Over the course of the last 9 months, as I’ve talked with many people about my difficulties in feeling convinced that the Bible is true, I have been told things like “you are trying too hard” or “it’s more simple than you are making it” many times. I disagree completely.
In order for someone to suggest that I’m trying too hard, they must first see that I am putting a lot of effort into something. So it is an acknowledgement, in a sense, that I am putting forth an effort, which is good. But in the pursuit of trying to find out the truth about God due to the discontent of my heart in not knowing the truth, how is the answer to just try less? How is it helpful to put less effort into the thing I want to find out about most?
It’s not helpful.
Many believers would say that God is doing something in my life to make me want to pursue knowledge about the Bible and to try and find out somehow if it is true or not. That may certainly be true, and I hope that it is. If that is the case, isn’t telling me to “not try so hard” snuffing a potentially God-given motivation to spend my time reading and studying and thinking about God?
I do understand that there are certain situations where over thinking and over trying are possible, and in those cases it may be helpful to talk to someone about that. But, those situations tend to cause the person stress, anxiety, or end up providing little to no extra value by trying harder. That is not the case in my situation.
What Does Help?
- Recognize that I am putting in an effort, and encourage that.
- Ask about what I’ve been thinking or reading – engage in discussion about it.
- If I ask a question that you don’t know, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”. It is actually really refreshing to hear that sometimes. Christianity needs more people willing to say that instead of trying to come up with some sort of answer for absolutely everything.
- If you have no advice or don’t know what to say, then don’t give advice or say anything.
- Encourage me to keep trying, and perhaps even to try harder!