Articles · Michele's Books

Doubt: Knowing Who and What to Trust

“Is it possible that doubt might be one of those unwelcome guests of life that is sometimes, in the right circumstances, good for you?”
John Ortberg in Faith & Doubt

Have you ever considered the upside of doubt? When you’re not certain about something or someone, you take a step back and do some contemplating; some weighing out of the facts (or fiction) presented you. We all recognize there are times when doubting makes plain good sense and in some circles, doubt even has a friendlier connotation and its name is discretion. This so named valuable asset, this ability to be discerning enough to tread carefully, can in reality, offer a woman much by way of protective buffers.

The woman who exercises a measure of discretion (by not trusting everything she’s told) is demonstrating both knowledge and good judgment. She’s tuned in to seeing behind the obvious and looking for those telltale signs of either truth or falsehood. But she’s not a cynic and she’s rarely bitter. No, she’s simply honed that skill of gathering the evidence, thinking through the objections and weighing the consequences before moving ahead. In so doing, she’s saved herself and those around her from disasters ranging anywhere from the miniscule to those mistaken judgment calls of potentially catastrophic proportions.

There will always be room for doubt, as there must be. For truly, doubt is trust’s intrinsic flipside. No one fully trusts without first putting something (a belief system, a person, or a choice) through a series of mental paces. We might not consciously recognize this process, but all the same, we exercise it countless times a day. Our thoughts continually wrestle with and endure an inner give/take motion whenever we are presented with the unfamiliar or untested. What we conclude determines the next step, rightly so. This truism is worked out most visibly in the personal relationship arena.

Author John Ortberg offers this look-see into the give and take process that occurs daily between people in every sort of social and work situation. “When I trust you, I take a little piece of myself – my stuff, my money, my time, my heart – and put it in your hands. And then I’m vulnerable. Then you respond, and I find out whether you are trustworthy and dependable. I give you the gift of my trust, and you give me the gift of your faithfulness.” It is exactly at this key juncture, in this difficult yet essential “finding out” realm that individuals make discoveries about themselves and those they’ve trusted. The dynamic interplay that takes place between people will change everyone involved, even when trust is broken, maybe especially then.

No doubt. Whether a person puts her faith in people, a process, or a plan, doubt will be a close kin to all. There will be ebbs and flows, highs and lows, glimpses of understanding and long slow stretches of darkness, where we mentally take ourselves by the hand and walk ourselves back to what we know to be trustworthy and true. By and by, we’ll get there. To be sure, we’ll recognize how both doubt and trust played their roles in helping us arrive safely. Final word, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”

Takeaway Action Thought: When in doubt, stop, pause, consider. If something is right, it can stand the wait.

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There’s that old saying, “When in doubt, don’t,” and in truth, this catchall phrase makes perfect sense most of the time, but there’s at least one area of exception to this old adage and it applies to your physical health. Whenever you have a doubt, never take the “don’t” route. Rather, “do” something proactive and health protective to get the information you need. Do – call your physician, check with your pharmacist, and locate answers to your questions. Whether you’re in need of an immediate reply or are simply looking ahead, there are answers to be found and help available. You just need to know where to go and whom to trust.

Information is only as good as its source: As there are literally thousands of Internet sources available for medical information, consumers need to be leery of what they are reading (and believing). Unfortunately, a significant amount of purported medical advice is merely unsubstantiated personal opinion and sadly, flagrant misinformation abounds. Ask yourself if the site you’re researching on might have hidden agendas? Does the site’s advertising parent company also sponsor the topic you are reading about? Or is the medical advice in reality an advertisement hidden in the guise of a “scientific” article?

Private-sector sites you can trust. There are many good sources of accurate information for medical consumers on the Internet. Check out these sites for health-related topics applicable to both women and men: WebMD.com, HealthCentral.com and WrongDiagnosis.com. Try the HealthyWomen.org site for a broad range of women’s health issues and which is physician approved.

Governmental websites that are useful. The National Institutes of Health site at health.nih.gov is a good general information site with links to specific women’s health issues as well as many other useful resources.
1. Peruse the hrsa.gov the US Department of Health and Human Services web site to locate links to available health care regardless of your ability to pay.
2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov is an excellent resource for health and safety issues. This is the place to look for information on food borne illness and any current outbreaks of this type.
3. For a listing of state health agencies go to the FDA’s website at fda.gov/oca/sthealth.htm.
4. Local health information should be obtained through your county health department.

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