosophical. I remember wondering how Jonah could have survived and not gotten sick or claustrophobic inside the belly of the giant fish, while also wondering the deeper questions like “Why would God even want to create us in the first place?”
At some point while writing, you might find yourself taking a deep exhale and realizing how good it feels to sit back and look at all your thoughts and doubts sitting there right in front of you.
Why is our first instinct when we are struggling to keep things to ourselves and not share how we’re feeling with others? Whenever I started doubting, I remember how lonely it felt. Being in the church, it can be hard to convince ourselves that the people around us aren’t struggling too. It can also give you anxiety that people may view you differently, or that you may harm their faith by bringing their doubts into their life. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Whenever I have these moments of feeling alone, I think to myself: “If someone in my life was struggling with their faith, would I want to know?” The answer was always yes, so why shouldn’t I give my friends that same right to help me?
BRING. YOUR. QUESTIONS. Bring all of them. As someone who worked in youth ministry for a short time, I can tell you pastors LOVE when you come to them with questions like this. The reason pastors are in that position is to support their community in a variety of ways, and if your questions are about the Bible and Christianity, then why wouldn’t you want to take them to someone who literally studied that book and understands it way better?
Am I saying you’ll walk out of that meeting with every single question answered? No! But there is nothing wrong with digging deeper and looking for the answers. Ask these to people in your life. Ask it to your parents, friends, and family members, finding these answers with others may help them too!
(Life Hack: There’s also nothing wrong with meeting with other pastors in other denominations as well. Understanding what other denominations believe and why they believe it can only help you deepen your understanding of Christ, and Christian culture)
This is one thing that a lot of Christians have a hard time with. If you were raised in any sort of evangelical or fundamental household, you may have been told that your doubts were because you “didn’t have enough faith” or “just believe”.
It took me way longer in my life than I care to admit, but when I started challenging my beliefs with archaeological, historical, and scientific data, I found my faith getting deeper, and myself having a better understanding of the Bible. (Podcasts on apologetics are extremely helpful for this)
You might actually start seeing that the concepts Jesus taught are supported by data as being effective for communities and also our own mental health. You might start seeing that the historical data of Jesus’ life line up with scripture. It’s amazing what starts happening to your faith and mental health when things start lining up and making sense.
Please know that if you are feeling bad or guilty for having doubts, you are not alone. MOST Christians go through a time when things aren’t making sense, and how they handle what comes after that can have a huge impact on their life.