Help My Unbelief

Our beliefs can either work for or against us.

Years ago, a life altering point in both my eating disorder recovery and my relationship with God involved the scripture, Mark 9:24:

“Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”

It punctuated the state of my life. I didn’t think I could believe in who I was, in life and in God. My faith wasn’t “enough.”

Through my eating disorders, be it anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, I believed God hated me and was going to send me to hell. My perfectionistic thoughts had obliterated His grace. Increasing amounts of shame from my behaviors, which included theft and lying, made me reach a point of no return. I was “un-save-able.”

So, when I encountered Mark 9:24, it validated my struggles with doubt. That ninth chapter in Mark, uttered by a man, centuries earlier, sent the reassurance I needed. I was not the only 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 Jesus was telling me it was solely up to me to “believe right,” then, let’s face it, I’m a goner.

But again, centuries ago, He responded to another doubting person. Mark 9:24 was this man’s only comeback.

“Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”

Perhaps, this was an early template of the Twelve Steps. After all, 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 on that belief.

The first seven steps, indeed, emphasis the power of that commitment…

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and dysfunctional- behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that God, a Power greater than ourselves, could restore us to sanity and stability.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as revealed in the Bible.
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.

And steps eleven and twelve further challenge us to confront and correct our doubts…

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as revealed in the Bible, 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 others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

No, this process is not perfect; it’s fraught with setbacks. But, long before we were aware of our weaknesses and failures, God was.

For he knoweth our frame;
he remembereth that we are dust.
Psalm 103:14

He’s not intimidated by exactly where our thinking has landed us. He knows. And He has it within His control. The key point, however, is to, by faith, embrace that principle. And yes, we need to yell a spiritual word:


It covers our life issues and what led up to them. It covers beliefs… and un-beliefs.

“Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”

And, no matter what, we all need God’s help to believe Him.