So far, 2008 has been a year of doubts, questionings, and feelings of discouragement, disappointment and failure. I am writing about this now, while I am still in it, so that you will know what to do when you are in it. So here is my prescription:
1. Don’t panic. (If you have your copy of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, you will already know this.)
2. Continue with spiritual disciplines. Just show up. Give thanks. Hear the Word, especially the gospels. Read other people’s prayers when you have trouble with your own – the Psalms, or prayers from the saints of the past (I have Great Souls at Prayer compiled by Mary Tileston and The Complete Book of Christian Prayer)
3. Stay connected with people of faith. Read old books: when my faith falters, I just go along with Augustine, and C.S.Lewis, Teresa of Avila and Evelyn Underhill, and others of that great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12. Talk to someone experienced and wise, someone who has been there and will walk alongside you and pray for you (and who doesn’t panic either.)
4. Don’t engage in arguments with yourself. You can’t win. Be patient, and ask for God’s mercy.
5. Read Psalm 143, and make it your prayer. Whenever you are recalled to your doubts and fears, call out to God: “Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails!” He will do for you, and in you, what you cannot do for yourself.
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