Day Three of the 7-day Doubt Diet

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.

Day 3: Trigger Points

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.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. sandy house says:

    Renee I just read day 2. I loved it! I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you regarding your precious daughter. We adopted our son from Romania when he was 9 months old he is now 13 and it has been quite a journey. He has attachment disorder and a few other things. I know what you are going through. through. Please know that you are in my heart and prayers. Thank you for this most wonderful devotion. Thank you for letting God use you. Love in Him xo

    • Good Morning Renee

      Thank you for reaching out to help me. I just read day 3. all I can say is OMG! i am asking each of my sisters to keep me in your prayers each devotion has been an eye opener!

  2. Thank you for sharing with us. It is true that we all have emotional triggers, the kind that make us want to hide out in baggy sweats, get lost in a crowd, or tuck ourselves away into some little corner of our being. Sometimes it is hard to remember that God sees us so much differently! He has told us we are beautiful…sacred…his (I don’t know the verse). I am trying to find that vision of myself. I believe it will be a journey, beginning with the timeline I am working on. This journey is very important to me. Thanks for leading the way…God Bless You!

  3. Renee,
    Your post today rings so true for me. Our fathers have no clue how they set us girls up for failure in many things. My father’s not being around ever in my life, and knowing he didn’t care about me as a person or his child, set me up for serious rejection issues. I have carried these issues over to my mates and friends as well. It is so difficult as i travel my journey to constantly see these issues on my shoulder again ~ even though I thought I had them under my feet. God is good and shows us to never give up, keep up the fight and always have hope for restoration and total joy.

  4. In reading your post today, I just realized that conflict,criticism, and comparison are my trigger points. I couldn’t see that before, through feelings of not being good enough.

  5. I am on a journey as well. I have supressed my feelings of doubt, resentment. hate etc that I felt in my marriage. My husband is now deceased and all of those feelings are hindering me from moving forward in my present relationship. The Lord is really working on me and I am so greatful that you are sending these tips to me . I am assured that God’s at work in my life. Please continue to send me your e-mails, they are right on target.

  6. As I read this, I realized how much I have let childhood events mold the way I view myself. I am much harder on myself than anyone else is. Doubt and feelings of defeat take up too much of my thought life. I need to realize who I am in God’s eyes and allow Him to do what He plans, despite my feelings of inadequacy.

    • Mary,

      I, too, grew up with a very verbally and physically abusive childhood. I struggled with my self-worth, and self-image, for many many years. I learned, through what others told me as a child, that I was unlovable, and would never amount to anything.

      My life as a teenager and young adult, proved those words to be true. I began doing so many things in my life, that was just living proof of what I was told. I began to live up to the words that were spoken over me, in other words.

      What I found after I gave my heart to Jesus in 1984, is that those words spoken over me in my younger years, were all lies from the pit of hell. satan WANTS you to feel defeated. he wants you to believe his lies, so he can keep you defeated in life. That is his role in life. He has come to kill, steal and destroy us. He kills our self-confidence, by stealing our worth, and destroys our self-esteem! he does NOT want us to know the truth, because as soon as we learn the Truth, he NO LONGER can hold us in bondage to his lies!

      Jesus came to set you free hon! To give you a life more abundantly. I know it’s not easy to change those negative thoughts about yourself, overnight. But I am living proof that it can be done! You can start to believe that You ARE a PRINCESS of the Most High God! That God LOVES YOU!!! That He died just for YOU, Mary! That you ARE WORTHY of His love, and YOU ARE LOVABLE!

      You are beautiful to Him Mary, no matter what satan tries to tell you, God sees you as BEAUTIFUL!!!

      I am praying that God will open your heart and your eyes, to be able to see yourself as God sees you! I love you Mary, and I am praying for a complete healing in your heart, in Jesus’ name, AMEN!!

  7. Hi Renee – I just wanted you to know we just completed a study on your book at our church, we started in beginning of September and just finished last night. The ladies totally enjoyed the book and the discussions we had thru out the Wednesday evenings. I personally thought the book was so inspirational and encouraging and you are such a transparent Godly woman, thank you. Our next study is Lysa’s “What Happens when a Woman says Yes to God” We are so blessed to offer these wonderful studies to our ladies at the church.

    One lady who was a hit-n-miss in the class took the book and read it thru out and told us last night, she had zero Christianity upbringing but your book helped her so much. She is going to join us in this our study. I thought that would be an encouragement to you.

    Again we all say thank you for such a wonderful book. God Bless you and your family.

  8. I know your messages are touching oh so many women! I thank God that He has touched your heart and you are walking in obedience to Him. There are so many women who say “just fine” when you ask how they are doing… but underneath they are struggling in some way. I thank God for you… it is like a note from a sister whenever I open your daily messages! Thank you with all my heart! PS I think you could probably get so very many ideas from women if you would just ask them to share their “heart’s story”… I believe each one of us has one… every single one! May God comfort you today and bring His peace into your household. Many thanks!

  9. THANK YOU! I am in the process of cleaning out some past hurts, abandenment from my father, divorce and a failed engagement. I am learning to have God be my first love 🙂 and it feels good!!

  10. As I grew up and entered into adult life I struggled with understanding myself and the decisions I would make, and the men which I would choose to spend my time. It wasn’t until I was into my later 20’s and early 30″s that I realized the impact from the abuse I had received from my dad and how it had been molding my future. Kind of like an alcoholic; I had to recognize the problem before I could begin to walk toward resolution and healing. After finding Christ I’ve come to know Him as the One who molds my days, and my identity is found in Him and Him alone. Doesn’t mean I never struggle anymore; I have to sometimes lay it all down all over again……and again….and again! Doesn’t mean God’s work is incomplete within me; Jesus said upon the cross “It is finished”, He has taken what was done to me and is still continually bringing good from it. That’s hard to see sometimes; when those wounds run from the days of being a little girl into your adult life but everyday i have to remind myself who God made me to be and how the enemy meant to derail God’s plan within me, not only for me, but for my family as well, and get in His word, and move forward based on His truth and not the lies of our enemy. Thank you Renee, for voicing your pain and experience, and how God has brought healing. You have given others the sight to see God’s power and love for His girls! Blessings to you!

  11. How can 2 or more people from 2 totally different lives and worlds share some of the same hurts and pains. Its amazing to me that day 1 of God bringing you into my life you have touched my heart and showed me myself in a way that I felt ok to feel this and release the pain, and continue to move past it.
    It hit home when you said “God has walked me through a season of looking back so I could move forward” this is exactly how I feel. Who else but God could do something like this and touch so many women trying to live free.

    God Bless you and your family and please continue to let God use you.

  12. I read that you wrestled with God for ten years about writing this book, but I believe God knew it would take ten years for you to put it out there at this time for these women, like myself. I know ten years ago I for one would not have been as receptive to the honesty of the damage my doubting has done in my life. Thank you! I can’t wait to read it!

  13. nancys1128 says:

    I had to force myself to finish reading the whole post before commenting. I got to the words ‘conflict, criticism and comparison” and thought you were in my head. Until seeing them in print, I didn’t totally realize it, but they jumped out at me with such force that I knew you had nailed it for me. Recognizing them is the first step to getting thru and over them. I also recognize that they are darts from the pit of hell, used by the devil himself to keep me from fulfilling God’s plan for my life. While it doesn’t feel good when it happens, I am starting to see more and more that the more these 3 things pop up the closer I am to a breakthrough in an area. This is actually a liberating thing for me, because it’s like sticking my tongue out at satan and giving him a big raspberry. I’m far from where God wants me to be, but as long as I stay aware of the real source of my insecurity, and stay true to the source of my confidence, I will win the battle. I am more than a conquerer, as are we all.

    • Yes you are sweet friend, yes you are!! I love that God is revealing the source of your doubts and the daggers of satan’s lies. You are so right, just being aware of them is half the battle. Be strong and courageous – God is with you and will fight for you!! Praying for you Nancy!

  14. It is just a blessing to know that through all our emotions, pains, etc. we have a Savior who knows all about it and He provides healing and total restoration just because He Loves us soooo much!!! We can talk to Him and count on Him to listen and to mend our hearts and bind up all of our wounds and release us to walk in complete VICTORY and Freedom!!!!! Ladies be encourage!!!!! We are daughters of the Most High and He LOVES US!!!! God Bless You. Thank you for this devotion.

  15. Oh my, comparison is the HUGE trigger for me. For as far back as I can remember (seriously far back, as in elementary school), I have compared myself to others and never measured up. In my mind and eyes, the other girls were always prettier than me; had neater clothes, hair, etc. than me; were more popular than me; were academically or athletically better than me; etc. etc. etc. and I still do this same thing today at the age of 51. I’m not sure where this tendency to compare myself with others came from though.

    Looking back on my childhood, I believe I was very much loved by my parents but I do have these peripheral feelings of needing to perform or behave well in order to keep their love. I was not raised in a Christian home but I believe my parents did the best they knew how in raising their children. I have a wonderful relationship with my parents today.

    Lord, I would like to overcome my feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt so that I can be fully used by You in Your Kingdom work. Please clearly show me anything from my past or present that is causing me to compare myself with others so that I can release it to You and be healed and restored. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

    I hope I’m not taking it out of context but I love this verse in relation to my tendency to compare myself with others: When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12b NIV

    • That is one of my favorite verses on comparison too. In fact, it’s the key verse in a doubt diet devotions that is coming up. God have even more for you – wait til you read it :-). Love how He’s speaking to you! Praying for Him to show you more and more and set you free from feelings of comparison, doubt, inadequacy so that you can become ALL He created you to be and do!

  16. Thank you so very much for having the courage to Share with us. I’m Finally able to put on paper the hurts, feelings, humiliation of my childhood. For so long I’ve felt alone in my struggles. Reading other posts with similar hurts I feel like a huge load has been lifted. Nine yrs. Ago I gave birth to my only child. Unfortunately she was 4 months premature and lived only 10 to 15 minutes.

    I never wanted anyone else to share in my grief, or have losing a child the one thing we had in common. I think over the yrs. I assumed I was once again alone in my hurts. Not anymore! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Blessings, Kelly

    • So glad you are discovering you are not alone. I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. Praying the God of all comfort will continue to comfort you with hope and show you how beautifully He can use you because your heart is tender and able to love deeply those who may be experiencing loss. He’s got a purpose for you friend!

  17. Karen Dunsworth says:

    God is so good! I didn’t think I had any ruins to be restored, but God is showing me places I still need to work on. It doesn’t sunrise me that I am learning the same thing of rebuilding the broken ruins in another bible study. I am attending the Beth Moore study Breaking Free at the church I attend (Cross Roads Community Church). If the topic is something I need to work on God always confirms it. I worked on this topic after my bitter divorce in 1996 and felt that I had taken care of all the guilt, shame and doubts. Now new memories have come to the surface and I now am dealing with them. With God’s guidance I know I will have the victory and will be a better servant for Him. God Bless You and Your Ministry. I know it has enriched my Life.

  18. Conflict, criticism and comparison has been a serious defeat to my christian life. Conflicts happen even when I intended none to be or just when I simple want to move up in my relationship with God. Some times criticism stings so hard it makes me feel insecure and draws into my self. comparison is the big one, I see myself as not as competent or as confident as someone else. What if I fail, what if I mess it up, funnily, when I take the step God always send some one with an encouraging word,yet I still fear.

  19. Thanks so much Renee. You really are a blessing. Conflict, criticism and comparison are all trigger points in my life. It is so easy to take these things on board and allow them to hold you down and make you think that you are not good enough and that you can’t do things right. I have certainly done that. With God’s help and your great teaching I pray that I can work through these things and become the woman of God that He wants me to be. God bless you Renee.

  20. Debbie M. says:

    I signed up for this but have not gotten any of the emails. I tried it again hope it works because I just love Renee. I am doing the Confident Heart online study also.

  21. Kyndle Joyce says:

    Hurts leave scars. Sometimes we can look back and not remember where the scars came from. Most of my scars come from my ex-husband. I forgave him for the things he said and did, but I don’t think I ever really forgave myself for not being perfect. I thought if I could be prettier, skinnier, happier – all the -ers – then he would stay. Then I started feeling better about all that as time went on. But after the second marriage, and issues with my current husband, all those feelings of inadequency came back. Again, it was all my fault. Of course, everytime I take it all on me I also start resenting myself. And because I resent myself, I start resenting my husband. A vicious circle. I thank God that Renee has decided to do this doubt diet again. It has blessed me so much by bringing out all these feelings and dealing with them.

  22. Why is it that we zoom in on that one negative comment among the many positive comments? I can hear negative comments ringing in my ears days after the comments were made, but can’t remember a single positive comment. And sometimes, it’s not so much as what was said but the tone of voice and the look on the person’s face. I remind myself that I am created in the image of God, that He loves me unconditionally and it doesn’t matter what others think as long as my heart and myu relationship with God is right.

  23. Thank you for this study Renee. I have been doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has been helpful, however your study has just made me realize an important missing element in my therapy! My Cognitive Behavioral Therapy includes writing down my automatic negative thoughts, and then identifying the distortions present in those thoughts, and then coming up with a “rational response.” The missing piece has been asking God to help me with this process, and to focus on God’s thoughts about me so that my rational response is a rational, God-driven response!

    Might I add that the prayers you’ve written for each day are wonderful. Thank you again!

    • 🙂 You make me smile. I love that God is completing the work He’s doing in your life by showing you how to fill in the missing pieces with Him and His thoughts towards you!! Love that!!

  24. Wow… this is where I am at…
    Trigger point right now for me is fickleness and hypocrisy which in turn makes me feel like something is wrong with me and the walls of Trust are up and not wanting to let others in …..
    Difficult situations right now and trying to walk with Him thru the hurt and pain of these things is not easy….

    So thankful for what God is leading you to do in this…..praying He blesses you/your family in an amazing way…. esp as you walk thru this things with precious Aster….

  25. Thank you Renee! Yet another message of hope and deliverance from insecurity and self doubt that was right on time. I am going to ask God to change the way I am thinking as well. He has put an opportunity in front of me and I feel inadequate, but your message gives me hope and reminds me that HE is good enough and through him so am I. Thank you. I hope your daughter is feeling better.

  26. Well evidently god is dealing with me on this issue. I started a women’s bible study tonight near where I work and the topic is almost the same. The study is One in a million by Priscilla Shirer. Then I come home and open my e-mail to the same topic. Definitely a message from God. shannon

  27. Throughout my live, I’ve compared myself to others. Now my biggest problem is comparing myself to myself. My life revolves around the pre-accident vs. post-accident me. I feel so inadequate minimally performing tasks that I was once proficient at. I’m trying to accept my limitations and develop substitutes or accommodations. When faced with the inability to worship in song (damaged vocal cords), I became determined to teach myself ASL. As long as I feel no one understands my signing, I’m fine. But the doubts and inadequacies return when I know someone knowledgeable is present. I won’t even discuss the change in my instrumental, public speaking, or relationship capabilities. I never really considered my constant comparison with others, and now myself, as leading to my insecurity and self doubt. Food for thought.

  28. Throughout my live, I’ve compared myself to others. Now my biggest problem is comparing myself to myself. My life revolves around the pre-accident vs. post-accident me. I feel so inadequate minimally performing tasks that I was once proficient at. I’m trying to accept my limitations and develop substitutes or accommodations. When faced with the inability to worship in song (damaged vocal cords), I became determined to teach myself ASL. As long as I feel no one understands my signing, I’m fine. But the doubts and inadequacies return when I know someone knowledgeable is present. I won’t even discuss the change in my instrumental, public speaking, or relationship capabilities. I never really considered my constant comparison with others, and now myself, as leading to my insecurity and self doubt. Food for thought.

  29. Renee,
    I just finished reading todays post and the words Conflict, Criticism and Comparison are also negative triggers in my life. Thank you, for providing ways for me to work through the negativities in my life and ways to stop beating up on ourselves and to make the negatives into positives. This has definitely Blessed me. I am learning from you every day. Thank you again:)

  30. Renee, I just wanted to thank you for your devotions. Especially this one. I so struggle with insecurity and comparison a lot of the time. I know it isn’t how God wants me to be and I am learning to rely on Him more and more but it is still a struggle at times. Everyone thinks I am confident but on the inside I feel a mess sometimes. I just wanted to encourage you to Keep up the great work God is using you for. Thanks again.

  31. This was on point for me, I often wonder why I suffer so much with doubt. I can now ask God to help me identify my trigger points and allow me to deal with any past issues that maybe keeping me from believing in myself. Learning to rely on God and less on myself is a constant battle for me. I am praying for all women who continue to have doubts about themselves, Remember WE can do ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US.

  32. My goodness, Renee, you have opened a “Pandora’s Box” of thoughts and emotions. God is working to set the captives free, for His glory, even when freedom is temporarily painful to achieve. Thank you for allowing Him to use you in this way.

  33. Oh my gosh…God is so amazing and He is always just right on. I love the story of Gideon. His story reflects my perspective of myself. Although Gideon was called by God he was paralyzed by feelings of inadequancy. Most than anything Gideon believed that his clan was the weakest of the Manasseh and that he was the least in his family. My, how I have struggled for years with the feelings of being the least in my family; believing that I was damaged goods. Conflict, criticism, and comparison paralyzes me quicker than anything I know, it’s as though it wounds my inner being (my heart). Like Gideon, I just want to hid. Walking through this journey I realize that I can’t do this on my own that I must rely completely on God. Renee, I praise God everyday for your story and your willingness to share. More than that I am thankful for your obedience, that you listened to God’s leading and wrote, “A Confident Heart.” May God continue to bless you as you have blessed others.

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