For a real-live example of this topic, please listen to Moving Beyond Emotional Hurt: Understanding Self-Doubt podcast .
What does it mean to possess self-doubt? The short answer is that we lack confidence in the reliability of our motives, personality, thought, etc.
Elijah’s story reveals that we all are human who possesses challenges when people hurt us. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah kills false prophets with a sword and fled for his life. Before killing the false prophets, Elijah pleas and God provides rain to Israel despite a severe famine. God listened and demonstrated that He alone is God. Afterwards, Elijah executed four hundred and fifty Baal prophets. Once again, God revealed that He was God alone. Therefore, when Elijah fled after Jezebel’s taunt, he devalued and ignored God’s victory over Baal as though it was nothing. Not only did he minimize God’s presence and authority, but he also undervalued his contribution and achievement in proclaiming God’s power. It was by his declaration that rain came and his hand that killed the Baal’s prophets. Unfortunately, Elijah’s self-doubt left him fearful, faithless, and hiding in a cave.
God responded to Elijah’s self-doubt by meeting him at his hiding place. I want to pause for a moment and acknowledge that when self-doubt consumes us, we hideout. We are not walking in the gifts and talents that God provided. Even though Elijah hid, God revealed that he still had work to do. It was time for him to stop hiding and return to the work of the Lord. Despite not seeing his value, God still used him to accomplish His tasks. God remained faithful to Elijah and did not allow his self-doubt to prohibit him from doing His work.
What about you? How does self-doubt manifest in your life? Think about how self-doubt surfaces in your relationships, especially your relationship with God.
Self-doubt has the following characteristics:
- You may find it difficult to complete tasks as you sabotage yourself in thinking you are unable to accomplish them. For instance, you think you are unable to pass an exam and thereby do not study. The result of not studying causes you to flunk the exam. Regarding relationships, you sabotage yourself by thinking that you are not a good friend, or others do not want to be around you. You may interact with others with this level of insecurity to which they find it difficult to be around you.
- You may overextend your efforts on a particular goal to ensure future success. By overextending, you proclaim that failure is not an option to overcompensate for your self-doubt. This behavior is prevalent in your relationships by continually boasting about your achievements. Or you may work very hard to demonstrate that you are a better friend.
- You may compare yourself to others emphasizing your lack of confidence in your abilities.
- You may minimize your achievements, only thinking of them as by chance. In your relationships, you may not realize your value; thereby you reduce your influence.
Self-Doubt that surfaces in our walk with God:
- We minimize God’s presence in our lives. We question God’s authority and sovereignty over our lives.
- We are unable to grasp God using our talents or gifts for a greater good.
- We may stop participating in our church community due to thinking that we do not belong. We may also conclude that we do not have anything to offer our church community.
As we close, please know that self-doubt forces us to not believe in the gifts and talents that God has placed within us. God responds to our self-doubt by believing in our talents and sending us out to do His work. God continually places us in circumstances where we have no choice but to do His work. If we allow Him, He will inspire us to pursue greatness.
How about you? What areas of your life have self-doubt stopped you from achieving greatness, especially greatness in your walk with God? How has conflict in your relationships contributed to your self-doubt? Self-doubt leaves us disillusioned about God’s power. Not only are we unable to see His power, but we minimize our role in demonstrating it. He is calling us to return to Him so that He can use us for His work.