Tackling Tough Questions…it is Tuesday!

thWelcome to our Tuesday discussion.  Today we will try to answer some of your tough questions.  We know that if one person voices their question and concerns, there are many more who have the same questions, but just don’t ask.

We thought this blog is the perfect place to answer them for everyone.

Questions:  How do you really get rid of doubt?

A few days ago I felt paralyzed with self-doubt about a big commitment I had made. After begging God to zap me with confidence, and then 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 horrible place of uncertainty.

I remembered how a conflict with a friend this 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 this week. One harsh criticism overshadowed several positive comments and consumed my focus. And, I had been comparing my abilities to others working on a project 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?

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!

Leap of Faith

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Sometimes I want to know more.  I want to be able to make the right decisions for my life.  I don’t want to go outside of the will of God and find myself flailing about in the midst of consequences I actually bring upon myself.  I want more than anything to stay within the pathway He sets before me.  And while I want one thing, I have to accept the fact that what I want may not be the best choice for me or for others.  Ultimately, I want God’s best.  I take seriously the larger decisions in my life.  I think everything I do works together with God’s plan to build up His kingdom and grow me spiritually.  I have various folks in my life who influence my thinking, but sometimes they just add to my confusion.

For this world’s wisdom is foolishness with God, for it is written, He lays hold of the wise in their own craftiness.  And again, The Lord knows the thoughts and reasonings of the wise and recognizes how futile they are.  1 Corinthians 3:19-20.

Futile.  We try to reason everything out and the more we reason, the more we seek another’s counsel, the less we know and the more muddled our thoughts become.  That is when I retreat.  I actually stop talking to people about my quandary, my crossroad.  I sit quietly before the Lord and ask Him for His wisdom.  I rest until I have a clear answer.  That can be daunting.  Sometimes the answer seems totally out of sync with anything I’ve been advised.  I don’t know about you, but most times God leads me to act, not on logic, but on faith.  The leap may be frightening.  I tend to argue with God in these times, just like Moses saying he couldn’t speak before Pharoah.  So God gives him Aaron to go along and help him.  Sometimes I think all the things God used to make Pharoah let Israel go, was to show Moses the power of God’s might.  I relate well to old Moses.  But that is because I take my eyes off God and put them on myself.  Moses was more concerned with his inadequacy than God’s adequacy.  Logic sees as far as one can see before the jump; faith sees God at the end of the jump.  From that vantage point, we catapult with courage, knowing He provides a safe landing.

In His Grip,

Mary