When Doubt Won't Go Away
"'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 1984)
Wouldn't it be great if becoming a Christian meant that all of our doubts and fears went away?
A few years ago I felt paralyzed with self-doubt about a big commitment I had made to do something I'd never done before. After begging God to zap me with confidence, and realizing it wasn't going to happen, I asked Him to show me what made me feel so insecure and uncertain.
Immediately I remembered Gideon, a man who was called by God yet 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. When an angel of the Lord told him to go defeat the Midianites, Gideon 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 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 needed to figure out what triggered my self-doubts and led me into such a yucky place of uncertainty.
I remembered how a conflict with a friend that week made me 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. And, I had 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.
Conflict, criticism and comparison had sent me into the shadows of doubt.
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?
In my book, A Confident Heart, I share how we can allow God to change the way we think, which will change the way we feel, and eventually transform the way we live!
It's not a quick fix but a powerful process of naming our doubts, identifying what triggers them and then learning to rely on God's power to lead us into a place of living confidently in the security of His promises.
The next time you start feeling insecure, ask God what triggered your doubts. Then process the trigger point through God's perspective. Ask Him to show you lies you're believing and truths to replace them. Then let Him change your thought process by focusing on His thoughts towards you instead of your thoughts about yourself. For instance:
- When doubt tells you that you can't do something because it's too hard, remember God says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).
- When doubt tells you you're not good enough, focus on the truth that God says you're fearfully and wonderfully made; all of His works are wonderful and you are one of them (Psalm 139:14).
One thing I know for sure, Jesus wants you to live with a confident heart! Some days it will be about what He's calling you to do but — even more than that — it will be about what He wants to do in you as you learn to completely depend on Him!
Dear Lord, I'm tired of feeling paralyzed by insecurity. Show me what triggers my self-doubt and help me focus on Your thoughts about me instead of my thoughts about myself. I want to learn how to rely on and live in the security of Your promises. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What triggers your doubts? How do they affect your life and relationships?
Identify your most common self-doubts, and find out what triggers them and how they affect you.
Judges 6:14, "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?'" (NIV 1984)