Dealing with Self-Doubt

There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy (God). He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.
— C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The battle against self-doubt is something that every human comes up against at some point in our lives. We all deal with negative thoughts and emotions about ourselves and if most of us were honest, we're much harder on ourselves than anyone else would dare to be. But the reality of living outside of this dismal cycle seems a luxury that others may seem to have but never us. Why is it so hard to just give ourselves a break? 

I believe one reason is that the battle is in your mind. I know this concept sounds simple and unhelpful, but if we truly understood this, we wouldn't so easily succumb to every thought, emotion and lie that tried to weasel it's way into our minds. 

I've heard the saying before, "You can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair." Negative thoughts and emotions will come, but it's what we do with those thoughts that matters. Will we think about it, and think about it some more? Maybe it's true? It certainly makes sense looking at my track record.. Maybe I'm thinking it for a reason? 

OF COURSE YOU ARE! The enemy of your soul has no power over you except for what you give over to him in your mind. And he would love nothing more than for you to meditate on those thoughts and emotions for just a little bit longer. The longer you linger there, the harder it seems to shake it off. 

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
— Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)

What we have to do is to learn to separate those negative thoughts and emotions from who we truly are, from our identity. The Word of God is what tells us who we are at our core. When we spend time in the Word, it cuts off anything that we're believing that isn't truth. It "trims the fat" and separates the lies. When you can start recognizing the thought or emotion as a lie, you can now choose to let it go and replace it with truth. Your not owning it anymore; it doesn't belong to you. 

In one of C. S. Lewis' greatest works The Screwtape Letters, a collection of letters are written to a young demon named Wormwood, all signed the same, "Love your affectionate Uncle, Screwtape."  In it, Lewis brilliantly depicts the perspective of evil, and exposes the tactics of the enemy. 

It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.
— C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The attacks on your life and in your mind come from the one who sees everything that you could become, and fears you. He will do whatever it takes to keep your mind from realizing what lies within you. When we understand this, negative thoughts and emotions become such trivial things compared to the greater story. After all, you don't attack something that doesn't threaten you. We can truly look at ourselves and say, "Wow, someone must be scared of what I will become."