Lets look first at the word Self-Doubt; to see what exactly it means before we get to the HOW TO’s. The how to ultimately defeat self–doubt in our lives.
Self-Doubt is an EMOTION. An emotion can be defined as “feelings on the inside, caused by pain or pleasure, designed to move us toward or away from the will of God for our lives.” Please understand that not all emotions are bad. God gave them to us for a reason. Through positive emotions, we can experience God in deeper, more meaningful ways, and “feel” Him through love, joy, and peace. Self-Doubt is a negative emotion. Based on the definition given, it is negative feelings on the inside, caused by pain, designed to move us away from the will of God in our lives.
In 1965, Dianne and I had been married for about six months. I had been working for a large grocery chain in San Diego for about five and a half years. When we were newly married, I had been promoted to Night Crew Manager and put from a part-time to full-time position. For 1965, my paycheck was sufficient and we couldn’t understand how young couples had such a difficult time budgeting their finances. We felt we had ‘plenty; a new car with more than enough to spend on extra things. We were expecting our first child at the end of April or first of May. Neither of us were born-again believers during this time of our lives, so if you are counting your fingers right now, September to May isn’t nine months. I was working at a store in La Jolla one month and had just clocked into my shift. There was a note attached to my time card slot that read, “Mel…please come to the Store Manger’s office as soon as you clock in.” What is this all about. Since I wasn’t short of self-confidence at the age of 23, I went directly to his office, smiling all the way. It was either another promotion or I was going to be transferred to another store. Either one would be terrific. I knocked on the door, letting myself in while still knocking. I noticed right away that not only the store manager was in the office but the District Manager was also present. “Have a seat Mel”, as he pulled a chair away from the wall. I sat down with some discomfort, when the store manager said, “Since business is down in our district Mel and a large competitor is coming down from Los Angeles into our area, we are going to have to put you on a part-time position.” He explained since I had just recently been put into a full-time position, I was at the bottom of the list in seniority. However, I had the highest seniority in the District for part-time work. What is he talking about? High seniorty, low seniority… What were my feelings and emotions at that moment? Anger first, then rejection and as I slowly walked out of the office and down the stairs; real PAIN. In 1965, cell phones were not available to call home and break the bad news to my pregnant wife. Without unloading my emotions, I went with a spontaneous, irrational response. My feelings moved me in the wrong direction; to storm back to the manager’s office, throw the door wide open and blurt out, “I QUIT”! I turned myself about and left, slamming the door behind me. All the way home that evening, my thoughts were positive and not negative; not yet anyway. After telling my family for the first time in my young life, I was now un-employed, I would go out the next day as if I had not quit my job and find work. With my experience in the grocery business, I will have no difficulty in finding a job. Lack of confidence was not a problem. Within a few weeks, A & P Grocers was opening a store in the San Diego area. They were a large chain back east but this would be their first venture on the west coast. I was immediately hired, along with over a hundred other workers. Two weeks after the store opened, sixty employees were laid off. That included moi (ME). I contnued to get up every morning as if going to work, looking desperately for a job. Any job. In 1965, un-employment was not handled by computers. Every week I had to go downtown San Diego, stand in long lines after filling out State paperwork, and wait for your number to be called. After six months of going through this tedious procedure and not being successful finding work, my confidence tanked. I now had a wife and a baby to support on fifty to seventy-five dollars a week ( $50 dollars from the state and a union supplement of $25 dollars). This amount was to pay for my gas, our groceries, our rent and baby diapers. No Pampers in 1965. My determination to find work was still strong but my self-doubt and my lack confidence became overbearing. This was my first experience of self-doubting in myself, but definitely not my last. In nearly 47 years of our marriage and three children, I have been unemployed at least 14 times. That is certainly nothing to boast about. I was either laid-off, fired or quit in those periods. One close friend of ours, when we were first married told Dianne that she couldn’t be married to a guy like Mel that couldn’t hold on to a job. Wow! Was THAT a real confidence builder. After 46 years later, Dianne and I both agree that God had chosen us to be together, even before we were saved. We both came to the Lord in 1972.
If there ever was a negative emotion responsible for absolutely paralyzing our progress in life, SELF-DOUBT would fit the bill. What do I mean when I say self-doubt? Whom am I describing? Simply put, “it is the person who doubts himself, his abilities, who he is in Christ, and what his purpose is.” It’s the guy or gal who questions him/herself all the time. He operates in questioning rather than confidence. According to James 1:6, it is being double-minded. I didn’t say that. James did. The Greek word for doubting or wavering is, diakrino. It’s a verb that suggest NOT a weakness of faith but a “lack of faith”. If self-doubt has come into your life, read what James 1:7-8 says will happen:
VERSE 7, “For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asked for] from the Lord.” That becomes the BUTs in our reasoning. “Yeah BUT…it isn’t my fault” or “BUT…I am over qualified for that job” or “BUT I am totally inexperience and haven’t any talent for doing that thing“.
VERSE 8, “”[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].” A person then, who is in self-doubt; hesitates, is unstable, unreliable, uncertain about EVERYTHING and has become defeated in everything he or she attempts to do. It has become a demonic attack against your spirit. It was the same as in the Garden of Eden. Satan introduced a ‘second thought’ in Adam and Eve’s lives. The ‘what if’ to the both of them.
Self-Doubt attacks our confidence to the core. My FAITH is an expression of my confidence in God and His Word. With confidence in your life it has something attached to it. Look at Hebrews 10:35:
“Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.” Self-doubt attacks my confidence and brings nothing but ‘second thoughts’; a double-mindedness and fear. The CAN’T DO’s, the YEAH BUT’s in our lives. Better known as excuses for the “why we can’t do”.
What can self-doubt and our lack of confidence do to answers in our prayers or compensation? To our healing, our prosperity, our harvest, that is blocked by our self-doubt? What gives us confidence that strengthens our faith to answered prayer? It’s NOT what I have done for God BUT what God has done for me. How do we defeat Self-Doubt? How do we stop our lack of confidence and lack of faith in our outcomes with circumstances around us? Believe that God loves you…”this I know. For the bible tells me so!” Remember that children’s little song? Well it’s more than just a ‘little song’ for children. It’s for you and me right now. Right in the middle of your self-doubting. When stress begin to encompass me sometimes, I sing the words to, “JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW”. It really builds me up. Until you know the will of God in your life, FAITH will not be in place.
Can self-doubt effect the decisions we make toward our circumstances? Can the decisions we make come from the wrong motivations? Does GUILT, FEAR, CONDEMNATION alter my decision of what to do or what to say? If your answer is YES, stop it right now! Stop condemning yourself and continuing the self-doubt. God gave us authority over our feelings. Our feelings and negative emotions should not take authority over us. God never condemns us! Most of us know the verse in the Gospel of John 3:16 but when emotions comes from our own self-condemnation…John 3:17 says, “For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” That where a sound mind comes from. The world was already condemned! Jesus came to save the world from condemnation. So if Jesus doesn’t condemn us and He doesn’t give us our self-doubt, then where does it come from? Where does the feelings of rejection originate? Feelings like , “I ‘m NOT wanted; I’m NOT important enough; I’m NOT included; I’m NOT loved and my favorite rejection feeling, I’m too OLD to be of service! The FEAR of REJECTION or the word NO is the same as the word HURT. There are three pitfalls I found in my detective work today in Defeating Self-Doubt. They become snares to our being “more than conquerors” in life.
1. COMPROMISE in order to conform. You can disregard your Godly standards to be accepted. What is your price to compromise?
2. BEING EXPOSED TO EXPLOITATIONS. Allowing yourself to be used out of FEAR of not being accepted.
3. LOSING A SENSE OF SELF. You become a chameleon. A chameleon can change the color of their skin for protection from harm. Then who are you, really?
The devil is written all over these three pitfalls. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear)” NOT from being rejected or having self-doubt or condemned, “BUT [He has given us a spirit] of POWER and LOVE and of a calm and WELL-BALANCED MIND and DISCIPLINE and SELF CONTOL.” II Timothy 1:7 So if God doesn’t want you in self-doubt, who does? Satan, the devil, our enemy to our FAITH. If your POWER to overcome is not in place then he has defeated you. “God wants you to be the best you can be for Him.” If you were to never need help in your life, then God wouldn’t have sent the Holy Spirit to dwell on the inside of you. Accept God’s mercy from His word in Lamentations 3:22-23 and meditate in times of self-doubt.
“It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not.” Verse 23 goes on to say, “They [His mercies] are new EVERY morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.” Put your trust, your faith and your confidence in His mercy, EVERY MORNING and your self-doubt will be defeated. Realize that God is working on us. When we became believers in JESUS, God the Father started a new work within us. He won’t stop working on me and He will finish it! Romans 8:1 and Philippians 1:6