The Unbelief Challenge

There’s a familiar saying out there, “Where the mind
goes, the body will follow.” And yes, that’s often the
tricky part.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7

How many of us have gotten into all sorts of trouble by
following our mind’s direction?

Our beliefs can either work for or against us. They take
us to all kinds of places; some of them are undesirable.
Years ago, a major turning point for me, not only in my
eating disorder recovery, but also my relationship with

God was the scripture, Mark 9:24: “Lord, I believe. Help
Thou my unbelief.”

That little ditty nailed where my thinking was. Simply
stated, I didn’t think I could believe enough in anything:
who I was, life, hope and God. Faith- whatever
it was and however I went about it- wasn’t “enough.”
I was subpar, defective. Indeed, I went to such a great
place, all courtesy of my thoughts. And I didn’t know
how to get out.

I had reached a place through my eating disorders, be
it anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, that I believed God
hated me, was finished me and was going to send me
straight to hell. My perfectionistic thoughts had completely
obliterated grace or room for any error. Add
to that, increasing amounts of guilt and shame from
my behaviors, which included theft and lying, and I
reached a point of no return. I was “un-save-able.” I was
hopeless.

So, when I encountered Mark 9:24, it validated my
struggles with doubt. Ecclesiastes states “there is nothing
new under the sun.” So, when I hit upon that ninth
chapter in Mark, uttered by a man, centuries earlier,
it sent the reassurance I needed. I was not alone, the
only hopeless person to ever think this way. And before
Mark 9:24’s zinger, there was the set up scripture of the
twenty-third verse: “Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou canst
believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.’”
Ordinarily, this would have caused me to despair, if I
stopped short by only focusing on me. For example, if
Jesus was only telling me it was up to me to “believe
right,” then, let’s face it, I’m a goner.

But again, way back when, He responded to another
person, a doubting person, a person challenged in the
area of confidence, so much so, Mark 9:24 was his only
comeback. “Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”
Perhaps, this was an early template of the Twelve Steps.
After all, it’s about the real state of things. It’s about
acknowledging something bigger than us, not us, in
our own strength, to be our answer. And it’s about a
lifelong commitment to focus in that direction.

1. We admitted we were powerless over a substance
or behavior – that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives
over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory
of ourselves.

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another
human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all
these defects of character.

7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became
willing to make amends to them all.

9. We made direct amends to such people wherever
possible, except when to do so would injure them
or others.

10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when
we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve
our conscious contact with God as we understood
Him, praying only for knowledge of His will
for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result
of these steps, we tried to carry this message to
addicts, and to practice these principles in all our
affairs.

It’s not perfect; it’s fraught with stumbles and setbacks.
It requires awareness. And, long before we were aware
of our weak spots or failures, God, however, was.

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are
dust.” Psalms 103:14

He’s not shocked or intimidated by exactly where we
are and where our thinking has landed us. He knows.
And He has it within His control. The key point, however,
is to go with, not against, that principle. And it’s
a messy work in progress to do just that. It requires us
yelling an ancient spiritual word in our lives: “Help!”
For, as much as we’d like to believe we’re in control, we
are not. It IS about asking for help. It covers not only
the disasters we may find ourselves in, but also what
led up to them. It covers beliefs…and un-beliefs.
“Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”

And so, whether it’s a first time revelation or a refresher
course, let’s choose, right where are, to recalibrate the
focus of our beliefs and turn them to God.

We do believe something, after all. It would probably
do us some good, then, to have His help with this
reality.