Several years ago, I was invited to speak at a national women’s conference. As I sat in the lobby waiting to be transported to the arena, some of the other conference speakers began to congregate. I subtly eyed them from across the room, and found myself considering how confident they appeared, how pretty they were, and how professionally they were dressed. I began wondering if the other speakers were more experienced than I was, if their messages would be more encouraging than mine, if their delivery methods were more moving, if they were more successful in their ministries, if the attendees would like them better, if they had more friends on Facebook, and on and on it went.
As I compared myself to these women, my mind became flooded with thoughts of insecurity and inferiority. Before I knew it, I felt like the ugly stepsister at the ball, wondering why in the world I had been asked to speak at this conference, and why I had agreed.
Without warning, the devil had pulled me into the trap of comparison, and comparison is the thief of joy and confidence. He had swooped in and filled my head with anxious, negative thoughts that led to anxious, negative emotions. I sensed my heart beginning to race and noticed my attitude was sinking, as waves of self-doubt washed over me. This is exactly how the enemy of our souls operates – if he can make us feel discouraged or less-than, we’re less likely to stand firm in our faith and use our lives and experiences for the glory of God.
I immediately noticed my negative thoughts and recognized they were pulling me under. I asked God to help me capture those pessimistic, self-condemning thoughts before they put up a roadblock between me and what God had called me to do, and I intentionally rejected those pessimistic thoughts in prayer.
I silently recited Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Then Proverbs 4:23 came to mind, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (GNT). I was so thankful I had memorized these verses and could call on them to help me push past the temptation to think negatively.
I reassured myself that if God had called me to speak at this specific event, then I was equipped and capable in His strength and wisdom, not my own.
Maybe you are struggling today with pursuing the goals and dreams the Lord placed in your heart because negativity has caused you to sink in confidence and purpose. It’s possible you aren’t even aware how much negative thinking is standing in the way of your success in meeting your goals. I encourage you to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit within you and invite Him to equip you to push past any negative thoughts about yourself, your talents, your worthiness and your call.
We can either choose to control our negative thoughts, or allow them to stand in the way of us being used by a mighty God for mighty purposes. The choice is ours.