Encouragement for Today - August 31, 2011


Renee Swope

August 31, 2011

Living Beyond the Shadow of My Doubts
Renee Swope

"You are a chosen [woman], a royal [priest], a holy [daughter], God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

I stood in front of my bathroom mirror getting ready for a large event while begging God to zap me with confidence, or send Jesus back before it was time for me to speak. I had been struggling with paralyzing self-doubt that week, and it was making me question everything.

Although I was honored when the event leader called months before, now I questioned why I'd accepted the invitation. And my internal dialogue was relentless...What if I forget what I'm going to say? What if my points aren't that powerful? What if they don't connect with my stories or laugh at my humor? What if...?

When I turned around to put something in my suitcase behind me, I noticed a huge nine-foot shadow on the wall. I was surprised how big the shadow was and how much it distorted the image of my five-foot, two-inch frame.

All of a sudden, I realized my uncertainty had also created a huge shadow—a shadow of doubt. It was distorting my thoughts and overpowering my emotions.

As I stood there looking at the humongous shadow, I sensed God whispering to my heart: Renee, you can only see the shadow because you have turned away from the light. Turn back toward the light.

Slowly I turned back toward the lights above the mirror, and realized I was no longer standing in the shadow. And, I also realized I had created the shadow by blocking the light.

Shadows are created all around us when something blocks light. And so it is with the shadow of doubt. When we focus on ourselves and how inadequate we feel, or what others are thinking about us, we cast a shadow of doubt in our minds and block the light of God's Truth in our hearts.

Yet, we were not designed to block the light or to be the light.

We were created to live in the Light, by focusing on what God thinks about us instead. I love how John the Baptist is described as "a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light." (John 1:7-8, NIV)

The same is true for us. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12b, NIV) When we follow Jesus closely in our thoughts, we find our confidence in Him.

As we shift the focus from our feelings of inadequacy to His promises of all-sufficiency, we can exchange our lack of self-confidence with lasting God-confidence. And in doing so, our lives become a witness, testifying of the One who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).

Are you ready to become a more Jesus-dependent, God-confident woman whose assurance is found in Him alone? If so, when you find yourself standing in the shadow of self-doubt, instead of wishing for more self-confidence, pray for lasting God-confidence! Then turn towards the Light so your heart can focus on and live in the security of His promises:

• When you feel inadequate, remember God says: You are CHOSEN.

"'You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.'" (Isa. 43:10a, NIV)

• When you feel unable or unstable, God says: You are ABLE.

"The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." (Hab. 3:19, NIV)

• When you feel unworthy, remember God says: You are LOVED.

"You are precious and honored in my sight, and...I love you." (Isa. 43:4a, NIV)

Lord, Your Word says I am a chosen woman, a royal priest, a holy daughter, a woman belonging to You. Help me remember that You have called me out of the shadows of my doubts to tell others about the Light and hope I've found in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
You can download a list of more powerful promises from Renee's blog where she's also giving away a series of Confident Heart conference calls. Click here to find out more and enter to win!

We're celebrating the release of Renee's new book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises. To find out more about this life-changing message or order a copy, click here.

Join Melissa Taylor's FREE Confident Heart online Bible study based on Renee's book, A Confident Heart. It starts September 19th! Sign up here.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you support the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. Thank you for each and every purchase you make with us!

Application Steps:
What are your most common thoughts of self-doubt and how do they make you feel? (inadequate, uncertain, indecisive, etc.) Click here for a list of powerful promises to replace them.

"When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. We leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what God is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people's opinions." — from A Confident Heart

Power Verses:
Luke 24:38, "Why are you frightened?" [Jesus] asked. "Why are your hearts filled with doubt?" (NLT)

Romans 8:6, "The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." (NASB)

© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Wednesday, 31 August 2011.