Doubting in the Shower: College Journey with Faith

The shower head hissed and misted the small bathroom in room 1805. The heat and humidity eroded the cement between my eyelids. As they shimmied unstuck, the shower curtain appeared. Behind that white veil was my morning sanctuary. My burden weighed heavy on me that morning, and I eagerly stepped over the faux-porcelain lip and slid the curtain shut behind me.

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“God,” I said with a salty mixture of disdain and discomfort, “I don’t believe You’re real.”

 

I let the water splash onto my chest. I wondered if I was the only Christian who’d ever said that. I blew the water that had filled my mouth into the downward-flowing cone spouting from the shower head.

 

“Today, I just don’t think You’re out there. And I don’t feel You in here.”

 

I turned around and let the water beat against my back. I folded my arms and let my eyes get lost in the tub floor. I wonder if anyone else felt that way or if I was even allowed to feel that.

 

“I want to believe You’re real, but today I don’t. And if You are real, You’re going to have to change my heart to make me believe it.”

 

Day after day after day, I would do this. Wake up. Shower. Tell God I didn’t believe in Him. I didn’t get it…I had accepted Jesus as my savior almost two years ago. I thought I had already made the decision to believe. Yet there I was, a freshman in college holding onto my faith by a thread. I couldn’t help but feel I had taken a wrong turn somewhere; I felt lost and alone.

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Maybe you’re struggling with doubts right now. Maybe you don’t think God would give your mom cancer or let your friend die in a car crash. Maybe you don’t know why God won’t take away your addiction or your abuser. Maybe you’ve been trying too hard for too long and keep having bad things happen to you. Maybe you prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and…nothing. Maybe the idea of hell or Jesus being the only way to heaven seems preposterous and intolerant.

 

Wherever you’re at…that’s ok. Your doubt, questions, frustrations are all ok.

 

You have permission to be exactly where you’re at. You haven’t taken a wrong turn. Doubt is a part of your faith journey. Everyone goes through it at one point or another–or if you’re like me, at many points.

 

Take heart, though. Believing in Jesus is supposed to be messy business…a wonderful, confusing, marvelous adventure.

 

While you’re traveling, know that He loves you. Whether it’s too dark to see or too thick to move, God’s with you every step along the way. He will never leave you nor forsake you, and He promises to comfort you through the tough spots. He will leave His entire flock to find you when you’re lost. He is faithful and always waiting for you when you wander. He is patient with your fears and frustrations. He invites your doubts and questions. You can lean into Him with ALL of that.

 

For weeks, I did. I woke up knowing I was going to tell God I doubted Him when I got to the shower. And for weeks, I leaned into Him with those doubts and asked for Him to change my heart. Somewhere along the way, I just started believing again.

 

Give yourself permission and patience to be wherever you’re at because wherever you’re at is totally ok–even if it’s not where you want to be. Remember whether you feel you’re on top of a mountain or in the wilderness all alone, you’re on your own faith journey with God. Even your doubts are a part of that.

 

I just challenge you to lean into Him even when you’re lost or afraid or unsure. Pull back the curtain, step in the shower, and talk to Him. Yell at Him. Ask Him. And keep going back even when it feels crazy because He’ll help you find your way.

 

Where are you at in your faith journey? Do you have doubts, questions, fears, or frustrations?

Showing 18 comments
  • David
    Reply

    This is kinda cool,because I talk to God all the time in the shower.Right now in my faith,i just don’t feel him at all.I haven’t felt him in while,and everyday I getup pretty much depressed because I feel alone and anxious and I know that im gonna pray today and mybe even read the bible,and im not gonna really feel God.I obviously don’t know what’ll happen from day to the next,but that’s how I feel.Really confused about faith,God,and the part I play in faith.Like,what depends on me and what depends on him? And I don’t really feel happy,all day is a battle in my mind and it wears me out.How does God get involved with me in the middle of all this?

    • Nate Hilpert
      Reply

      David, these are all great questions and great thoughts…I think that you’re absolutely doing the right thing–seeking, asking, trying. Keep at it, man, because I think you’re headed in the direction that’s healthy for you! Doubt, tough times, all that stuff can be healthy for you too 🙂 Stay encouraged! It sounds to me like you’re still trekking, and that’s awesome!

      What do you think: does faith depend on you or on God?
      What’s the battle in your mind like? And how would you like God to get involved?
      You also mentioned that you think you won’t feel God if you read the Bible or pray. Have you gotten a chance to give it a try? Or have you gotten discouraged before you began?

      Something that encourages me in periods of doubt is actually a verse from Revelations…

      “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelations 2:10

      One time when I felt God was really far away from me and like I couldn’t feel Him, I read this verse, and it changed my perspective. I thought: what if the reason I’m not feeling God right now is because I’m in some kind of ‘prison’? Obviously not literally…but metaphorically maybe the prison means I FEEL alone and FEEL separated from God. And when I endure the ten days, I will feel stronger in my faith, like a conqueror, and closer to God.

      • David
        Reply

        That’s an awesome point bro.To answer your questions,I think Faith depends on me,as my response to God.I believe God is 100% in control of everything and we’re all his children,but not everyone has faith and I think that faith is how we let God in.Our personal trust in him,
        The battle in my mind is throughout the day,i’m filled with negative thoughts about basically everything about myself.Who am I? What am I doing? Am I really loved? I read that when it comes to trusting God,you never fully arrive.It’s a continuing life long process,and that kinda discourages me alittle bit.I don’t really trust myself a lot,and in turn I don’t really trust people either.Then I get discouraged because I feel alone.But I’m aware that I choose to feel this way most of the time.That’s the battle in my head.Knowing the myriad of thoughts and feelings I have,but then also trying to control and renew my mind with good truths.
        I’ve been in a amazing relationship with God about a year ago,but I slipped back into pornography and honestly have been struggling ever since with it.It’s a vicious cycle.
        But that verse really does change perspective.God’s word is so reassuring,thank you bro.

        • Nate Hilpert
          Reply

          I really like what you said here…”I think that faith is how we let God in”…I absolutely agree with that. What’s one place in your life you’re letting God in?

          What are the positive counterparts to these negative thoughts? For example, when you’re trusting in what God says about you and you’re believing in yourself, how would you answer those questions you’re asking yourself?

          I too get frustrated when people say things like “you never fully arrive”. For example, I don’t like what some people in recovery say about their addictions–and about mine in turn. Sometimes they say that there is no way to fully get over your addiction and that they will be addicted forever regardless of whether or not they are sober for years and years. I don’t like that mindset. In this case, what I am trying to do is to take the perspective of a journey. Trusting God, following the Holy Spirit, living Christ-like–these things are a part of my journey. And I want to learn to accept myself where I’m at today because where I’m at IS OK!! In accepting myself, I don’t beat myself up or shame myself for not being where I want to be. Moreover, I’m able to be present with God in THIS moment instead of fantasizing a future of where I “should” be and missing out on meeting God right here, right now.

          Do you want to do something about porn? If so, what do you want to do about it?

          Absolutely dude! Thanks for writing back! 🙂

          • David

            I agree bro.With me,i know it’s just a matter f not always wanting to do the work I know I need to do deep down in my heart.I know I need God in my heart,but I play ignorant sometimes because I feel like I’ll be inspired for a while and then slip away again.
            About porn,idk what to do man.Sex is such a natural and strong desire that we have as humans.It’s impossible to escape,even if you go to the moon,lol.I know sex is not the problem,but my desires are.I have to desire what God has for me,instead of desiring what porn can give me,which is deceit,shame,and let’s me down everytime.
            My struggle mostly in letting God in,is trusting myself enough to let go despite my feelings and trust God’s word.Trusting myself enough to let go,despite my thoughts nd feelings.
            You’re 110% right about being in the moment.

          • Nate Hilpert

            What does “needing God in your heart” mean to you?
            And what does “playing ignorant” look like for your life?
            What gets you inspired and what makes you slip away?

            Sexual desires are conquerable. My fiancé and I had sex for the part of our relationship, and we stepped away from that for two and a half years now and haven’t since. And for porn, I’m 47 days without it right now. One of my friends is 10 years without it. It’s conquerable. If you believe that it’s not and if you believe that you can’t, then it will make it almost natural for you to fail. If you haven’t, check out my most recent blog (http://heartsupport.com/blogs/dont-whiff-in-life/). It’s about believing in yourself and the detriments when you don’t. Positive self-talk, affirming yourself, believing that you can is a part of conquering. In the Bible, it says in Romans: “…be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” And I think part of that is telling yourself better things than “this sucks, and I can’t get over it because it’s just the way it is”

            What do you have to let go of in order to trust God?
            What are the thoughts and feelings that are holding you back?

          • David

            Needing God in my heart means,having truth,stability and security in my heart because I know that people and even myself will let me down.I mean,if we come from God,than he’s the only one who can fill us and the only one who knows exactly what we need.
            Personally,this means everything to me.If there is truly a God out there,who created me,than I wanna know him and know who I am,idk.It’s hard for me to put into words.It’s just if God is absolutely everything,than I know I need him and I wanna know him and feel him.
            The liberty that I have in God inspires me.It makes me believe I can do anything,and that I have purpose.What makes me slip away is fear.Fear of backsliding and falling away back into a depressing mindset,that literally looks at everything with a frown.
            Like I said before,my BIGGEST fear is the fear of going backwards.The fear of digressing instead of progressing.Two years ago,I was in such a painful place that it scares the crap outta me when I get those feelings and scares the crap outta me that I could be heading back in that direction.I know im not,God is not letting me fall back,but the thoughts that I could be,scare me

          • Nate Hilpert

            Do you see doubt as going backwards?

            I love all of these thoughts you have. Thank you for sharing. Especially the bit about “God is the only one who can fill us and the only one who knows exactly what we need”…I needed to hear that bit myself!!

  • Joshua
    Reply

    Doubts are definitely natural. I think the worst thing to do when doubting is to just give up. I think we need to take a look at the specific questions we have and really dig into those. Praying all the while of course. A couple of years ago I started to doubt what I was believing was true. I knew what the Bible said, but Science taught in school says so much different. I didn’t give in however, I took that and started to do my research. I owe a lot to C.S Lewis because Mere Christianity was the first apologetics book I read. I honestly could have stopped at that and been completely content. But then I pushed my questions further reading The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel, and have just recently finished The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. The arguments are well presented in both books and now my faith is solid. Don’t give up! Seek answers and pray!

    • Nate Hilpert
      Reply

      love that message…keep seeking!! thanks joshua!

  • PJ
    Reply

    Nate thank you so freaking much for this post man. You are a real inspiration man and I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear this right now. Here I am saved about two years ago and going through this exact thing right now. There is so much going on in my life right now at one of the most vulnerable times and I am all over the place but I just keep holding on to “I will never leave you nor forsake you” by a literal thread.

    Especially when no one understands what you’re going through besides God. At least that’s what it feels like. Dude, you’re a real help man. Thank you so much.

    • Nate Hilpert
      Reply

      PJ thank you so much for sharing this with me! I’m so happy that God used this at good timing in your life 🙂

      So what’s going through your mind? What are you wrestling with? What makes these times one of the most vulnerable you’ve had?

      I would love to hear back from you, PJ! Know that you’re not alone in your doubts and that God loves you and is with you wherever you run.

  • Trent
    Reply

    Hey Nate! I read this article a few days ago and really enjoyed it, and I ended up revisiting it today. Thank you for writing this! Encouragement like this has helped me in times where my doubts and questions seem endless. Taking in God’s love just as I am has really been a life-changer :). This article is perfect for a person I know struggling with things similar to this. If you have the time, would you mind praying for her in things regarding faith issues of doubt and hopelessness? That would be very much appreciated! Thanks, and God Bless <3

    • Nate Hilpert
      Reply

      I’m so glad that this has been an encouragement to you…it REALLY blesses me to hear that it’s had an impact on your life. Seriously–thank you.

      What are some of the doubts and questions you’ve been wrestling through?

      Yes absolutely, Trent! Shoot me an email and tell me some more details: [email protected]…I would love to pray for your friend!

      • Trent
        Reply

        I’m not necessarily wrestling with those doubts or questions much any more. They were mostly questions and doubts regarding the Bible and things that would more be in the fields of philosophy and apologetics. God has helped me find discernment and wisdom. I now realize, as well, that’s it’s fine for me to have questions and truly dig into truth.

        • Nate Hilpert
          Reply

          good for you dude!! digging in is the way to go!

          • Trent

            Indeed it is :). Thanks again!

          • Nate Hilpert

            Trent! It was so good to see you the other day at South by So What!!! Thank you so much for coming up to me and talking to me. Man, that was cool.

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