“Why are you frightened?” [Jesus] asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?” Luke 24:38 NLT
Have you ever read something and said to yourself, “Yes! This is exactly what I’m feeling! And I thought I was the only one…”? This has been my heart’s exclamation for the past three weeks, as I’ve been reading A Confident Heart by Renee Swope for this fall’s Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study.
Through Renee’s writing, I’ve realized the main source of my doubts – worrying about what others think of me. Here’s what Renee says:
We find ourselves in the shadow of doubt many times because our thoughts are mostly about ourselves: how we’re performing and what others are thinking about us…. When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. We leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what He is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people’s opinions. We become overly concerned about what others think of us instead of what God thinks about us.
In order to shift our focus, we have to turn our thoughts completely toward God “by thinking about His strengths instead of my weaknesses,” Renee says.
The example of Gideon is one Renee uses in her book to brilliantly illustrate her point. At one point, Gideon was paralyzed by fear and insecurity, and during his conversation with God, he listed all the reasons why he couldn’t do the job God had asked him to do. Check out this conversation – I love Gideon’s honesty in this passage:
When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
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?”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon asked, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6:12-15)
Well, at least Gideon was polite when he questioned God with his “pardon me, but…” How many times have I talked to God and said similar things? “But God, I can’t do that! That takes too much time, or faith, or talent, or (fill-in-the-blank)! Ask someone stronger – I’m definitely not the one you want!”
But, you ARE the one God wants. And so am I. If He chooses me for a particular task – no matter how hard that task may seem or how unsuited for the task I might be – He will follow through. Not because of my strength, but because of His.
So, starting today, I am actively moving forward and turning away from my doubt, worry, insecurity and comparison. With God’s help, I am turning toward Him and focusing on His truth. His truth says that because of Jesus, I am loved, I am cherished, I am valued, I am good enough, and I am His child. Nothing can ever change that!
Father, thank You for Your truth. Help me to remember that if You call me to do something for You, I have everything I need to complete that task. Your faithfulness is my refuge. Deliver me from my doubts and fears, and help me to rest in Your plan for me. You have begun a good work in me, and You have promised to complete it!