Important Update: If you signed up to receive the updated blog post “Looking Back So We Can Move Forward,” I don’t know why the new version wasnt’ delivered in my email update last night. To read it, please click here. If you’re signed up to go with me through the 7-day Doubt Diet, here’s our next devotion.
Taken in part from Chapter 5
© 2011 by Renee Swope with Revell Publishing. All rights reserved.
Food for thought: The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have .… Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14 NIV)
Wouldn’t it be great if becoming a Christian meant that all of our doubts and fears went away? Have you ever wondered why you still struggle with insecurities and self-doubts while knowing you are a child of God?
Maybe you’ve sensed God leading you to participate in a ministry, but doubt has convinced you that you’re not smart enough or gifted enough. Perhaps you wanted to have kids, and now you have a family but you doubt you really have what it takes to be a good mom. Or maybe you’ve wanted to change jobs and now have the opportunity to do just that. But you don’t want to go because you’re afraid of failing at something new.
In chapter 1 of A Confident Heart, I describe the day I discovered the shadow of my doubt. After begging God to zap me with confidence and realizing it wasn’t going to happen, I asked Him to give me His perspective and show me what had made me start feeling so insecure and uncertain.
I thought about Gideon, another man who was called by God but paralyzed by fear and feelings of inadequacy. From reading his story in Judges 6, I knew Gideon had overcome his doubts and fears by focusing on what God thought about him, instead of what he thought about himself.
But, he also processed his doubts with God in a very honest way. He told the angel of the Lord that he questioned God’s presence and doubted His promises because of recent conflicts and defeats with his enemies, the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord called him a warrior and told him to go out and defeat the Midianites, Gideon’s insecurities started shouting excuses, listing all his inadequacies.
One thing that triggered Gideon’s doubt was his perception of himself. He turned to the angel, and asked, “But how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judg. 6:15). Gideon believed his family was the weakest and he was the runt of them all. Damaged emotions and insecurities from our past have a powerful influence over how we see ourselves today.
As I stood there in my bathroom, I knew I needed to get honest with God too. I needed more than just a quick fix. I wanted to figure out what triggered my self-doubts. I thought back on the events of my week and remembered a conflict with a friend that made me doubt I should even be in women’s ministry. After all, my doubt whispered, if you can’t maintain healthy relationships at all times in all areas, how can you help others?
I also received an email at work with feedback from recent events. There were several positive comments and one criticism. Forgetting the compliments, I couldn’t stop thinking about that one criticism. I’d also been comparing my abilities to other speakers who had been booked for an upcoming event with me. Self-doubt convinced me I wasn’t as gifted as they were.
Conflict, criticism, and comparison are three triggers that lead me into that yucky place of uncertainty. What about you? When conflict arises at work or at home, do you ever assume it disqualifies you from other ministries or callings? Does criticism ever paralyze you from believing you can do certain things? Or, has comparison ever convinced you that someone else can do it (whatever “it” is) better than you can?
Before that day in my bathroom, I thought insecurity was simply a negative emotion, a lapse of faith, a dip in self-confidence. I wanted God to take it away or heal me, but instead He taught me how to let my doubt lead me to a place of deeper dependence on Him.
When I find myself standing in the shadow of doubt, I ask Jesus to show me what triggered my emotions. Then I process that trigger point through the filter of God’s perspective and promises. I ask Him to show me what lie I believe that needs to be replaced with His truth. I then ask Him to change the way I’m thinking, which changes the way I’m feeling, and eventually transforms the way I’m living.
Over time, I’ve learned to rely on God’s power to defeat my insecurities, which has empowered me to fulfill His calling on my life. And so can you! God calls us to live beyond the shadows our doubts, but it is not always about what He wants us to do as much as it is about what He wants to do in us as we learn to completely depend on Him.
Lord, I want to rely on—and live in—the power of Your promises. Please show me when something triggers my self-doubt, and then help me focus on Your thoughts about me instead of my thoughts about myself. I’m so thankful that Your grace is sufficient for me and Your power is perfected in my weakness. Although my flesh and my heart may fail, You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 73:26)
Doubt Diet Tip: In the same way emotional triggers make us want to eat a half-gallon of ice cream or a whole bag of chips, we have emotional triggers that cause us to doubt ourselves. Ask God to show you your most common triggers and help you process them through the filter of His truth.
Let’s Talk: I encourage you to read my P31 devotion and blog post follow up on Weds. It’s a part of my book that isn’t included in the Doubt Diet but it’s essential to our wholeness and confidence in Christ. Also, let’s keep praying and encouraging one another!!! Our faith in God nad His promises grows as we speak truth into each others’ doubts. Be part of the conversation and our Confident Heart community bu returning to my website (if you’re reading this via email), and click on “Share Your Thoughts” below the Day 3 post.
Day 4 will be sent on Monday. Why not take the next few days to review Day 1-3 and catch up on anything you missed this week from our 7-day Doubt Diet.