Dealing with Doubt in Kotoura-san

Faith is a funny thing. It seems so easy to keep right up until the moment it is tested. It’s fine and dandy to trust when things are going good and I know exactly what is happening, but I always surprise myself by how quickly that faith can wobble when things get a little tough.

Kotoura goes through something similar with Manabe during one of their summer breaks when she does not know what he is doing. While Kotoura is used to rejection, she is not accustomed to not knowing what’s going on. Her psychic abilities allow her to hear the thoughts of everyone around her as if they were being spoken out loud.

Throughout her life, people have avoided and hated her for expressing their thoughts out loud. Even her parents reject her after her power causes trouble at school and she exposes that each of them is being unfaithful to the other.

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Manabe was one of the first friends she ever made and the first boy she ever liked and that liked her. He brought Kotoura out of her shell after years of rejection. He was a faithful and supportive friend that gave her no reason to doubt until that summer.

It started when she called him and he did not answer for one day, then two, then three…

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Also, Manabe had begun to constantly repeat multiplication tables in his mind around her to bypass her ESP.

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Even when she sees him when he is working and confronts him, he continues to repeat things  in his mind to avoid her ESP.

From her point of view, Kotoura had every reason to be suspicious of Manabe. He was acting strange, avoiding her, and she could not look into his mind as usual to find out what was going on. So, naturally, she started to doubt him.

When things aren’t going the way I think they should go, I start to doubt too. The way God sees things and the way humans see things are on dramatically different scales.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9

While I am hyper-focused on one cell of one mushroom, God is looking at the whole pizza. So, there are always times when God’s plans for my life and my plans for my life do not coincide, things aren’t making sense, and doubt starts to sink in. So, what can be done?

One of the first things Kotoura does is go to see the ESP Club President Mifune and Vice President Muroto and tells them about Manabe’s strange behavior. After teasing her a bit, Mifune shares a story from her own life. She encourages Kotoura to work through her doubt by telling her of her own doubts.

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Even when  you love someone dearly, sometimes you get tired of believing and doubt them instead.

She shows Kotoura a memory of Muroto that made her trust and appreciate him so much and then reassured Kotoura about Manabe. Kotoura took her doubts to a friend she knew she could trust. Many times when things are in a fog, I go to a friend, a strong Christian I know I can trust, and share that doubt. We weren’t meant to do this life thing alone and it so important to have other Christians that are actively following God to lean on.

Also, the way Mifune got over her own doubts was by remembering the experiences in her past that lead her to trust and love Muroto. Throughout scripture, God’s people are encouraged to remember what he has done for them because trust needs to be continually strengthened and renewed or it will begin to die. Like I said, I always surprise myself with how quickly doubt creeps in when the smallest things are going wrong in my life. God has been there and helped me through many hard times. Remembering how faithful he was in the past helps me stick it out through doubts now.

Kotoura definitely had memories of Manabe where he had proven his character and that he was trustworthy from standing up for her when being bullied, looking for her when she decided to leave, and standing by her in general. Unfortunately, she had other memories in her past from her mother that fed her doubts. As summer break came to an end with Kotoura hearing nothing from Manabe, her doubts reached their peak. Kotoura’s mother left when she was little telling her she wished she had never given birth to Kotoura as she leaves. That wound still hurt and was irritated by Manabe’s actions. She has a daydream where Manabe turns into her mother.

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Everyone will leave you. You should have never been born in this world, after all.

Not everyone in this world is worthy of trust and experiences with these people can spill over into relationships with other people and with God. Manabe was not like Kotoura’s mother. He had proven himself to Kotoura multiple times and was actually worthy of the trust Kotoura was hesitant to place in him. It is easy to project the rejection and betrayal we have experienced from others onto God. When that happens, it is important to recognize it and call it for what it is.

Again, a friend helps Kotoura through her doubt. Moritani comes over, and Kotoura’s doubts are calmed when she shares them with Moritani and see’s that she trusts Manabe as well by reading her mind. The combination of her trusted friends’ faith in Manabe gives her the strength to decide to trust him as well.

k9In the end, Manabe was actually planning a surprise birthday party for Kotoura.

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He was avoiding her because he was working to earn money for a birthday present and because it is difficult to keep a surprise birthday party secret from someone who can read minds.

I do trust God and, at the end of the day, I know even if I am unsure about his plans he has my best interests in mind and won’t forget about me. I also believe that what ever he has planned is better than what I had planned anyway.

 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

6 thoughts on “Dealing with Doubt in Kotoura-san

  1. I need to finish this anime. This story arc was particularly fun. It is interesting to imagine how much doubt oppressed Kotoura’s mind in this ordeal since she is usually able to understand what everyone is thinking.

    Whenever doubts about God appear in my life, reading the Psalms seems to be the most helpful. That book covers every possible emotion a believer might experience.

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    1. I know! I couldn’t imagine going from knowing what everyone was thinking all the time for my entire life to what she went through with Manabe.

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  2. Thank you so, so much for posting this! Not only was I doubtful, but I was also anxious today about a few things. I enjoyed reading this post – now I no longer have both doubt and anxiety….for now, anyway. But otherwise, I know well enough that these feelings only last for a short time. Keep up the good work!

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