Self-doubt is a crippling struggle for all kinds of people. But it holds a particular danger for those in dating relationships.
Why? The closer you grow to your boyfriend, the easier it is to turn to him for affirmation of your adequacy.
Now, God may use your boyfriend to speak truth into your life. As your brother in Christ, his encouragement can build you up in Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
But the attitude with which you seek his encouragement is important. “I need to be reminded that God loves me” easily becomes, “I need to be reminded that my boyfriend loves me.”
When you use your boyfriend’s encouragement to fill a hole drilled by self-doubt, the repair work is superficial at best. His affirmation will erode quickly, and you’ll be asking him for it again tomorrow.
The Real Problem With Self-Doubt
But I’ll be honest: the affirmation that God loves me fades quickly, too.
I find myself begging God for proof that I’m loved just as often as I seek it from other people. Why aren’t compliments and “Jesus loves you” cards good enough?
I think the real problem with self-doubt is that we’re seeking confidence in who we are rather than who God is.
Running after reassurance that I’m lovable, significant, and worth knowing is a never-ending battle. Resting in the never-changing character of Jesus Christ brings victory.
Tim Keller writes in The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, “The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”
The next time self-doubt overwhelms you, open the Bible and start reading. Pray Psalm 139:23-24, asking God to turn your focus away from yourself and toward him.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24)
But maybe you’ve been praying. And you’re still struggling with insecurity, and it’s affecting your relationship.
Shortly after I moved to the same city as my long-distance boyfriend, I met with an older woman to ask for advice. I was struggling with self-doubt and a bunch of other things.
“I feel like my life is a garden, and weeds of sin keep trying to choke out the plants, ” I said. “I ask God to remove them, and He does, but they always come back the next day.”
Her reply was simply, “Well, that’s gardening.”
Growing in your knowledge of Christ and killing sin isn’t easy. When we trust Christ as our Savior, God guarantees the growth and the produce. But he doesn’t gather the harvest immediately.
Instead, he helps us see the difference between the weeds and the plants. He teaches us the joy of daily discipline in plucking out imposters. And he gives us the pleasure of beholding the beauty he’s nurturing in our lives.
Self-doubt may feel like a relentless weed. Don’t let its presence discourage you.
Dig it up daily with the trowel of truth. Then, marvel at the miracle of who God is and the work he’s doing in your life.