Life is often viewed as going through seasons, like Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Each season is needed for a purpose and each season should be accepted for what it is and what it provides. Above all we should learn to enjoy each season of life even if it is uncomfortable.
None of us are going to be in all of these seasons at once – Well, I hope you’re not anyway. I will admit I have felt at times like I was in a several seasons all at once. Each of these seasons we will all face many times in our life.
Today, let’s talk about the Season of self-doubt. Either you are facing this season, you will face it, or you know someone who is facing this season right now.
Times of self-doubt are not uncommon, nor does it necessarily mean something is wrong with us. It is just a part of our life that we go through, but must not camp or dwell there.
Let’s take a look at the advice the Apostle Paul gave to his son in the faith, Timothy, when he faced a season of self-doubt. Paul was well qualified to give this advice. 1 Corinthians 2:3 — why could Paul advice Timothy so well about self doubt “I came to you in weakness — timid and trembling.” Paul could give advice about self-doubt because he had faced it himself. This confident apostle that we always think about says, “When I came to you, Corinthians, I was timid, I was weak, I was trembling. I didn’t know what to do next.” Ever been here? But he said, “God carried me through.” Later in life he says to Timothy, “Here is how you face it.”
He said in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” God wants to take us through this season and help us to grow through this season.
Before we take a look at Paul’s advice to Timothy, let’s take a look at a couple of reasons for this season.
There are a couple of main reasons why you and I face this season of self-doubt. The first reason you might expect; is failure. When I fail I can be overwhelmed by self-doubts. Maybe I’m out of a job for several months and I start being overwhelmed by the feeling — will I ever get a job again? Maybe I fail at a relationship. Maybe it is a divorce or a break up and I think, Can I make a relationship ever work again? I may fail with one of my kids or I may fall into a temptation in my spiritual life and I begin to wonder if I will ever get it right. So I start to doubt myself.
The other main reason is the exact opposite – It is called success. Many times we face a season of self-doubt right after a great success in our lives. What do you do after you hit a grand slam homerun? What do you do the next time you come up to bat? How do you live up to your press notices? Great successes that bring great responsibilities also bring upon us a real sense of self-doubt sometimes.
A Yale University psychologist has studied this issue for years. He writes that about a third of all Americans feel constantly like they are flawed, like they are faking it to make it through. He says it is often the most successful — the sharpest students, the best parents, the most effective employees. You think when a person goes up the ladder that they somehow become more self-assured, but it’s exactly the opposite. Many of you are in a season of self-doubt because of that.
When we face the season of self-doubt there are some responses that we normally have. How do we respond to doubt, whether it’s a doubt about ourselves, about God, about His word?