I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, squinting from the lights above while also trying to open my eyelids so I could put mascara on my lashes. My mouth opened, too, almost instinctively. And I wondered why opening my mouth helped open my eyes. It didn’t make sense, and neither did the way I was feeling.
I had been struggling with self-doubt and questioning everything about myself that week. Now here I was getting ready to speak out of town at a large women’s Bible study event, and instead of feeling excited I was begging God to zap me with confidence or send Jesus back before I got there.
My internal dialogue was relentless — what if I forget my message? What if they don’t connect with my stories or my teaching? What if they regret inviting me?
Finished with my makeup, I turned around to put a few things in my suitcase and noticed a huge nine-foot shadow on the wall. I was surprised by how much bigger it was than my five-foot, two-inch frame.
As I stood there looking at the humongous shadow, I sensed God whispering to my heart: You can only see the shadow because you’ve turned away from the light. Turn back toward the light.
Slowly I turned back toward the lights above my mirror, and I was no longer standing in the shadow.
Instead of answering my prayers and zapping me with confidence, God was showing me how I got stuck in this awful place. In the same way I turned away from the light above my mirror and ended up in the shadow, all week I had been turning away from the light of Truth, and all that God thinks and says about me. That’s how I ended up in the shadows of my self-doubt.
When we live in the shadows of our doubts, insecurity bombards us with thoughts like:
I can’t do this.
Things will never change.
My life isn’t going to get better.
I’ll never have the confidence I need.
Those are some hopeless and heavy statements, aren’t they? But isn’t that what self-doubt does? It distorts our thoughts, the same way the shadow distorted my size. Our doubts start to feel bigger than we are, and the longer we stay in their shadows, the more self-doubt overpowers our minds and emotions with confusion, discouragement, and defeat.
I know, because I allowed it happen to me over a lifetime. But after that day in my bathroom, I knew what it was going to take for me to step out of the shadows of doubt and start a pilgrimage towards freedom I had never believed was possible.
Can I tell you something that I know without a doubt. Something very personal? God doesn’t want you living in a cycle of defeat or dwelling in the shadows of self-doubt. He declares with confidence that things can change: “See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19) and “all things are possible to [her] who believes” (Mark 9:23 NASB).
My heart, mind and soul needed those truths and I bet your does, too. If you’re tired of letting self-doubt steal the best parts of you and your relationships or calling, let today be the day you take your first step (or your next step) towards the Light. It’s a process, but it’s possible to live with a confident heart. To live beyond the shadows of your doubt as you learn how to find lasting soul-confidence in the security of God’s promises!
Adapted from A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Live in the Security of God’s Promises, by Renee Swope. Copyright © 2011, Revell. Published with permission. All rights reserved.
Renee Swope is a monthly (in)Courage contributor and author of the best-selling book, A Confident Heart. Renee’s passion is to help women identify their most debilitating self-doubts and empower them with strategies to overcome them using powerful Biblical Truths and transforming tools. Each chapter of her book includes scripture-based prayers, personal Bible study and small group questions, journal prompts and and a chart that includes 31 different “When I say… God says…” statements and scriptures to replace your thoughts with God’s thoughts.
The “A Confident Heart”eBOOK is ON SALE for ONLY $ .99 through October 31st! Not sure you need the book? Sign up for Renee’s FREE “Confident Heart” 7-day devotional to see what’s inside first.God doesn’t want us living in a cycle of defeat or dwelling in the shadows of self-doubt. - @ReneeSwope: Click To Tweet