On the Other Side of Doubt

“Things will never change.”

“Nothing is going to get better.”

“I can’t do this.”

Those are some depressing thoughts, aren’t they? But oh how quickly they weasel their way into our thoughts and disguise their voice to sound like ours. And sometimes these thoughts actually become our own. These are the whispers of doubt that casts a shadow of hopelessness over our perspective, and can so quickly block the promise of God’s power to make things different, to make all things new.

Doubt keeps us from believing things can get better. Doubt convinces us that it’s not worth the try. Doubt shouts from the sidelines:

“It’s too hard.”

“You might as well quit.”

“Go ahead and give up. Just walk away. ”

I have found that doubt and hope cannot live in my heart at the same time. Without the possibility of hope for something different, the possibility of change – doubt wins every time. But I have also discovered that with Jesus, all things are possible and the most likely place for change – is within me!!!

A journey beyond the shadow of doubt will require faith and hope! So many times we are afraid to hope, afraid to believe, because we don’t want to be disappointed. But hope and faith will be required in this journey because “hope looks ahead and keeps desire alive.” Doubt on the other hand, looks down and refuses to take a next step forward.

Yet, the God of all hope calls us, beckons us, invites us to live beyond the shadow of doubt. And He declares:

“Things are about to change – see I am doing a new thing.”

“I am working all things together for good, because you love me and are called according to my purpose.”

“All things are possible for those who believe.”

As I pray and prepare my heart to write a book to help me and others LIVE beyond the shadows of doubt and experience the life-altering, hope-infusing, promise-keeping power found in the shadow of the Cross, I want to know where you’d like for us to go along the way, and where you hope we will end up at the end.

What would you want to see covered in a book like this?

Where do you hope to be on the other side of doubt?
In other words, what would you like your heart, your thoughts, your every day life to look like after you have taken your journey from the shadow of doubt into the shadow of the Cross?

I value your thoughts and really ponder your insights when you share them. You bring such amazing perspectives, and your answers will give me direction in knowing what will be the most valuable topics to cover in this book. So, please let me hear your thoughts by clicking “comments” below. Be sure to list your email so I can get in touch if you win.

As a thank you for all that you give to me, I want to give you the chance to receive something in return. Your comments on this post (and Monday’s post) will qualify you for the $20 gift card to Starbucks, Target or Wal-Mart (winner gets to choose) give-away tomorrow. Since this post is going up later in the day, I am going to bump the drawing time to Thursday at 9pm, EST, to give more time for comments and chances to win.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Hi Renee…thanks for your kind remarks on my prayergifts blog. Your imput was so encouraging to me. I wish I had gotten the chance to visit with you at the conference, but I guess blogging visits are less hurried anyway…

    As you are writing your book, this is what I’d find encouraging and helpful to see…

    I have confidence in the Lord’s ability to do anything, but I just can’t seem to let go and let Him do His thing.

    My doubts stem from my own character flaws…those besetting sins that plague me over and over and over. Mainly food and approval addiction related. I doubt I will ever conquer these strongholds not because God can’t do it but because I won’t let Him.

    When I imagine a life free of these strongholds, I see myself with a healthy and fit body and heart. I see myself looking at a plate of food and saying, “Those five bites filled me up nicely; I’m done.” I see myself thriving on the pleasure of God rather than worrying about what others think of me.

  2. Hi Renee,

    The part of your She Speaks message that ministered to me most was how the “hurt little girl” in you reacted. God used that to bring me a great deal of understanding in my own life on how things from my past unwittingly floats to the top of my heart. I would appreciate more stories like this in your book…stories that help me overcome the past when it attempts to thwart me with doubt.

    Thanks, Renee, for the opportunity to give input. I pray your book writing goes well and ministers to many women.

    Blessings!

  3. Anonymous says:

    hi! I would like for you to include a section/chapter on God’s promises and using them to overcome doubt. Also, discussing the power of prayer in regards to doubt would be interesting and helpful. Maybe different ways to approach prayer or different prayer techniques you have benefited from. thanks!

  4. Renee,
    It’s very exciting to hear that you are writing a book about HOPE! This is something the Lord has been working in me over the past year and a half as he has been taking me and my family through what I call our “Extreme Makeover – Home Edition”! One of the verses which he has been using to teach me about HOPE is Isaiah 49:23 – “Then you will know that I am the LORD. Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Your comment that hope and disappointment cannot dwell in your heart at the same time really resonated with me. And based on this verse, I would say that you are right on target! I am finding that as I make the conscious choice each day (or each minute!) to make the Most High my dwelling place (or, as it is translated in my Hebrew Psalm book – the abode of my trust), I am filled with hope, and disappointment can no longer find a place in my heart.

    I would love to see your hope-filled book filled with hope-related Scriptures and prayers – or better yet, Scripture-prayers! We know that God’s word is powerful, purposeful, and perpetual. It accomplishes what he says it will accomplish – hallelujah!

    May the Lord bless you over and above all you could ask or imagine as you trust in him.

  5. How does doubt affect my life? I think doubt paralyzes me and keeps me from moving forward in faith. I don’t think that faith and doubt can co-exist. You are either acting on your faith or on the doubt. It’s a clever tool of Satan to keep us from doing what God desires to do through us. I have found that focusing on the truth of God’s Word helps counter the doubt. Also by taking steps of faith and experiencing Christ working through me, my faith is increased/strengthened and my doubt becomes less.

    As far as what I would like to see in the book: Real life examples of faith even when doubt arose and the outcomes.
    How do you discern if it is doubt or the Holy Spirit speaking?

    Just some thoughts. Enjoying your blog.:)

  6. I have been telling anyone who will listen about your talk at Shespeaks. Your visual of your shadow on the cross has been burned into my memory and I hope I never forget it. What a powerful message!

    I, too struggle with doubt and feel like I’ve defeated it, only to have it sneak back into my thoughts. I would like to hear about successful times of recognizing doubt before it completely takes hold and Satan wins a battle. I would like ways to defuse doubt and bible verses to support them.

    Thank you for all you do. I attended Shespeaks for the first time so this was my first time hearing you…impressive and inspiring are the words I would use to describle you and the conference.

  7. I like what someone said about specific Bible verses that talk about hope and/or overcoming doubt. I moved to a different part of the country 7 years ago, and it’s taken completely this long even to begin to be accepted here. After being told for so long that my ideas, background, and values weren’t important, those voices start to whisper every time I get an idea. Stories showing how you’ve overcome doubt and specific strategies to use when those tendrils of doubt start to take over would sure be great, too.

    I can’t wait to read this book!

  8. Renee, I met you this past March at the Gate City Women’s Retreat in Myrtle Beach and I thoroughly enjoyed your messages. I have since tried to stay up to date by reading your Blogs. In your new book I would love to read about how Doubt affects the relationship of a mother with her children and also a wife with her husband. May God richly bless you as you continue to seek His face.

  9. Hi Renee, Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment on my blog! I get so excited just to see that I have a comment, then to see it was you, oh my!

    About your book on doubt,I would like it if you could discuss what happens after you do what you really believe you were supposed to do, and it doesn’t turn out like you hoped. Talk about how sometimes we are only called to plant a seed. We may not see it bloom, and that can be really discouraging. Then the evil one uses that discouragement to keep us from obeying the next time. The blessing comes from the obedience and the love of (and for) Christ, not necessarily the finished product we had in mind. I guess that boils down to the fear that goes along with doubt. Second guessing ourselves constantly.

    I am really praying for you as you gather your thoughts to write this book. Like the saying goes, in your greatest challenge lies your greatest opportunity. Go to it, Sister!
    Debbie Giese

  10. The image of your shadow on the cross will always stay with me.
    That was my most powerful moment at She Speaks.

    I have struggled my entire life by constantly comparing myself to my older sister. She always was huge, overpowering, unattainable, and seemingly so much better than I ever could be, but in truth we were both made by God. Two women in his image with their own gifts and graces.

    I would like to read about how women overcome the doubt they have in comparisons. The enemy has used this in my life as a tool in making me feel worthless and never good enough. Praise God I am overcoming that issue! I would enjoy reading about what it looks like to truly live Christ.

    You hit it on the head with Isaiah 43 a few days ago. 43:1 is my life verse.

    Blessings….

  11. Renee,
    I guess for me, one of the things would be wanting to see how to discern when it is God’s Spirit cautioning us not to do something, or just to be careful, and when it is doubt whispering that we can’t or shouldn’t or what could go wrong.
    Also discussing the idea of doubt as you are starting to come out on the road to freedom, and suddenly find yourself doubting that you will be able to make those last few steps to get all the way there, and forever live instead, looking at others running free, and never quite getting there (if that makes any sense)

    I guess on the other side of doubt… I would love to see my heart, even if I get depressed or struggle with things, to be able to remember what God has done for me in the past, and hang onto that hope for the future… I would love for my thoughts to turn to Him more immediately in the future when I have problems or something unexpected comes up… I would hope that my everyday life would be able to infuse HOPE into my children rather than DOUBT. I saw that faintness of heart today in my son during the wait for an impending thunderstorm… four years old, and I thought he was going to hyperventilate… he was so panicked. Where as his little sister was “ooing and ahhing” at the cool clouds. I don’t want my kids to feel the panic and fear and doubt that I feel a lot of the time and try to cover over for them.
    I don’t want to doubt my husbands, or family’s, or friends’ love for me anymore… but at the very top, I don’t want to doubt God’s love for me… I want to be able to take Him at His word…

    Isaiah 43:1 has really become my life verse I think… He has redeemed me, called me by my name, I am His.. powerful… as long as I choose to believe that and not doubt it…
    God bless,
    Heather
    hkudla@gmail.com

  12. Renee,
    I am going to try to post again, I tried yesterday, a long post too, only to have it not send/work. I was quite dissapointed.
    But..Sometimes I feel that doubt consumes me. I’m not raising my children in a godly enough way, I’m not keeping my home clean enough, I wasn’t that great of a Sunday school teacher this week. I was raised with high expectations placed on me, I felt I never really measured up, I was criticized. Because of all this, I just didn’t grow to be self confident. I still struggle with that. I serve at church, but there are times that I wonder if I am really doing it well enough. I try to avoid things that I am not familiar with..Change is not my friend, so, I stick w/ the things I do know, and then try to do them too perfectly. There is a struggle now I am dealing with. We are sending our kids to a new school this fall, a private Christian school..complete w/ tuition and uniforms 😉 Expenses we are not used to. I am a stay at home mom and love it. The struggle…I probably need to find some part time work to supplement my husband’s income. I am afraid to go back to work. There was a position at the school, I should have called to inquire more about it, I thought about it a lot, by the time I got brave enough, the position had been filled. I don’t know what lies ahead of me this coming year, but I hope I can overcome doubt and fear and be filled with much needed Hope!
    Thanks Renee..
    Alyce

    • 2a0Това местенце се превръща в е°»Ã‘‚ÐÂÂрнÐÂÃтивен форум с участието на напусналия Пешка с мнение. Пешка, върни се във форума, като Потребител. Така може да спорим (дискутираме) по много теми, когато си напуснал, аз тъкмо съм навлизал във форума.

  13. The night at the cross I felt God nudging me to go to a specific speaker to ask for a specific prayer. I used the words “I doubt he will return to the church, he has become so cold and harden”. My doubt was coming from lack of faith. I asked for a specific prayer “the prayer was for my husband to return to church”. He had not been since March and it was getting to be July. I laid that doubt at the cross. What I found on the other side of doubt was grace and mercy. As I walked back to my table my cell phone went off. It was my youngest son all excited about the youth car wash they just had. Then he said “guess what, dad is coming with us to church tomorrow”. What a blessing? I had lost all doubt. What I find with doubt is that most of the time until I pull it out there in words or write it down, most of the time it becomes a 2 headed dragon that is impossible to me. Put it down look at it and give it to God. He will give you mercy, and grace to handle

  14. Renee,
    Your idea for this book is so appropriate for me in this season of my life. I would love to see verses on hope to inspire us to overcome doubt. Of course, personal stories that illustrate this concept are also inspiring!

    On the other side of doubt, I would like to see my heart stronger, more able to cope with uncertain times, more able to perceive the lessons that I am learning in the uncertainty. I would like to see my heart full of joy, exulting in God’s faithfulness.

  15. Hi Renee!

    Perhaps in your book you could have some testimonial/stories about various women that have gone through doubt and tell how they got to the other side.

    When we experience doubt we need to have a set of verses that we can go to help encourage us. I think we also need prayer support. A lot of time we think we can handle things on our own and don’t want to bother anyone. We fail to realize that we can be a blessing to someone else by allowing/asking them to be praying for us.

    Hope that makes sense. I will be praying for you as you work on drafting an outline of what to cover.

    Blessings,
    Pearls

    • on the engraving from the pg 31 (coconino) image of the fox beating up the rabbit. i need the text on the book at the book at the bottom right corner. if you can help me out in any way, i’d be most apne!ciativeethapkswhatrverfiles

  16. Renee,
    This is the first time I’ve commented, but I really enjoy reading your devotions and blog. You, like all the other Proverbs 31 women, keep it so real – and that is such a help to other women as we encounter the trials, tribulations, and “bumpy parts” of life.
    Doubt is a great topic – we all struggle with it. My doubts usually center on the practical things. I don’t doubt my salvation, or God’s love for me, but I doubt that He can take care of the problems in my life. My husband and I have been in less-than-ideal job situations for quite a while, and I’ve begun to doubt that God has a plan in all of this. Or I doubt that He can solve a problem in my church, or that He can help me change the behavior of my child, or that He will provide something we need, etc. – I often get the feeling that God’s too big to get involved in the small details of my life.
    If you could address issues like that, it would be such a blessing!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hi Renee – In the same way that “doubt” is your ‘word’ right now, “courage” is my word. God keeps bringing this word up to me…showing me so many ways where I haven’t been courageous – shining his light on so many instances in my past where I trembled in doubt. I need courage to follow through on what I feel that God is trying to show me or lead me to or through. God has such awesome plans for me if only I would be courageous enough to step forward in faith and not DOUBT myself or Him.

    I look forward to reading your book, stay strong and courageous on this journey!
    Anne Marie ncmkgal@aol.com

  18. Hi Renee,
    I am praying hard for you personally, as you go through this journey of writing this book on doubt.

    For me doubt comes in an odd way. I doubt/fear my own blessings and gifts. Isn’t that ridiculas?

    This past year God begin to reveal to me that I was acting ashamed of my blessings…always seeming to apologize to people whom I was ministering to, for taking up their time. Or not following through with something I thought God might be asking of me, because I was scared of what other people would think. It was strange though, because if they didn’t like it I felt better, than if they did. Now, even I knew this was backward thinking, so I begin to ask God why I did that. I knew that the blessing were really His, so why was I hiding them or apologizing for allowing Him to use them.

    As it turned out, God revealed some childhood memories where I as a person with a physical disability was often rediculed when I did something good. Example: accussed of cheating if I got a 100 on a test, or having an older cousin physically harm me when I said a Bible verse, sang a song, or did anything that should have brought approval. I to this day, have family members role their eyes and say negative remarks every time I speak at church or my husband preaches, (He fills in for the pastor) or my daughter sings for God.
    God has showed me this and I have come to the conclusion, that my doubt stems from wanting to fit in and please men (family) more than God.

    This has been freeing! God has turned everything around. He has opened doors for a speaking ministry to women! It is an exciting journey.

    I know this is an unusual slant most women want compliments and want to be noticed. Most women are proud of their blessings and are not doubtful or afraid of using them. Now I can join their ranks and serve Him with a willing heart.

    THanks for the opprotunity to share.

    in faith and prayer,
    Pamela R.

  19. Hello Renee,

    This morning I was reading in Ephesians 6 and reading about the armor of God. The Helmet of Salvation. It really hit me this morning where my doubt comes from. Its all in my head! I struggle with keeping my thoughts captive. I always over think situations and end up exhausted and then I take it to God and say, “okay I have totally thought this out and don’t know what to do, what do you think?” This morning God talked to me about doubting Him. He asked me, “do you doubt your salvation?, do you doubt that I am big enought? do you doubt my answers? do you doubt my love for you?” Wow!

    So this morning I have adjusted my Helmet of Salvation as to protect my thoughts/head against these doubts!

    Thank you Renee for leading me to the heart of God through your posts this week!

    Nichole

  20. Renee,

    I heard a 6 year old girl once whisper to herself, “‘Hope’ is the most beautiful word!”

    She was drawing a picture of a heart with wings. This little one was a participant in a class for children whose parents were divorcing. She was making a card for another child who had missed several sessions of class and wanted to let him know that Jesus could give his heart wings.

    That moment was beautiful beyond explanation. I cannot hear the word “hope” without thinking of her.

    Onward,
    Lisa R

  21. Renee,
    I’m so glad you are writing this book. I would like to see the root causes of fear define and illustrated and then for each root cause the action or demonstration on how to overcome the root cause. It needs to be applicable so there are concrete steps that women can take to make changes in dealing with doubt. Personal stories and illustrations always drive the point home.

    Doubt is just the mask that covers a slew of root causes. Doubt is such a big, ugly, and ambiguous word since it means different things to different people that is why getting the root cause could help your audience figure out what their triggers are that fosters doubt.

    Put me in that boat because I struggle with doubt, too. God is the only one who can replace our doubt with boldness and courage.

    God bless you during your writing process.

    Tonya Mankin
    tmankin@cox.net

  22. Those words penetrate my soul.

    As I hear the words “things are about to change” my doubt replies “ya, when? It’s been a year and my heart’s still broken and still consumed with this cloud of heartache. When I ask?”

    I KNOW the Father is in the midst of my life. I know He is working. I know this is dependent upon His child (my beloved) allowing Him to move. It’s just so hard to hear message of God’s got something great. Yes, He’s done a miraculous change in my life and I’ve forever grateful that He’s brought me back to the Throne during this marital trial. I would not ask for my beloved back if it mean returning to where I was in my heart with Jesus. But I ask when will my heart stop yearning for what others have and what I had with beloved. When will my beloved see the light of Christ and know His Truth and not what the enemy has deceived him to believe. How can a Christian man be deceived so gravely by the dark one?

    You know these depressing thoughts you mentioned come into my mind and at times penetrate my heart. I know them not to be true. I know the power of God. But after so many months and now over a year and no sign of God’s power changing His child, my beloved. I ask how long? I know it will come yet I still ask how long.

    Wow, not sure from where all that came. I guess the Lord wanted me to share it from my heart.

    If by a slim chance I win, you can click on my name and go to my blog to email me. Or my email is set up that you can simply reply to this comment.
    In His Grip,
    Paula

  23. My father always says this (as it pertains to any life situation that crops up to cause stress, doubt, unbelief, etc.).

    “The best is yet to be. This “now” is simply training ground for that best.”

    That’s where I want to be on the other side of doubt…

    Living and breathing the truth of my Father’s words even as he lives them. Believing that God is, in fact, working all things out. I don’t want it to be God-speak. I want it to be my “life-speak.” I want it sown into the way I do life, everyday.

    No fear. Only the embrace of the steps that present myself in the big and in the mundance. Simply living each day with kingdom perspective.

    peace~elaine

  24. hi renee…
    first off…thank you, thank you for allowing God to minister thru you. I have not heard you speak in person but your blog blesses me time and time again.
    for the book…scripture prayers and personal testimonies would be great. and just really getting the point across how much our thoughts have an affect on our lives and we need to keep them in captivity and get in the Word so our mind is full of that instead of doubt.
    Be blessed knowing you are a beautiful daughter of the most High King.
    In Christ….laura

  25. Hey Renee,

    On the other side of doubt, I want to be stronger in my faith; more confident in my walk. We are more than conquerors!

    I know my Lord loves me with all of His heart, but the devil has a way of making you doubt things that God has already set straight. I want to be better at discerning God’s truth from satan’s lies or half-truths.

    I don’t want my doubts to hamper God using me. I don’t want my doubts to lead me to a place where I listen to them more than I listen to my Father. I don’t want to grieve the Lord with my doubts.

    I don’t know if you have been keeping up with Joy’s posts over at http://princessjoyful.blogspot.com/, but I tell you what…she has made me wish that I was there to hear your message. I really would like a copy of the message if it’s ever made available.

    Prayers and blessings,
    Rebecca

  26. Hi Renee!

    I guess my biggest struggle is how do you decipher the difference between doubt and fear and God’s call to wait or go a different direction?

    Does this make sense?

  27. I think the opposite of doubt is confidence. And not “Self” confidence, which focuses on self-esteem (esteeming one’s self.) But a God confidence that comes from esteeming God as who he is, and who we become in him.

    I mean, I am nothing alone, but with God I am the daughter of a king.

  28. I just recently “found” this verse in my quiet time, and think it very relevant to the topic of doubt. I Cor. 15:19 “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” This really speaks to me when I am tempted to doubt. I mean, who wants to be pitiful? Doubting makes me have a “pitiful hope.” That very thought is enough for me to dig my heels and and fight the good fight. Maybe its just my competative nature, but that really ministers to me. This may seem “off” to some, but I Thess. 5:8 speaks of using hope as the helmet of salvation. To me, that is my weapon against the enemy’s attacks on my mind. Thanks so much for all you do in the Lord.
    In His love and hope,
    Karan
    kstandley@windstream.net

  29. Renee – I’m already blessed just by reading today’s blog. Again, can’t wait for your book! It was helpful to be reminded of God’s truth that you shared with just a few quotes of Scripture. I think that as women, we learn most when other women share their struggles AND victories with us. I would love for you to do just that. Your transparency and vulnerability in your writing and speaking are such a beautiful gift and would bless so many! Thank you!!! Praying God’s blessings upon your writing process. 🙂

  30. Great post. Hope. Yes, you are tugging my heart with that.

    I found this quote on hope recently:

    To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.

    Erich Fromm

    Hope is living expectantly. Even more than that, I think it is more and more placing my trust in God. Hope is not a feeling. Hope is not a wish. Hope is a relationship. Because it is a relationship, we do not become desperate. It’s Abraham being told he will be a great nation but waiting and waiting and waiting and then having one son with Sarah. He trusted that it would be a multitude even if it wasn’t in his lifetime. He trusted because He walked with God as a friend. Or rather, God walked with him as a friend.

    Practically, I want it to lessen my anxiety in relationships and my fear of what people think. I believe and have seen that begin to free me up in so many ways.

    I love that you are writing this.

  31. Hi,
    Doubt… such a joy robber. I think that I would love to see what doubt really robs us of. It causes such a chain reaction of other feelings and then actions that follow. Maybe a look into that and then the benefits of faith would be great. I don’t think that there is room for both in my heart.

    Lynn

  32. T-R-U-S-T

    When I’m in a mental doubt tug of war, this is the word that I say over and over to myself. Trust the Lord with all your heart…Trust me…

    It helps my in a pinch moments.

    Thanks again for your sweet comment on my blog. We are back from Disneyland (as of 3am this morning) I am looking forward to getting busy on that book proposal.

    Will keep you posted.

    Blessings, Joanne

  33. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for telling us your personal journey through the tides of doubt but listening to God and being blessed. Doubt for me comes in the value of myself as a “good” Christian woman, wife and mother. I feel as if I will never measure up. I will never be like the women at church who seem to have it all together: they look great, serve faithfully in church, have many friends, etc. My prayer is that I continue to focus on my personal relationship with Jesus and know how special and loved by Him that I am. Thanks for asking. JD at jdav7@aol.com

  34. Hi Renee – Oh my goodness, I’m getting so much out of your blog. I know I missed the drawing but that’s ok, I was wondering if the book if finished yet!? Just kidding, but I am very much looking forward to reading it.

    I’m with Jami in that I struggle with trying to decide if and when to move forward with an idea when I don’t get clear direction from God. I spend a lot of time doubting that it is God’s will, especially if it is something I would love but seems too good for me.

    I love your heart!

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