Updated February 12, 2020
Have you ever decided to take a job, buy a house, start a relationship with someone, only to wonder later if you did the right thing?
I have too.
As one example, I’ve often wondered if I should just give up writing, forever.
Writing is very subjective. Ten people can read something I’ve written and have ten different opinions. Some will think it’s pretty good, some will think it stinks. Of course, there are those who may think it’s the best thing they’ve ever read (okay, so maybe that was wishful thinking).
But creating a piece of written content that a lot of people will like is not the hardest part of being a writer. The hardest part is overcoming the doubt in my head.
I believe God has a plan for me and that plan includes being a writer, at least in some form. A lot days, I wonder if anything I’ve written will make a difference. Most of all, I wonder if I’m really doing what He wants me to do?
If you ask yourself that question enough times—especially when you aren’t seeing the results you expect—you’ll feel like you took a wrong turn somewhere.
Doubt is a dream-killer.
Not long after the doubt sneaks into my head, a little voice whispers, “You’re an idiot for thinking you can write. Look at this piece of garbage, it’s terrible.”
Next stop—Quit City.
How do you overcome doubt?
I’ll be honest, don’t think anything worth pursuing is ever going to be easy. I still doubt things all the time but I work through it much quicker than I did before. I remain much more confident in my decisions these days and sleep better because of it.
Here’s what I do—and it works.
First, I pray about it. I ask God to give me confirmation that I’m heading in the right direction (peace), and an uneasy feeling if I’m not.
This doesn’t mean everything will always go according to plan, nor will the fear of failure instantly fade. But it does give me confidence that I can trust the feelings that prompt me to continue moving forward and that if I am wrong, God will work in a way only He can to correct my course.
Then, I talk it over with people I trust. If these people agree that my reasoning is accurate or that I’m making the wise choice, then I can relax a little.
A warning: Don’t talk to too many people. A lot of opinions only make things more complicated. Also, don’t ignore what they say if it isn’t what you want to hear. You’ll likely regret it if you do.
After that, I try to recall similar experiences. I reflect on anything from the past that may apply to the decision I am trying to make. What did I learn from those times?
While our past can hold a lot of pain and regret, it also holds countless valuable lessons that we can use to make better decisions in the present.
Now, for the final step. I check my gut. If I’ve been praying through the entire process, talking to the people I trust the most, and am trusting God to show me if I’m missing something, then I’ll have a solid foundation for make the right choice.
Then, pull the trigger and don’t look back. When the doubt creeps in, you’ll be able stare it down with confidence because you did the right things before you made the choice. You'll feel much better knowing that you did all you could and no matter what happens, God will cover you the rest of the way.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)