July 20, 2011
"'But Lord,' Gideon asked, 'how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'" Judges 6:15 (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 struggle with insecurities and self-doubts even though you know you are a child of God?
Maybe God is leading you to join or lead a ministry, but doubt has convinced you that you're not smart enough or gifted enough. Perhaps you wanted kids and now you have a family, but question if you have what it takes to be a good mom. Or maybe you've wanted to change jobs and have the opportunity, but you don't want to go because you doubt you'd succeed at something new.
I remember feeling a sense of paralyzing self-doubt about a ministry commitment I'd made. I had begged God to zap me with confidence, but eventually realized it wasn't going to happen. So, I asked Him to show me what caused me to feel so insecure and give me His perspective instead.
I thought of Gideon, a man who was called by God but paralyzed by feelings of inadequacy. From reading his story in Judges 6, I knew Gideon overcame his doubts and fears by focusing on what God thought about him, instead of what he thought about himself.
But first, he processed his doubts with God in a very honest way. Recent conflicts and defeats caused Gideon to doubt God's presence and promises. And when the angel of the Lord called him a warrior and told him to go and defeat the Midianites, Gideon turned to the angel and asked, "'How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest...and I am the least in my family.'" (Judg. 6:15)
His perception of himself made him feel completely inadequate. Damaged emotions and insecurities from our past have a powerful influence over how we see ourselves today.
I knew it was time for me to get honest with God, too. I needed more than a quick fix. I wanted to figure out what triggered my self-doubts and led me into such a yucky place of uncertainty.
A conflict with a friend that week made doubt I should even be in ministry. After all, self-doubt whispered, if I can't maintain healthy relationships at all times in all areas, how can I help others?
I also received feedback on a project that week. One harsh criticism overshadowed several positive comments and consumed my focus. I'd also been comparing my abilities to speakers who'd been booked for an upcoming event with me. Self-doubt convinced me I wasn't as gifted as they were.
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?
I used to think insecurity was simply a negative emotion, a lapse of faith, a dip in self-confidence. I wanted God to take it away, but instead He used it to lead me to a place of deeper dependence on Him.
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. When you start feeling uncertain or insecure, try to identify what triggered your thoughts and emotions. Then process that trigger point through the filter of God's perspective and promises.
Ask Him to show you what you can learn from it, and if there are any lies that need to be replaced with His truth. Then ask Him to change the way you think by focusing on His thoughts towards you, instead of your thoughts about yourself.
When we change the way we think, it will change how we feel and eventually transform the way we live.
One thing I know for sure: God wants us to live beyond the shadows our doubts! But it is not always so much what He wants us to do — as much as what He wants to do in us as we learn to completely depend on Him!
Lord, I'm tired of doubting myself and feeling paralyzed by insecurity and uncertainty. Show me what triggers my self-doubt and then help me focus on Your thoughts about me instead of my thoughts about myself. I want to rely on and live in the power of Your promises. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
This devotion is from Renee's new book: A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises. Renee has a page on her new website where you can download and read Chapter One for free.
Renee recently had a wonderful conversation with Ann Voskamp, New York Time's best-selling author of One Thousand Gifts, about her doubts and fears and how God helped Ann name them so she could then seek His help to overcome them. Visit Renee's website today where she's sharing their conversation via video and giving away 3 signed copies of Ann's book!
Ask God to show you your most common triggers and help you process them through the filter of His truth.
Take Renee's Doubt Index Analysis. It's a free short quiz to help you identify your most common self-doubts, find out what triggers them and how they may be affecting you.
What triggers my doubts? What negative thoughts paralyze me as a result of them?
How does self-doubt affect my relationships?
Judges 6:14, 16, "The LORD turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?'...The LORD answered, 'I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.'" (NIV, 1984)
© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 20 July 2011.