A New Pattern of Thought
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2 (NIV)
It's usually very subtle. I'll think about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and a feeling of uncertainty comes over me. Doubt whispers You can't do that. You're not good enough. Out of the blue, I'll get that awful, insecure feeling.
Too many times in the past I've gone along. Without realizing it, I agreed with my insecurities.
For years, I didn't tell anyone about my doubts. I figured if they knew the reasons I doubted myself, they'd notice flaws I had worked hard to hide. Honestly, I thought I was the only one who struggled with doubt.
However, I didn't call it doubt. Maybe you don't either. Sometimes I called it worry—worry that I was going to disappoint someone, worry that I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry that I might start something but not be able to finish.
Other times I'd call it fear—fear of not measuring up, fear of rejection, fear of looking prideful by thinking I could do something special for God.
What I've realized over the years is that these feelings may end up as fear or worry, but their source is self-doubt. Looking back, I see there was a pattern in my thinking that led to the pattern of my doubting.
As a child I thought I wasn't worth keeping. My insecurity kept me from riding the carousel at an amusement park because I doubted my dad would wait for me. In school, I thought I wasn't smart enough. I avoided great opportunities because they came with the risk of failure.
Even as a young bride, I doubted my worth in my husband's eyes. Although he gave me no reason to fear, our newlywed memories include many arguments about trust.
The apostle Paul challenges us in Romans 12:2 to not let our minds be conformed by the patterns of this world. This means we need to take our patterns of thought into consideration because they affect what we believe about ourselves and what we believe about God's view of us and others.
The world's patterns of thought tell us our worth is measured by our weight or bank account, our job or spouse, by the number of our friends, or if we are able to have children. And if we do have children, the world tells us we're only good parents if our children behave 'just so.'
Have any of these thoughts ever convinced you you're not enough or don't have what it takes to do all God's calling you to do?
Just this week, doubt tried to convince me I couldn't handle my life. I had a sick teenager, a huge deadline to meet, several therapy appointments for my daughter and very concerning health problems with my mom.
Remembering the wisdom in today's key verse, I paused to consider the pattern of my thoughts and knew they didn't line up with God's thoughts. For instance, in Philippians 4:13 God tells me, "... I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (NLT).
I claimed God's promise by weaving it into my thoughts, knowing I could do it all if I depended on the strength God promises to give. And when I did, God transformed my heart by renewing my mind with His peace and confidence.
It takes time to replace our patterns of thought with God's thoughts. The ways of the world—fear and worry—are powerful forces. But God's Word trumps them, always. Today, let's be intentional to lay down self-doubts and replace them with truth, remembering "... he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:16 ESV).
Lord, I want to have a confident heart in Christ and persevere in Your truth so that when I have done Your will, I will receive what You have promised. When doubt tells me I can't do something, I'll remember all things are possible to her who believes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What motivates you the most to be free from self-doubt?
What would you do differently if you were free from worry and fear, and fully trusted God? Let go of unforgiveness? Volunteer more? Travel? Start a new hobby or look for a new job? Ask the Lord to help you replace self-doubt with His confidence and what your first step of freedom should be.
Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (NLT)