5 Tips for Dealing with Doubt

Time was ticking and I had to give my decision. I knew what I wanted. But every time I thought about saying, “no,” doubt assailed me. You’re wimping out. If you had faith you’d say yes.


I thought my doubt was a nebulous feeling that sprang from uncertainty. But, I’ve learned some doubts have a diabolical side.

What feels like paralyzing indecision may be a taunt from the enemy. Just like the devil gave King David the idea to take a census of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1-3) and Ananias and Sapphira the idea to lie about a gift they gave to the church (Acts 5:3-5), he also plants thoughts in our minds.

Jesus called the devil a liar (John 8:44) and the thief that comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The Bible also says he’s a slanderer and accuser (Revelation 12:10). The better we know Jesus, the better we’re able to identify Satan’s influence.

Have you received emails from friends asking you to send cash to help them because they lost their passports? I have. Even though the emails came from my friends’ accounts, the messages didn’t sound like them. I spotted the hoax because I knew my friends. The better we know someone the less likely we are to be hoodwinked by an impersonation.

Jesus said His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Below is an acronym to help you distinguish between the devil’s darts and your Shepherd’s leading. Protect yourself by learning to recognize the message or intent hidden in your doubts.

DARTS are:

  1. Destructive: sent to rob and destroy. Their purpose is to draw us away from God’s good and satisfying will. They push us toward something we feel uneasy about by causing us to doubt the validity of our reservations. Or they pull us away from something good. You’ll offend your neighbor if you invite her to Bible study.
  • Jesus’ words bring life and peace.
  1. Accusing: condemning, criticizing, and blaming. They tell us how selfish and rebellious we are to want something or how cowardly we are not to do something. The devil misused Scripture when he tempted Jesus. If a verse oppresses you, the enemy is twisting it against you. If you weren’t so—selfish, cowardly, or unforgiving—you’d…
  • Jesus never uses guilt, shame, or bullying to motivate us.
  1. Rule-oriented: relying on standards for righteousness instead of Jesus’ imputed righteousness. These thoughts tell us if we don’t obey their bullying command then we aren’t being loving or good Christians. For example: Good Christians always sacrifice. If you don’t help him how will he ever come to know Christ?
  • Jesus reminds us that our righteousness is found in Christ, not in our performance.
  1. Tempting: offering ways to meet your needs apart from God. People will respect you if…or Hurry, you’ll miss out.”
  • Jesus infuses us with courage to stand alone, to wait, to be still and know.
  1. Slanderous: maligning the character of God, other people, or yourself. God doesn’t care about you. Or, Your spouse is so stubborn.
  • Jesus reminds us that He is with us, for us, interceding, and guiding. His Spirit bears witness with ours that we belong to Him and empowers us with love and patience.

When God showed me the nature of my doubts, I was able to say “no,” with confidence. The next time you’re faced with confusion, ask yourself, “Is this legitimate doubt or a diabolical dart?” Then follow your Shepherd with confidence.

** FYI: I’m offering two Bible studies for women this fall. Click here to learn more and about other opportunities.

Click here to comment.


Debbie W. Wilson


Give Yourself a Break: Discover the Secrets to God’s Rest

* This article first appeared at Praying Upside Down.

Sometimes I link to the following great sites: #Reflectlinkup, #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Titus2Tuesday, #IntentialTuesday, #TuesTalk, #So much at Home, #w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention,  #LivefreeThursdayCounting My Blessings, #WordswithWinter, #Grace and Truth

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  1. Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet

    I love the DARTS tool you outlined here! So useful in our walk with the Lord. Happy to be your neighbor on the #RaRaLinkUp today! 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Lauren. 🙂

  2. Debbie Prater

    There’s an answer for every dart the enemy throws at us…The Word of God. It is enough to shut up the lies. May we be anchored in His Word. Know it.

    • Debbie Wilson


  3. Sandi B

    This is a timely reminder to be aware and to think through thoughts that assail us. Thanks Debbie

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Sandi!

  4. Deb Wolf

    Debbie, I love the DARTS acrostic. What a great idea making it easy to remember the various ways the enemy attacks us with doubts. Great post!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Deb.

  5. Britton

    Debbie, thank you for this! This hit home for me today. I recently was asked by my pastor to help out with something at church and I prayed about it and didn’t get the go-ahead from the Holy Spirit so I told the church I couldn’t participate. I have been feeling so guilty but after being reminded of Satans DARTS, every feeling I’ve had has fallen into each of those categories. I know they are not from Jesus! Thank you for the reminder!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Britton, I don’t believe Jesus ever uses guilt to motivate us. But the devil sure does. The love of Christ compelled Paul. I’m so glad you were able to recognize the source of your taunts. God bless!

  6. Horace Williams Jr

    Amazing post Debbie! Thank yo u for sharing. I really love the D-A-R-T-S acronym! I need to write that down and post somewhere on my desk so I can remember them. Thank you for the reminder of some of Satan’s schemes and how important it is for us to develop our relationship with Christ. When we surround ourselves in god’s word it helps us in defending against doubt. Thanks again for sharing. Have a blessed week!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Horace. God bless you this week too!

  7. Mary Dolan Flaherty

    Wow, Debbie, this is fantastic! May I suggest you put that on a printable and offer it to your readers? Because I’m certainly making my own printable from it for my reference. I love acrostics and you’ve done a terrific job on this one. I’m sharing and tweeing this!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Mary. I came up with the acrostic when I wrote my Bible study. I thought of doing a handout for a speaking gig but hadn’t thought about one for the website. Great idea! Also, thanks so much for sharing. Always appreciated.

  8. Ann

    Debbie I love the acronym – that is so helpful in discerning whether the thought is from God or the enemy. Also your example about getting an email from a friend asking for money was right on. My email was hacked a few years ago and I had so many people trying to contact me or my husband saying – is that really true? It doesn’t sound like Ann. Great example!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann!

  9. Beth

    I love this! What an accurate and powerful way to understand the difference between Satan’s accusations and the truth of God’s conviction, Debbie! God never uses any of those tactics that you’ve outlined in the acrostic above. So when we use your grid, we can clearly see when we are being attacked. I’m going to be sharing this on Twitter, my friend. I don’t know why I haven’t stumbled upon your blog sooner! Thanks for visiting my place as well. 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Beth! I appreciate your hosting the link-up. I’ve enjoyed meeting other bloggers.

  10. Julie Lefebure

    Great points here, Debbie. And here it is again… “Be still.” I’m getting this from everywhere today. God has gotten my attention. Thank you for allowing Him to use you and your writing! It’s a joy to journey alongside of you today. Bless you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ha! Julie, I didn’t even make the connection. I guess He’s speaking to both of us. 🙂 Bless you, my friend.

  11. Grace Esedeke

    Hello Debbie, thank you for sharing this encouragement. I just love how you use the acronym D-A-R-T-S.. to explain our thoughts and the hidden message in them and how you offer Christ’s leading as a way out.
    Thank you for reminding us how important our relationship with Christ is in fighting the darts satan throws at us everyday.
    Blessings to you Ma..

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Grace, for reading. God bless.

  12. Lori Schumaker

    Hi Debbie,

    I really like the DART acronym. I am going to keep that in the recesses of my mind for the next time I am in a difficult decision making situation! Thank you! I’m so glad I chose your link at #Grace&Truth!
    Blessings and smiles,

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks so much, Lori.

  13. Jenny @ Women With Intention

    I love the acronym! 🙂 Thank you for linking up at Women With Intention Wednesdays! I hope to see you back tomorrow!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Than you, Jenny!

  14. Holly Brown

    I’ve never heard of DARTS before but I really loved the outline of it! Thank you for linking this up with us at Grace & Truth!! You’re a vital part of our community and we appreciate reading your posts!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Holly. I appreciate the visit and the link-up!

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