In April of this year, I traveled to Nebraska and spoke about self-doubt at Jumping Tandem: The Retreat. I spoke about self-doubt, not because I’ve nailed it, but because God changed my mind about how I see it while taking a shower one day.
Don’t we do our best thinking in the shower? I know I do.
I was circling an old patch of self-doubt I revisit from time to time, beating myself up about it, when I had these thoughts I believe were God’s questions encouraging me to think differently, like any good coach does with a leader.
What if self-doubt isn’t negative, like you think it is?
What if it’s the marker in your life alerting you to a new season?
What if the way you respond to self-doubt becomes the stepping stone to the next page of your story?
What if I see something in you that you don’t see in yourself?
What if self-doubt is actually the neon sign sitting on the curb of your life with flashing lights that reads, “Get ready, I’m about to do something in your life that is bigger than you are.”
Six months later, I’m on my knees, leaning into the arm of a chair at the Allume Conference with tears streaming down my face as the woman my friend and I are praying for says she is overwhelmed. But not in the way you might think.
Through violent weeping, she manages thoughtful words through gasps, “I just can’t believe it…. Everyone is being so kind. I can’t believe people would know my name. I can’t believe they would want to have lunch with me. No one’s ever done that for me, before.”
She was overwhelmed by God’s love for her revealed through the kindness of others because she lived her whole life isolated by rejection, even by her own parents. And after she recited a litany of reasons why she felt inadequate, I thought about what God revealed to me about self-doubt, our watery eyes met and I said, “Me too.”
“Really,” she replied through a deep exhale, a pause in her waterworks. “You feel that way too.” She couldn’t believe my friend and I were nodding. Empathy was doing her work.
When I am nauseated by fixating on myself, when I have convinced myself that I am the only one who struggles with _____, when I admit that I feel like I’m not enough, I embrace a writing sisterhood who chant “me too” and the cloud of shame and doubt evaporate.
Michelle and Lynn
The “me too” factor sets us free to be ourselves.
Because most all self-doubt is rooted in comparison, that fear of insignificance that petrifies.
I think it’s why the story of Moses resonates with so many. When he responds to God’s assignment to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses says, “You want me to do what? Who Am I?” It’s the “me too” mirror at work when we read about his story in Exodus. God radically used Moses to shape the Kingdom, a man full of self-doubt, weighed down by comparison, feeling inadequate.
Somehow, that seems hopeful.
The next day, when I saw that same woman we prayed for, she was smiling. Her cheeks reflected the pink sweater she was wearing, huddled by women exchanging their business cards. She looked up at me through the sea of heads with those “me too” eyes, walked over and wrapped her arms around me.
“Thank you so much for praying for me,” she expressed, standing as a living illustration of transformation.
Sometimes we learn humility through the school of adversity and that makes us distrust in our qualifications. Like what we went through to get to this place isn’t normal or proper or valuable because it’s not how someone else got there.
And just like Moses, what we think about ourselves or what others think about us doesn’t really matter, does it? God has anointed you and I for such a time as this. He thinks we are right for the job, and that’s all the assurance we need.
How do we quiet the voice of self-doubt? We practice the “me too” factor, call out those things we see in one another and let empathy set us free from the tyranny of the lies we tell ourselves. The pivotal moment lies in the center of your self-doubt. What are you going to do about it?
Pssst . . . we need your gifts that don’t look like someone else.
Join us in the comments and for further discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown as we talk this week about Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To” and Being Cool and “Always in Control” to cultivate meaningful work, laughter, song and dance. This is day 28 of 31 Days of Letting Go in the Deep End. Find out more here and join us for daily posts delivered to your inbox by adding your email address to Subscribe in the sidebar. It only takes a few seconds and it’s painless, I promise.