How We Doubt: Second-Guessing
Second-guess: to criticize or question the actions or decisions of someone; to try to guess or predict what someone or something will do.
Have you ever had a conversation with a child? Usually, it’s not much of a conversation at all, but more like a Q & A. I remember taking my pastor’s 7-year-old son home not long ago. The questions were non-stop!
“Why do you have to use that thing to drive?” (I have a manual transmission)
“What happens when you drive really slow? Will the cops arrest you?”
“Why are we going this way? This isn’t the way to my house.”
“Why did Michael Jackson die?” (Yep, real question.)
I remember the frustration of trying to explain complex things to him in the simplest way. In the end, it only led to more questions. After about 20 minutes of this, I decided it was time for a round of “the silent game.”
“But, why do we have to be quiet?”
Inquisitiveness isn’t just a childhood thing, though. When we’re not fully secure in something, we ask question after question. And when we don’t get the answers we want, we ask even more.
Careful now. Questioning can lead to habitual second-guessing, which is one of the main enablers of doubt. Certainly, inquisitiveness is in our nature. Since Adam and Eve we’ve tried to figure God out. That led to the fall of man. And by continually resorting back to those ways, we put our closeness with God and His purpose for our lives in jeopardy, yet again.
What’s your success rate of taking matters into your own hands? Probably very low, if you’re honest. Maybe you got the job done, but it likely left you tired, stressed, and not much further in life than where you started.
When you find yourself wanting something big, fast—check your motivation before you act in haste and jump the gun. It’s important that our decisions are rooted in the right reasons (Proverbs is a great place to start for guidance), and also that our confidence in God remains in tact. Refuse to do things out of order.
If you struggle with clarity, second-guessing may be interfering. For some reason, we think we can outsmart God. We guess. We assume. We generalize. We over-analyze and over-think. No wonder a good night’s sleep is so hard to come by. Our minds are always on.
Trying to figure out a God who never meant for us to fully understand His ways in this life is not only pointless, it’s wasting mental capacity, rest, and peace you’ll need to really walk in purpose.
Second-guessing says, “I’d rather hold on to what I have because I’m unsure what’s to come will be any better.” This breeds distrust, and distrust is dangerous territory. It blocks out the good with walls that are 10 times harder to breakdown than they were to put up.
Do people often tell you to, “Stop being so defensive”? It may be time to fess up to the distrust that’s taken root in your mind. Yes, it’s irresponsible to be gullible. But, it’s also irresponsible to question every good thing that comes your way and toss what could be God’s favor in the “too good to be true” pile. Pray for wisdom in trusting others. He’ll give it to you.
In what areas have you continuously acted in haste, experienced confusion, or built distrust? Write them down under one of these categories: finance, relationships, family, career, other. Study Isaiah 55:6-13, and then pray with all of this in mind.
Read Part 1: The Biggest Lie Ever Told