06/25/2015 05:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

As for Me My God Used to Be Doubt


For anyone who believes they're not worthy to live a life filled with anything but joy... this is for you.

As for me, my God used to be Doubt. Also known as Doubt-aclese or Doubt-quanda, depending on his mood the name would always change.

He was a powerful god, vicious and cruel, with way too much acne. Not the kind of acne you could tell someone had suffered with, constantly struggling to find a cure for, but the kind that had surfaced from a lack of personal self-hygiene mixed with a dreary disbelief in the potential for beauty.

For every 10 steps forward, he would tell me I still had 200 to go, never urging me on, or looking at how far I've come. Doubt was always my gravitational life anchor -- keeping me on the shores of solitude and never allowing me to sail off into my potential, or to visit the wonderful sea tortoises that I love so much.

"Give up," he would say. "What's the use? People don't like you, your family doesn't like you, YOU don't like you." These were lies, tears from doubts eyes that fell onto my life like seeds of a flower that no one particularly cared for. You can't argue back with a god, I mean after all, he probably lives on some mystical mountain far out of reach, and at the time, long distance cost extra. So, what could I do?

Nothing, you may think, as I'm sure Doubt did also. Wrong. What Doubt didn't know is that my mother gave me a reliable car, a credit card for gas, and way too much chutzpah for one short fat boy to handle.

I drove the mountain to Doubt's home in a red convertible smart car. I went in his house, I ate his food, I used all of his toilets without flushing, and I took control. I burned his house to the ground. I danced over the ashes of Doubt's aspirations, and I laughed at the embers of his eradication. Doubt had been dissipated.

Doubt is no longer welcome at my steeple, in my church, on my couch, or in my life.

As for me, my God used to be Doubt -- and now, he is gone. Always lurking, but never allowed to return.

This article by Andrew Burrill was originally written as an essay in Professor Vanessa Ochs' "Spiritual Writing" course at the University of Virginia.