Doubting is Okay

I recently saw a tweet that said “Doubt and die, or believe and live.” This got me upset.

I feel that often Christians expect believers to buy into this ideology. If God said it, believe it. If it’s in the Bible, believe it. Don’t ask questions. Accept and believe.

The problem with this is that we’re not all made the same. Not everyone can blindly accept information. Some of us have to logically find the connections for us to believe. And let’s face it, the Big Man made us, so He understands if we have questions and doubts.

If you have doubts or questions about your faith, or if you should have faith at all, it’s okay. I have doubts and questions all the time.

Have you heard about a guy in the Bible named (well, nicknamed) Doubting Thomas? You can find his story in John 20:24-29. He is the disciple that wasn’t around when Jesus appeared to his disciples when He resurrected. The disciples then told Thomas that Jesus had come back to life (insert Hank Azaria’s voice from Night at the Museum 2)! Thomas’ response was pretty much: bros, I just gotta see Him for myself, or I’m not gonna believe.

He gets the nickname Doubting Thomas for having a pretty natural reaction to the situation. Would you believe that someone you were close to that died came back to life? Probably not. Or you’d think that it was some sort of a sick joke. You may wish that they came back, but the odds of that happening are zero to none. But once he saw Christ, living and breathing, he believed.

When your doubts or questions consume you, that is when it can become a problem. Doubts are supposed to cause you to search and hopefully find an answer or find peace in not knowing the answer.

Not gonna lie though, doubting sucks. And sometimes, it’s hella hard to doubt your doubts. But just don’t let your doubts consume you.

Remember, doubting is okay. It’s just a matter of what you do with those doubts.

Advertisements

Broken

“I am damaged at best, like you’ve already figured out…
I’m falling apart, I’m barely breathing;
With a broken heart that’s still beating.
In the pain, there is healing;
In your name, I find meaning.
So I’m holdin’ on, I’m holdin’ on, I’m holdin’ on,
I’m barely holdin’ on to you”
Broken – Lifehouse

The last few days have been pretty emotional, with last night being the worst. It’s getting close to the anniversary of my really good friend’s death. And I’m getting sadder as the day approaches. And as much as his death impacted my life, that is not what made my night terrible. It’s not why I am broken.

Last night, my friend Alexander spoke in the high school service that I intern at. We had the ever awkward, the ever inevitable, and the ever “why do I have to be here?!” talk. The sex talk. While he was talking about how sex is more than just a physical act, he brought up how sexual abuse victims aren’t told, “Hey, get over it. It was just physical.” We realize that it affects them to the core. After he brought that up he spoke to the victims in the room.

“I want you to know, and the leaders want you to know that what happened to you wasn’t from God. It wasn’t your fault. It was an act of evil. That was Satan. You are not at fault. If you need someone to talk to, come talk to me or one of the leader.” As those words entered my ears, I felt my body shudder. I felt myself turning red. I felt my eyes get watery. I began to think on all the times I was abused. And I utterly felt  broken.

Alexander doesn’t know what happened. None of the leaders know. Sitting there, hearing the words that it wasn’t my fault hit me hard. For years I believed that I was at fault because they made me believe that. I believed that I deserved the abuse. This has affected me in every way, especially in my relationship with Taylor.

When I first met Taylor, I was dealing with one of my abusers being around. I told him what had happened, and I was afraid that he would look at me differently. I thought that he would see me as damaged goods. I figured that he wouldn’t even want to associate himself with me because of what happened to me.

I was dead wrong. After I told him what had happened, he saw me as a young woman with a lot of strength. He was amazed that I trusted him so much since men had abused me in many ways. And now, he even sees me as his future wife!

But the feelings of being broken come and go at times. I still struggle with it, and it might be something that I struggle with for the rest of my life. I can tell Taylor when these feelings come. He reminds me of who I am, what I mean to him and our families. I am loved. I am made whole in Christ. The love and support I have from him and my family will get me through this.

If you have been abused in any way, please talk to someone. Tell a family member. Tell your best friend. Find a counselor. You can even email me: bec.espinoza@gmail.com. Whatever has happened to you, please talk to someone, don’t go through it alone

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/  1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline   1-800-656-HOPE(4673)
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: http://www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home  1-800-422-4453

The Perfect Life

In this day and age, we live in a time where we show the world that we have perfect lives. On Instagram, we often see #selfies of girls that have often edited the photo to make themselves look good or better. I am so guilty of this (although not all my selfies have been edited, just a few)!

Why do we do this though? Is it bad to show our imperfections? Will people truly hate or judge us because we aren’t perfect?

We clearly live in a society that makes perfection difficult to obtain. You can always be thinner. You can always dye those grays. You can get plastic surgery. There is a solution for things, but there will always be a way to take it further, to be better.

Why do we put so much stress on ourselves to be perfect? Will it make our relationships better? Will it help our grades? Will we get richer? Will we find the love of our life that way?

Probably not. And it bites that we get upset over others imperfections.

My lovely boyfriend, Taylor, has ADD. He chooses to not take any meds to manage his ADD. When we first met, I knew something was different. I noticed his rapid eye shifts, his slight head turns to a noise he could hear from afar, the distracted looks he’d make when I would try to talk to him. He eventually told me that he has ADD. I could hear the slight tinge of fear as he uttered the words “I have ADD.”

I ended up finding out that in previous relationships his exes would get upset, even to the point of yelling at him for his ADD showing. That broke my heart. It’s a part of who he is, but it is not who he is. I love him even more because of his ADD. He sees the world differently, and it’s amazing!

Now I’m not telling you this to say that I’m an amazing girlfriend for loving her boyfriend with ADD. I’m saying that what others would say is an imperfection, we should see as something that makes someone unique and their own person.

We have all been created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28), and He saw what He had made and said that it is good (Gen. 1:31). If God has uniquely created us, why should we have to perfect ourselves? Why should we judge others for being imperfect?

If you have an imperfection that you don’t like, and you can change it in a healthy manner, go for it. I’m not saying that you can change and make better choices for yourself, just please don’t make changes to please others or to make it seem like your life is perfect.

The only One that can make our lives perfect is God. He has made us perfect in Christ, so let us look at others the way God sees them: forgiven, loved, and whole.

“We’re all searching for something. They’re looking for you; we just want to help them find you.”

It was a snow day here in Eugene, OR, and my classes got cancelled (internal shouts of joy)! I stayed home and worked on quite a bit of my homework. I also got the chance to watch The Internship staring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. The title for this blog post is actually a line from the movie. It always stuck with me, and I just love it.

While I was watching the film, I was googling how to start up a coffee business and seeing if I can become a barista at a local coffee shop around here. The thing I’m currently searching for is way to bring a little (or a giant) cup of love to people, all while using fair trade products and donating a percentage of income to a charity every month (way to make myself sound like a hipster). I mean, I honestly want to work with people. I want to show them that they matter and that they are loved. If I do that, I feel like I’m living out what God has called me to do.

Loving people is what God has commanded His followers to do (“… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39). Owning a coffee shop would do just that, right? Excellent customer service, donating funds to help out organizations that help people, and even serving the homeless (and when I get my Masters in Counseling, maybe hold sessions in a cute little private nook). I have so many ideas that would help make the place where I can hopefully open up a shop better. I want to be able to show people love.

That’s what I think everyone is ultimately searching for. Love is all around us (and it’s not because of Valentine’s Day being around the corner either). Without love, we lack drive. When you love something or someone, you do your best to give it or them the best you have, right?

I honestly wish I could just love people all the time. I want to make their day better, make them smile, make them feel like they matter. I see so much worth in every person, and I just wish I could tell them without sounding like a crazy person.

I want to start a revolution. I want people to know love. I want people to know that they matter. I want people to know that I genuinely care. That’s my prayer, and I hope it’s yours too.

For the First Time in Forever

For the first time in forever (yes, this is a Frozen reference, which I saw today!), I went to the driving range with my boyfriend Taylor. The last time I was at the driving range was July. Over six months of not swinging a driver will definitely show.

Now, I’ve only been “playing” (the quotes are because I don’t really play) golf since April of last year. I’m not that good of a player, my form could use a lot of help, and I still get sore.

I always wanted to try golf. Every time I went mini golfing, I always tried to mimic Tiger Woods. I knocked the wind out of my sister, and I gave my brother a huge bump on his head. I got in trouble for physically hurting my siblings, but no one ever thought to actually get me into golf.

It wasn’t until Taylor and I started dating that I actually got a chance to try golf. He was on our college’s golf team, and he has played for half his life. His form is amazing; his drives are far, and he is just a natural at it.

Then there’s me, amongst those that have played golf for several years. I awkwardly try to position myself as try to swing. I rapidly change my stance from one awkward position to the next. I can feel Taylor’s loving eyes fixed on me as I’m about to swing. I take a deep breath, and I swing. The ball doesn’t seem to go past 50 yards, and Taylor asks me where my weight is on my feet. He knew exactly what I was doing wrong, and he knew how to remedy it, just by looking.

You must be wondering if I listened. I did. I shifted my weight, and the distance just about tripled.

I think often times, I’m still that awkward golfer in life, namely my faith. I work with middle schoolers and high schoolers at my church. I watch them grow, and hopefully they love Jesus more and more. As I put together the studies I will use for my small groups and the discussion, I lack the drive to ask those that are experienced.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with asking someone for help. It’s even better when you’re asking for help from someone who has more experience than you.

But if you’re anything like me, you’re stubborn and you want to do it on your own. Proverbs says that pride comes before a fall. I hope that I see that I am wrong before I fall. That I can ask for help before I cause a young to fall. The area where I see God calling me, I want to do the best I can to help young people. I want them to see God in me, but they can’t if I’m prideful.

I need to surround myself with experienced Christians that can guide me and mentor me. They will be able to loving look at my work and tell what I am doing wrong, and what I am doing write. I know what I’m supposed to do, and I hope I do it.