As a Christian, do you ever get confused: Should I trust myself and my intuition? Can I trust myself? Should I not trust myself and only trust God? Which is it? How do I know what the right thing is to do?
Well, I’d like to start out with this very familiar verse about trust. It’s Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6. It says, “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” The “…do not rely on your own understanding” literally can be translated as “don’t trust yourself.” It is a warning to not trust your own judgment because your understanding as a human is so limited. But instead, be confident in God’s wisdom, power, and goodness, following His perfect providence.
So as someone who is a Bible-loving, Bible-believing Christian, how can I be talking to you about learning to trust yourself? And why would I feel like this is a subject worth giving time to? First, let me answer that. I talk to a lot of women who question everything they do, every decision they make. And even when they do finally make a decision they question whether or not that was the right one. They second guess themselves all the time. And it’s because they can’t trust themselves. They haven’t learned to trust themselves. To “learn” – according to Webster’s - is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught. So, learning to trust ourselves is through experience.
The definition of “trust” is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. “Trust” here is a noun. It’s a thing. It’s a belief system. If you’ve listened to any of my podcasts, you know that it is your belief system that fuels all of your thoughts in your life. What you belief is crucial. When we put these two definitions together, we realize that learning to trust comes from experience.
But what if your past experiences were negative? How can you build trust – believe in yourself – when the things just didn’t turn out well. Honestly, for me, I find that those times that it’s difficult to trust myself, was because of my past experiences of making bad decisions. Or what I thought were bad decisions. I only saw the outcome from my limited perspective based on what I expected or desired. I was not looking at it from God’s perspective of providence. So, in all reality, who even knows if my decisions were actually good ones or not. I talked about needing to make some big life decisions in Episode number 9 – Crickets: Decisions In The Silence. That was the first time I felt so unsure of myself. It was the first time I didn’t really trust myself or believe that I had inner wisdom. I shied away from making some decisions that could’ve been beautiful opportunities for me. I also was afraid to trust what I felt like at the time was just a “knowing.” That all just felt so “woo” and I’m definitely not a ”woo” girl. It felt wrong to listen to—let alone trust—my own instincts. I’ll share more about what I learned during that time, but the most important thing I learned was you can’t trust yourself – your judgment is limited. Even the judgment needed to second guess yourself is limited. But you can trust the God in you. The Bible says that when we seek to know what to do next or where to go, if we ask Him, He will give us the wisdom - James 1, verse 5. And it says that He will give it generously. Job 12, verse 13 says that “with God are wisdom and might; He has counsel and understanding.” Listen the only reason we’d have cause to question ourselves, not trust ourselves, second guess ourselves is if we’re not asking God for the wisdom.
Now, sadly, many of us when we’re facing something big or life changing, we tend to run to another person – a friend, a spouse, or even someone in the church – to tell us what to do. We ask their opinions, look to their guidance. This can get dangerous when we’re constantly checking in with someone else for approval or relying on them to make decisions for us. This is a part of a co-dependency relationship that I talked about a few weeks ago in episode number 128.
So, many times we trust others more than ourselves. And dare I say, more than we trust God? Because there are many places in the Old Testament where God spoke through a prophet to His people who were looking for advice and counsel from all kinds of sources but Him. It made Him angry. We are to defer to Him – we are to ask Him His opinion, for His wisdom in decision making, for what to do and where to go, and then He gives us good judgment. I was studying Proverbs 3 verse 5 a little deeper – the scripture I quoted at the very beginning, “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding” - and I love to read the commentaries from old scholars. One of my favorites is Matthew Henry, probably because my dad introduced his work to me when I was a young teenager. About this verse, Matthew Henry said, “We must, with an entire submission and satisfaction, depend upon Him to perform all things for us and bring our affairs to a good issue.” I want to emphasize “depend upon Him to perform all things for us.” How could we do this if we weren’t solely trusting in the fact that He can and He will? The more we do this the more we are “learning.” And that learning feels a lot like intuition and inner “knowing” that comes from the Spirit of God. So, the learning that comes from experience is actually from experiencing who God is and knowing why you can trust Him.
Let me give you three things you can do to strengthen your trust in God so you can learn to trust yourself.
Number one, get to know God personally. Find out just who He is. This is going to take some effort on your part. Yes, God has revealed Himself in nature – Romans 1, verse 20. But we find out best who He is by reading the Bible and then encountering Him experientially. We find out about His character – that He is gracious and merciful; that He is right in all of His ways and kind in all of His works. We get to know how He acts, what He loves, and what hurts His heart. We find out that He so longs for a close personal relationship with each of us. That He wants to be invited into your life. That He’s not a distant God, some big Omnipotent in the sky, but One as close as your breath. He pursues you and loves you and wants to be known by you. And the more time you spend with Him, the more you get to know Him experientially. And the more you get to know Him, the easier it is to trust Him.
Number two, look back and remember when God has been faithful in your life, how He has seen you through; how you made decisions and choices and plans and how it worked out. This is why I love journaling. So many times, I’ve picked up an old journal – 3, 5 , 10 years ago – and read all the ways God has led me through deep waters. Looking back also helps you to recall the times when you listened to your inner wisdom. It’s really important to acknowledge the times we used our logic and reasoning, along with intuition, to move forward on something. God made us like this for a reason. God gave us brains to think and reason and work things out. John Piper said, “God did design us to think for ourselves. That’s one reason the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was present in the garden. God simply did not design us to think by ourselves.”
And number three, find how God feels about you and who you are in Him:
Let me tell you just a few of my favorite scriptures that give us the self-confidence to trust ourselves and why:
Romans 5:8 says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
Psalm 139, verses 13 and 14 tell us that it was God who fearfully and wonderfully formed us, knitting us together in our mother’s womb.
Zephaniah 3:17 – another one of my favorites – says “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will rejoice over you with loud singing.” Wow, what an image of love, huh?
We are also told that as His beloved, He does not leave us stranded on our own to figure things out. John 14, verse 26 says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit of God is in you, beloved, living with you, teaching you all things. Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.” You are now united with Christ; in union with Him. And because of this, you can trust yourself knowing that as you go, He is part of it all.
God loves you, and longs to be in every part of your life. He wants the very best for you and He wants to help you. When you know the character of God and how He acts, when you remember all the ways He’s already carried you through, and when you are secure in how He feels about you, it becomes a lot easier to trust yourself by trusting God in you.
I’ve come to understand that the more I desire to follow God and His plans, the more I can trust myself. Because I am more in tune to the Spirit of God in me…that sounds a lot like intuition or just knowing in your gut. And honestly, I can trust that if the decision or choice I made didn’t lead me to the end that I was expecting, I can trust the providence of God even in those choices. Again, I don’t have the ability or capacity for ultimate knowledge, like God does. So that leaves me to trust Him in me, and then trust Him for the outcome.
Friend, when you have these kinds of experiences with God – intentionally done over and over – that is learning – an acquisition of knowledge through experience. You are learning to trust – having a firm belief in the reliability of God, the truth of God, the ability of God, and the strength of God. And with Him in you, you learn to trust yourself.
Hey friend, I want to invite you to the Podcast Live Q&A on Zoom tomorrow April 27th 2023 at 1p CST. I’m going to follow up this episode with an exercise in learning to trust yourself. So, make sure you register for the Q&A so you can learn an easy 3-step exercise to find out just what message you’re strongly connected to that’s keeping you from trusting yourself and moving forward. Even if you can be there live, you should register so you can get the replay and listen back at your leisure. That 3-step exercise will be so valuable.
Come to the Zoom call with any questions, or comments, or something you’re struggling with and I’d love to help you. This is totally free. I just wanted to do something to bring some added value and to support whoever might want it. The link to register is in the show notes. I hope to see you there!
Have a wonderful week, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life.
Today on the podcast, I talk about being a Christian who needs to learn to trust yourself. Maybe it’s a message you heard from a church leader, or maybe even from a scripture in the Bible that’s left you wondering if you can even trust your own intuition and knowing. Join me to discover how you truly can learn to trust yourself as a Christian.
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