Challenging Your Belief System

Written by Renée Miller

There are times in life when it feels as if everything about our faith is sinking in sand. All the answers we have trusted don’t seem to satisfy us any longer, and we begin to question what we have always felt so sure of before.

It is always a risk to question our belief system, and it takes a good measure of courage to begin such questioning. When we are courageous enough to give serious attention to such uncertain feelings emerging in our soul, we can feel unsure as to who we are, what our place is, and how our life makes any sense at all. It’s this very risk of feeling so unsettled that keeps many people from ever questioning the faith of their childhood.

Yet God is much larger than our human concepts can ever define. When we are willing to go deep down within and challenge what we have known and believed, we find in the swirl of chaos the God beyond all conceptions. As the poet Ranier Maria Rilke said, “deep in the darkness is God.” When we overcome our fear of encountering that darkness, we find what our hearts long for, what our minds can only barely grasp, what our soul only dimly imagines.

Stepping outside of what you know in order to glimpse what you do not know does not necessarily lead you to a point of forsaking your religious convictions. Rather, stepping out is a sign that you are on the search for God—God’s self. Your soul is longing to know God without any pretense, without easy answers, without the superficiality to which religious systems sometimes fall prey. Whenever you search for God alone—God will be found.

It may not be an easy journey—in fact, it will probably be a tumultuous odyssey—but the God who loved you into being is right by your side, waiting for you to glimpse the glimmer of His presence in surprising and unexpected ways.

When your soul begins questioning the belief system you have grown up with, it’s merely a signal that your soul is searching for the pearl of great price—the pearl that is God alone. God will honor your search and love you through the journey.

Tip to try:
Write down three things that cause you to wonder about the truth of your belief system. Choose one and begin to explore it deeply and fully through such things as:

  • Prayer
  • Reading literature outside your religious tradition
  • Talking with others who do not share your beliefs
  • Interviewing others about their experiences of God
  • Being still and silent in the presence of God as you understand God.

Keep a log in your journal about what you are learning and how you are responding.


Copyright ©2007 Renée Miller