My daughter had a marvelous composition professor in college who suffers from a rare neurological disorder called prosopagnosia which literally means “face ignorance.” Imagine walking into a classroom of students you’ve taught for a whole year and not recognizing a single face. Imagine watching home videos of yourself and your friends and recognizing no one at all. Imagine walking past your husband and children in a restaurant only to sit down by strangers you guessed might be them. This is a small insight into the lifelong experience of Heather Sellers, author of several books on creative writing plus a book about her struggle with the disorder entitled, “You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know.”
Heather states that it is not a sight issue it is a brain storage and retrieval issue. In the moment that Heather walks away from someone, she has already forgotten their face and could not possibly describe it to someone else. The only way she can “remember” faces is to make educated guesses based on clothing, location or context.
Sometimes believers are just like this. We hear an outstanding sermon on faith on Sunday but Monday we experience an unexpected financial setback and we doubt God’s provision for us. In our prayer time we put on the armor of God. Several hours later when our boss screams at us unfairly, we slip right out of our gospel of peace shoes and gossip about it to our co-workers. In James 1, particularly verses 8 and 23, he describes this behavior as a double-minded man. He specifically uses the example of someone who steps away from a mirror and can’t remember what their own face looks like.
When I compare my baby boomer generation and those under me to my parent’s and grandparent’s generations, today’s Americans are seriously lacking when it comes it stability and maintaining a steady course. Our elders survived The Great Depression and two world wars. They endured tremendous loss of life from diseases we no longer think about. They lived without phones and indoor plumbing and raised children without television or the internet. Through it all, a majority of them showed incredible stability as a reliable work force, dependable family members and faithful church attenders. Today, people skip work because of Super Bowl parties ending late. We seldom enjoy family dinners together because everyone’s going a different direction and according to CHURCHLEADERS magazine, only 20% of Americans attend church anywhere.
Since the church is made up of individuals, I see wishy washy behavior on a corporate scale also. People sign up as volunteers for a particular ministry or to attend an activity but don’t show up for the event. Sometimes I press folks a little to find out why they went missing and at least half the time, the reason is that something better came up. In our town, there is a whole set of folks that rotate their church attendance between my church and two others, and identify all three churches as their “home church.” Every single summer, in many churches, giving levels take a dip because people simply don’t make arrangements to get their tithes and offerings in before or after a vacation. I know these types of behaviors can be disheartening for pastors.
Precious sisters, God is not pleased with us when we waffle back and forth between things. Indecisiveness and instability hinder God’s ability to bless us. Look at what James says. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:6-8. Darlins,’ if I can’t even be faithful and stable with the basics like attendance and tithing, where am I possibly going to muster up the kind of radical faith it will take to ask and believe God to heal leukemia, restore a marriage or resolve financial setbacks?
Being double-minded is a lifestyle, it won’t confine itself to just one area of your life. It will affect all of your relationships but most importantly the one you have with your Heavenly Father. The truths of God’s word will often clash with what you are experiencing. God is still my provider even when I can’t pay all my bills. He is still my healer when I am ill. He is always my strong tower even when I feel like the walls of my life have been torn down. We must stop reading and believing God’s word one moment then doubting it the next when life is tough.
I’m thinking that part of our overall indecisiveness and instability stems from not fully believing one of my favorite Beth Moore quotes. “God is who he says He is and He will do what He says He will do.” Doubting this foundational Christian belief creates a cancer of the soul, which can affect other thinking processes. It’s critical that we stow up the word in our hearts and minds so it can be retrieved in the face of life’s difficulties.
I’m going to pray that each soul that reads this will ask God to show them areas of their lives where they have not been receiving all He has for them, due to doublemindedness. Sisters and brothers, let’s turn from this sin and start believing God for more than we can ask or imagine.