Outnumbered by...self-doubt

Thursday March 25, 2010
The following is from my newsletter that goes out each Monday morning. I thought it might strike a chord with a mother or two out there in blogland.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm even doing a good job. There's so much going on - I do lots of things but none of them well.

Am I a good role model for my daughter - and am I an example for my son of what a woman should be?

Things are changing, and I just don't know if I'm up to it. Can I be flexible and supportive in the middle of this - and can I provide the stability my family needs when things are shifting?

I think I'm doing an okay job as a mom right now, but I've kind of lost sight of whatever else I was or plan to be. I'm lost in my mom-identity, and I kind of miss who I was...I'm not even sure who I am.

My kids are making some unwise decisions. Did I do a bad job as a mom?

When we begin to doubt ourselves, one of the first things we do is exaggerate.

Consider the Israelites who accompanied Joshua and Caleb on that expedition into the Promised Land (Numbers 13). The inhabitants of the land are first described as powerful and strong. The longer they talk, the smaller the expedition party gets, and the larger the enemy grows. They end by exclaiming, "We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Numbers 13:33).

We pay too much attention to the problem or imperfection, and it grows bigger before our eyes.

Next we suffer from uncertainty, so we spend our time examining and re-examining our every move. Some have called this "analysis paralysis." We do nothing because of the uncertainty that comes from self-doubt. We simply make ourselves even more miserable.


How do we break free from the self-doubt that magnifies problems and paralyzes us, makes us question our ability and our impact?

We can't just "fix" our self-image - take a pill and make it better.

We can't talk ourselves into thinking we're doing a great job.

We need something - Someone - greater.

We need to change our focus.

The proper self-image isn't centered on you and what you think of yourself and your abilities.

The proper self-image comes from scripture, where you can see yourself in Christ.

We need to see ourselves as God see us - as good and beloved because of His grace, not because of our nature and not because of anything we've done.

A proper self-image doesn't deny our imperfections, but it's based on Christ's victory over sin and His covering for us.

In my eyes, I've made many mistakes. When I turn to Him, I begin to live in His presence. I stop concentrating on my own ability and worth, and I focus on the worth and abilities of Christ.

The problem is not that we think too little of ourselves; it's that we think too little of Him.

Self-doubt turns into self-centeredness when we gaze at our own reflections; instead, we must turn to the One who made us.

George MacDonald wrote, "I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking."

Made by Him - dear, precious, and grand.


Our first task is to change our focus.

Instead of concentrating on ourselves, we truly need to look up - toward His presence, His worth, His greatness. We need to think less of ourselves and more of Him.

And what happens when we do? Psalm 61:3-5 tells us: "For you have been my refuge, a a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name."

He gives us the heritage of those who fear him.

Now look around. And you don't have to look far away to find some little ones who need to be reminded of their worth in Christ. How can we help our kids?

Don't over-emphasize looks, athletics, popularity or earthly achievements with your children. When you do, you're communicating acceptance based on works. Parents who use those as measuring sticks end up with either proud, busy kids or frustrated ones who just can't meet the bar.

Look a little further. Do you see a mom who struggles with self-doubt? Give her a hand. Help her to focus not on her shortcomings, but on the One who sees her as dear and precious.


So, get rid of the self-doubt.
Take your eyes off yourself and put them on Him.

"But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good." (Psalm 52:8,9)

Look at Him. Focus on Him. Trust in Him.

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing ot the Lord, for he has been good to me." (Psalm 13:5,6)

One thing bears repearing: In my eyes, I've made many mistakes. When I turn to Him, I begin to live in His presence. I stop concentrating on my own ability and worth, and I focus on the worth and abilities of Christ.

And that's where real hope is.

Each week my newsletter addresses an issue that moms find themselves outnumbered by. Subscribe and get inspiration and encouragement in your inbox each Monday morning.


Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. When I was a young mom I was almost paralyzed at the thought of making a mistake with my children. Then one day I realized I would make mistakes -- I am not only human, but sinful. I prayed that my mistakes wouldn't be drastic, and, as you said, tried to keep the focus on God and His promise of strength, grace, and wisdom.

Rita said...

You are a good mom! and anyone who takes the time to read you can see this. but it is normal to feel like we do; I think it is part of our journey and keeps us focussed.
Great post.

Karen said...

Laura, this advice can be for anyone, anytime, not just moms. I love your comforting wise words.

Kris said...

This was so good and I really needed to read it tonight! Thanks for stopping by my place and leaving your wonderful words of encouragement!

Deb said...

"We need to see ourselves as God see us...."

I love this...was just thinking about this very thing today.

How satan wants us to see ourselves as not being good enough. Never have been good enought. Never will be good enough.

But guess what?

That's not what God says, sees, or wants us to believe.

He sees who we are, and He wants us just like we are--imperfect, but forgiven.

Thanks for the confirmation here.

Oh, by the way, have you had an opportunity to check out She Speaks? Would love to know what you think. Would love to see you there.

Sweet dreams.

Anonymous said...

Laura, would you mind if I borrowed this for the monthly newsletter I compile for our ladies at church? I would give full credit to you and provide the link back here.


Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Yes, Barbara, that would be fine.

I appreciate your asking and would love it if you'd provide the link -- and encourage them to subscribe to my newsletter!

Hope it blesses someone.

Donnetta said...

I just wanted you to know I have read this a few times in my reader.

Thank you for sharing it!

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Thanks, Donnetta!

Glad it spoke to you -- that's why I write.

Tina said...

I can't even tell you how much I neeeeeeeeeeeeded this newsletter. YOU are such a BLESSING to so many people.

Do you ever unravel(sp?)

Barbara H. said...

Hi Laura - I had asked permission a few years ago to use this in a church ladies' newsletter. We're at a different church now (moved to another state) with a different ladies' newsletter, but I wanted to ask if I could use it again, with a link back to your site. Thanks!

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