"'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)
A few years ago I felt paralyzed with self-doubt about a big ministry commitment I'd made, but had never done before. After begging God to zap me with confidence, and realizing it wasn't happening, I asked Him to reveal what made me insecure.
Immediately I remembered Gideon, a man whom God called to do big things, yet he was paralyzed by 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 honestly processed his doubts with God. Recent conflicts and defeats caused Gideon to doubt God's presence and promises. When an angel of the Lord told him to defeat the Midianites, Gideon asked, "'How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest ... and I am the least in my family'" (Judges 6:15).
Gideon's perception of himself made him feel inadequate. We aren't so different when damaged emotions and insecurities from our past influence how we see ourselves today.
It was time for me to get honest with God about my uncertainties too. I needed to figure out what triggered my self-doubts and led me to such a yucky place of uncertainty.
I remembered how a conflict with a friend that week made me doubt if I should even be in ministry. After all, self-doubt whispered, if I can't maintain healthy relationships, how can I help others?
Also, feedback on a project kept hounding me. One harsh criticism overshadowed several positive comments and consumed my focus. I'd also been comparing my abilities to other women. 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, do you assume it disqualifies you from ministries or callings? Does criticism paralyze you from believing you can do certain things? Or, has comparison convinced you that someone else can do it (whatever "it" is) better than you?
Thankfully, 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. It's a powerful process of naming our doubts, identifying what triggers them, and learning to rely on God's power to lead us to live confidently in the security of His promises.
The next time you feel insecure, ask God what triggered your doubts. Process that trigger point through God's perspective and promises in the Bible. Ask Him to show you lies you believe and truths to replace them. Then let Him change your thought process by focusing on His thoughts about you instead of your thoughts about yourself. For instance:
When doubt tells you that you can't do something, 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).
Jesus wants us to live with a confident heart so we can accomplish what He's calling us to do. And He wants to change us from the inside out so we can learn to completely depend on Him!
Dear Lord, I'm tired of feeling paralyzed by insecurity. Show me what triggers my self-doubt. 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:
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)
© 2013 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105