My Desert Of Doubt

Sometimes I don’t know what to write. The ideas well has run dry and my imagination stretches before me, an arid, endless desert of dearth. Those are the worst mornings. The mornings where I sit before my blank screen feeling I have nothing to offer. Nothing to offer myself, nothing to offer my family, nothing to offer the world. I am a husk, an empty, brittle husk, devoid of creative intent.

Doubt is the cactus of the mental landscape. It thrives, where other emotions flounder, it’s roots find purchase in the parched earth and suck what little sustenance there is out of the soil of my soul. Doubt is the demon that doesn’t want me to write, doesn’t want me to run, doesn’t want me to do anything for I’m a fool, a fake, a fraud. Trying to wrestle that cactus of doubt and you are left with bloody, tattered hands.

Doubt will always introduce you to it’s cousin, worry. It’s a weed, strangling any fresh shoots of hope, condemning you to hours of negative, introspective thinking. I’m not good enough, I’ll never be good enough, this is the end of the road. Fatigue plays its part but once doubt and worry get their claws into you, it’s painfully difficult to wrench free. Even when you do, they draw blood, they leave scars.

I am on the cusp of potentially great times, both in my working and personal life. I stand on the edge of achievement and recognition. That is when we are at our most vulnerable, when we relax for an instance and start to think we’ve made it. We are valued, loved, worthy. Then….BANG….we are lying on our backs, staring at the sky, dazed and confused. How on earth did that happen?

I am guarded when it comes to plaudits and praise. I am naturally shy and introspective, socially awkward at the best of times. I wear a mask, exuding confidence and calm, but beneath it I am brittle. The slightest setback and I can crumble, reduced to a pathetic pile of ash. Peeking from my shell is an arduous and nerve shredding matter. It’s not where I want to be, exposed and alone.

It’s when I am here, I rely on my loved ones to gather round, to form a phalanx of protection, shielding me from the barbs of enemy forces. It’s when I need them most, when I reach out and hope they will respond to my cry for help. Without them, I will be overrun, trampled underfoot before being dragged from the battlefield, a lifeless lump. History is written by the winners. The dead can’t talk.

So today, I am anxious, worried, afraid. I don’t know what lies ahead, the next month is make or break in so many ways. Part of me wants to turn around and run screaming for the hills. The way of the coward. But when I do, I see those who have remained loyal, barring my path. They encourage me, console me. Many have dropped away, so I am doubly grateful for those who remain.

I’ve written today’s blog….somehow. The words have trickled, then flowed, the screen is full as my finger hovers over the ‘publish’ button. I’ll go to work, play the game, hit the ball out of the park. It’s who I am, what I do. Always on the front foot, never looking back. You never look back, for that is where the past belongs. Behind you. It’s a long, hard trek across this desert. One step at a time. It’s all I know, all I need.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

52 thoughts on “My Desert Of Doubt

  1. We all have our deserts to cross and mountains to climb… but quite frankly, I’m amazed you find so many interesting topics to talk about. It’s a gift, which you should be proud of (and don’t be afraid to miss a day – all good things are worth waiting for!) 😊

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  2. Such a difficult image of yourself, yet so beautifully written. Don’t doubt yourself, you’re a magician with those words, even when they don’t come flowing easily every single day. I think that’s just natural.
    One day I will try and learn to write like you. 😇

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  3. Lovely Post – honest and true, it doesn’t get better than this ! And is such an encouragement to those of us who want to be ‘wannabe writers’ too. Well written.

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  4. One step at a time, brother. That’s all any of us can take. Keep them pointed forward. Regardless of which socks you have on, it’s your feet that do the walking. Great things are happening all around you. Being true to yourself, following your passion and continuing to care deeply for your family is success at its greatest.

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  5. Your first paragraph felt like you were reading my mind. My last post was off the cuff. I needed to say something, but what? And it was about my pain. It helps to write (as you know) is what I’m learning from you. I try to be very authentic and open and you are too. I’m looking forward to your book. No matter how the public receives it, you are a winner!! Keep writing, no matter what!! ❤️

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  6. “You never look back, for that is where the past belongs. Behind you.”

    These are the words of your post that stuck out to me. I believe in leaving the past where it belongs. But I also advocate for taking time regularly to glimpse back over your past and learn the lessons you may have missed, lessons that have come more obvious with time and experience.

    There is truth that the past is behind you. But it would be a fallacy to say that the future and the past aren’t connected. Because no matter how you handle it, the past dictates how our future will turn out. I say this because the future stands connected to the past by way of the present moment. In every present moment, you are responsible for taking the past up to that moment and using it to best decide how to proceed through the current moment. In every present moment, you are dictating how the past shapes your future, with the present moment being the future constantly coming to fruition. The moment you decide how the past shapes this moment, the future becomes this moment.

    I feel my explanation may be a little confusing. Basically I am saying that the past is just as important as the present moment. Who you are was dictated by what your past was. To think you can escape your past is setting your mind up for thinking it can escape reality, which seems to be an impossibility. Use your past as a guidepost for making better decisions in the here and now. Use the past version of yourself that didn’t work to help shape you into a version that does work for you. Take the past successes in you that you find enjoyment sharing and use those past moments to better shape the you that you know you want to be. Use all tenses of existence to motivate yourself and remove fear from your being.

    You are in control of you. You are strong and you have made it through every single encounter you didn’t know how you would survive. You are here. In this wonderful moment where you are a month shy of having your publishing dreams come true. You can do this. You already did it. Now you just must have faith and patience that what you deserve will come to be. If you struggle to find that faith, I’m here a stranger from Akron, Ohio believing that you will get everything you have coming to you!

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  7. I’ve moved past the desire to write like someone else, but in my previous life I would be wishing I could write like you. Your authenticity is compelling, and all of us can identify with the big DOUBT. I consider myself a bit of a doubting Thomas and have previously disliked that side of me. Now I embrace it as a spur to something more, something better. My doubts initially bring on a bit of depression, a longing swordfighting grayness, confusion, disorientation, so beautifully described by you. But I have faith that now my doubts will open a new door, I just simply have to wait and BE until the door of new horizons is unlocked. BEING is the hardest part. But so very rewarding! I am not a human doing, I am a human being whose center is valued simply because I am, and loved. It is then I can reach out in love to a world desperate for affirmation.

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  8. Beautifully written, Stephen! It’s normal to doubt, it’s part of our human nature. I’m struggling with my writing. It seems I go to write a sentence then immediately hit the backspace because it just doesn’t sound good! I tend to doubt myself A LOT. But I love what you do….you write through the doubt. I must learn how to do this!

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  9. I feel this same way so often – doubt, worry, fear – the three-headed monster that would eat you alive, if it could. Thankfully there are supports: friends, family, and people I’ve never met, but consider friends nonetheless – like this blogging community. NEVER give up, Stephen! Never, ever give up. You may think at times when worry has you by the throat that you are alone – no that is a lie. You are not alone. You are carried in the hearts and in minds and in the prayers of many – including me. My friend whom I have never met.

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  10. “That is when we are at our most vulnerable, when we relax for an instance and start to think we’ve made it. We are valued, loved, worthy. Then….BANG….we are lying on our backs, staring at the sky, dazed and confused. How on earth did that happen?”

    This is what I call the “Malcolm Butler” moment. If you watched Super Bowl 49, you’ll know what I mean. I guard against it by remembering that I’ve already made it – that I’ve already arrived because of his power and, in some time position I don’t yet occupy, I will yet arrive again.

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