You’ve heard people say it before. It’s a standard construction for pithy quotes the world over. The problem is that you’ll also have probably heard a dozen or more variations on the theme, some of which are certain to contradict one another.
Benjamin Franklin—the most famous U.S. politician to ever not be President—said:
“When in doubt, don’t.”
Meanwhile, the nineteenth century’s great legal mind Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said:
“When in doubt, do it.”
Mark Twain said “When it doubt, tell the truth.” Robert Merrill: “When in doubt, sing loud.” Jim Rogers: “When in doubt, go public.” A favorite of mine is pulp fiction legend Raymond Chandler’s: “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.” That’s probably best left to the realm of detective novels, but perhaps you can find other places to apply it.
It would seem that, while the occurrence of doubt is an eternal problem, no one can agree on what one should do when it occurs. That’s what doubt does: drives people into different corners.
Letting doubt sow seeds within us is an exercise in neutralizing any kind of power we have. And continuing to think that doubt is something that happens to us rather than something we do to ourselves only makes it worse.
So, here’s what I say.
“When in doubt, just give up.”
Surrender IS the best option, believe it or not. The question then becomes what you’re surrendering to, and how.
There’s a world of difference between abdicating responsibility and self-control to negative emotion and feeling, and allowing the King of Kings and Lord of Hosts to assume His place at the head of your table.
In fact, completely surrendering to the Father’s majesty is a vital part of taking back responsibility for our own lives. That sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s perfectly true. If we’re going to yield to anything, it should be to the passion and loving kindness of an awesome God who has nothing but our best interests at heart.
Showing vulnerability to majesty isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength and devotion. Where giving in to doubt and fear allows you to fall prey to debilitating sicknesses of the heart, stepping back in favor of God is an upgrade in everything that we are and everything that we do.
This vulnerability of surrender provides spiritual focus—which allows an influx of stamina, power and influence from the Lord.
Spiritual focus is a threefold thing—a point between (1) the Father, (2) ourselves and (3) the circumstances that we find ourselves in. We urgently need God’s perspective on us and on our situation. Once we’re capable of assuming that focal point, we become properly adjusted. We become who we’re intended to be in that situation, and in God. That focal point takes us to a new place of fellowship with Him.
Paul perfectly exemplifies that focal point in 2 Timothy 1:12:
“I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.”
Now that’s a stance!
In focus, we count all things joy because we’re governed by a perspective that elevates our mindset in alignment with what God is thinking. We have a renewed stance in our circumstances: a certainty principle that we can base our entire lives around.
P.S. To learn more about this kind of focus, visit, Keys to Brilliant Focus.