One thing that I recently discovered is that if you are trying to do things that you’ve never done before. If you’re trying to chase your dreams or achieve something big that requires you to step out of your comfort zone, dealing with self-doubt is something that just comes with the territory.
I’m in that territory now. I’ve been dreaming up some big dreams lately, and along with those dreams, have come what feels like even bigger doubts. I’ve been doubting my capabilities, and my adequacy. I’ve been fighting off negative thoughts that have me asking myself questions like who am I to be doing any of this? The imposter syndrome has been real. Maybe you can relate.
The thing is, I truly believe in my heart that God has been leading and guiding me every step of the way up until now. And I had been stepping out on faith and trusting Him to get me where I need to be. Even while being afraid. And even while not really knowing where this will lead, or how things will turn out. I was trusting.
Until my fears and doubts got in the way.
And you know who I reminded myself of? Peter. Jesus’ disciple. Particularly in the passage in the bible where Jesus calls him out of his boat. The passage reads:
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “you of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”Matthew 14:25-30 NIV
This is a passage of scripture that I’ve heard preached about many times, but this is the very first time that the fact that Jesus told Peter to come, stood out to me. Jesus called him. He called him outside of the boat to do something that no one had ever done before. To do something that otherwise would have been impossible without God.
And Peter had faith. Otherwise, he never would have left the boat. He believed that Jesus could and would enable him to walk on water. But once he saw the wind, his doubts overcame him. And as a result, he began to sink.
That story resonates with me so well, because I often feel like Peter. I start out trusting God. But something happens that causes me to doubt.
I’ve come to learn that my self-doubt is very tightly connected with whether or not I’ve been spending time with God. When I’m reading the word and praying consistently, I feel like I can take on the world and like nothing is impossible. Like no dream is too big, and that I can do whatever I set my mind to.
But when I’m not, and kind of winging it and stumbling on my own, I start focusing on my imperfections. I start feeling unqualified and uncapable. I begin to see all the reasons why I can’t and shouldn’t.
Insecurity takes the place of faith.
And that’s when I begin to let my own limited thinking get the best of me.
The wind in my life looks like comparison. It looks like fear of not being good enough. It looks like fear of being judged or criticized. Fear of failing. Of sinking.
But if I believe and trust God, what makes me doubt? Why do I suddenly feel like what I thought was so possible, is now so far fetched?
Because just like Peter, I took my eyes off of Jesus, and I started looking at the wind. And when I look at the wind, I forget Jesus is there. Then things begin to feel scary, because I’m out in what feels like this big sea, and I’m doubting what I can do and who I can be. And I’ve become too afraid to move forward, but have gone too far out to go back. So, I begin to sink.
I can just imagine Jesus asking me the same thing He asked Peter. “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I start doubting because I’m now relying on myself and my own efforts more than I’m relying on God. I’ve forgotten that He’s always right there with me, and that He’s the one who’s been holding everything together all along.
I wonder if Peter forgot that Jesus had it under control. That Jesus was the one allowing him to gracefully walk on that water. Did he just for a second, forget that he didn’t need to rely on his own abilities to walk across?
I don’t know the exact reason why Peter began to doubt, but my biggest takeaway from that particular passage of scripture, is that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and remember that He is the one in control.
He’s the one who carries us safely to and from all of our destinations. Big and small.
He called Peter out of his boat.
And He’s calling us too.
Calling us to do what might feel impossible. But the beautiful thing is, that we don’t have to rely on ourselves or our own abilities. We have God to carry us through every circumstance.
It’s just like my pastor said in church last week.
Whatever God tells me I can be, I can be. Whatever He calls me to, He’s already equipped me for.
We just have to trust Him. And stay close to Him.
Let’s spend time in His word, reading scriptures that speak to us about trusting Him. And let’s pray to God when we start having those doubts about ourselves.
Let’s ask Him to continue to remind us that we belong to Him, and that He gives us what we need to accomplish things. That He equips us. Even for the things we’re afraid to do. And He’s constantly working all things together for our good, so we have nothing to fear.
I always come back to this scripture whenever I feel like I need a reminder of the importance of staying close to God.
4 Remain in me as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:4-5 NIV
We were never meant to do it alone. Any of it.
Let’s practice battling our self-doubt with God-Confidence. Being confident that God will help us to accomplish all of the things that we need to because He’s with us every step of the way.
As long as we stay connected with Him, and choose to stop relying on ourselves. As long as we seek Him, and trust Him and His ability to work in and through us, we’ll be able to accomplish anything He calls us to.