When you doubt your sanity

Written by Charles Ekong


Last week, I wrote about trusting God and taking a leap of faith. It isn’t the easiest thing to do but it is something that gets easier the more we do it because we experience God come through for us. Nothing is more reassuring than experiencing God for yourself. It is easy to profess one’s faith but what God requires of us isn’t just a profession of faith, it is living that faith. In my experience, there are situations completely outside my control that require me to live out my faith and then there are situations I choose to put myself through as a leap of faith. It is the latter that I have been pondering because, in the midst of those situations, I often doubt my own sanity.

As we walk with God and spend time in His Word, we receive revelation i.e. God reveals Himself to us. This revelation changes us and our perspective on life. When this happens, you begin to think differently [Romans 12:2] and invariably it alters our desires. Previously our thoughts were focused on what we want and how we can get it, but as we grow in our knowledge of God, there is a gradual shift to what God wants to do with our lives. If we let this process run its course, then we become more like David, checking every major decision we make to ensure we are in step with God’s will. The phrase “…David inquired of the Lord” is repeated several times in the story of David’s life and it is one of the reason’s David was called “a man after God’s heart” [1 Samuel 13:14]. God wants us to partner with Him in His work of redemption on this planet and we can only truly do that by keeping in step with His will.

I doubt many will disagree with what I am written so far. However, the problem arises when we try to put this into practice and make a major life decision with nothing but our conviction that it is God’s will. Often these decisions do not make sense to others and it is difficult to dispute their logic as they reason through our choices. But as God’s children, we are commanded to walk by faith and not by sight [2 Corinthians 5:7]. What does this mean in practice? I know an English couple with a young family who sold their house, packed up and moved to Uganda to be missionaries. They both had stable jobs and were doing very well in England. They had no reason to move apart from a conviction that God wanted them to move to Uganda. They knew no one there and had never visited. As the wife told us this story, I remember thinking “that is crazy!”

As someone going through my own leap of faith, I can imagine that there were times they would have thought to themselves: “what are we doing? This doesn’t make sense. Are we insane?! Why are we risking everything we have worked for, our comfort and security, and moving to the unknown? How will this affect our kids?” and so on. I am sure well-meaning friends would have questioned their decision too. They would have asked “are you sure you heard God correctly?”, “Have you thought this through” and so on. I wouldn’t be surprised if they agreed with the assessment of these friends because when making such decisions, you will find yourself vacillating between the conviction that you are acting in obedience to God and doubting your sanity.

The truth is you can’t always be sure. Even if this couple heard an audible voice and saw a vision, it still wouldn’t make their decision easy. In my experience, God doesn’t give us a step by step guide, He simply asks us to trust Him and obediently surrender as He works out His purpose in our lives. This couple were recounting this story 12 years after they moved to Uganda, started a charity to meet the needs of the community and changed hundreds of lives as they shared the Gospel. And God met their needs every step of the way. Today, they are back in England with an amazing testimony and they never anticipated what God was going to do with their lives. As its often the case, what God has done usually makes sense to us in hindsight.

What I have found helpful when going through a leap of faith is to constantly remind myself of certain truths in God’s Word. These are some of my favourites: I am a child of God [1 John 3:1] and the apple of His eye [Zechariah 2:8]. If God is rooting for me, what can stand against me? [Romans 8:31]. God called me to serve Him before I was conceived [Jeremiah 1:5, Galatians 1:15] and will never forget me because He has engraved me in the palm of His Hand [Isaiah 49:15-16]. Remembering and holding onto these promises especially in those moments I doubt my sanity is my only hope. It is also ok if your journey doesn’t make sense to others, even Jesus’ family doubted His mission [John 7:5] and thought He was insane [Mark 3:21].

Ultimately, human reason is only capable of walking by sight, so taking a leap of faith will not make sense from a human perspective. Conversely, walking by faith is only possible with knowing Jesus. As a friend put it, “before taking a leap of faith you must first answer this question from Jesus: ‘who do you say I am?’”. This is because the confidence of your conviction as you walk by faith is directly tied to who you know Jesus to be.

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