When is the last time you doubted yourself?
I’m starting to think that writing and parenting have a lot in common. I’m a rookie at both—I’m just getting ready to release my first book, and I’ve been a foster parent for only 4 months.
Writing and parenting are both very rewarding, but what I’m noticing is that both can stir up my insecurities.
I’m usually pretty content with myself; I like to keep things positive. My mom always taught and modeled for me that I can’t be constantly worrying about what other people think of me—so I don’t.
But sometimes insecurities pop up—like when I’m faced with decisions for my foster daughters and when I receive a negative comment about my writing. Suddenly, I feel like I’m not good at anything anymore. Can’t I do anything right?
These thoughts were nagging at me one morning as I drove to work, and I caught myself slumping down into that mood. I thought, Why is this bothering me? Why can’t I shake this?
Then as I prayed, I remembered that Satan hates what I’m doing with my foster daughters because I’m sharing God’s love with them and because these girls’ lives will have ripple effects on the lives around them. And Satan hates my book because it gives glory to God for how He provided for me.
I realized that Satan is trying to distract me. He’s trying to get me to doubt God’s power. But since I’m not budging on my belief in God’s power, then Satan is throwing fiery arrows my way to try to get me to doubt myself.
As I release my book, people will read it and some will have negative comments about it (which is understandable because my writing style isn’t for everyone). But it’s hard to not let a negative comment discourage me.
And as I continue to parent my teenage foster daughters, I will have to say “no” to things every week, and I will also receive “negative comments” from them (which is understandable because they’re teenagers). But the truth is that it still hurts.
Steady My Emotions
As I prayed about this on Saturday, I felt like God told me…How readers think and feel about you may shift due to their own life experiences and perspectives, and how your girls think and feel about you will definitely shift almost on a daily basis depending on their moods. But how I think and feel about you will never change.
So I’ve decided that even as I share my heart with others, I have to protect my emotional wellbeing. The best way I can do that is to keep my eyes fixed on how God thinks and feels about me—because that never changes. He loves me. And He doesn’t think I’m stupid or incapable because He created me uniquely, and He knows that He has gifted me to do everything He has called me to do.
The same is true for you. You are not stupid. You are not incapable. God loves you. He created you uniquely and has gifted you for your calling.
Did you need to hear that today too?
On the rough days, I say to God several times, “Please encourage my heart.” And every time, He sends encouragement my way: Sweet words from one of my daughters. A text from a friend. An inspiring podcast. Flowers given to me as a gift. An unexpected glimpse of how God is working in a friend’s life. A song that reminds me of hope. A conversation with my sister. Moments like the other night when I was praying for my older daughter before bed, she said something and I laughed. She smiled, “I only said it because I knew you would laugh like that.” And then I laughed even harder.
I celebrate every ounce of encouragement. I know that when we step out to do something new—like write a book or become a foster parent—we will face discouragement and doubt. But this week I’m choosing to steady my emotions by focusing on what God thinks of me. And already, I’m feeling stronger. #SheWontShrinkBack #OhNoSheWont
*Thank you to everyone who preordered my book She Won’t Shrink Back. The box of books should come to me next week, and then I can’t wait to sign them and get them to you!! The book is $15.49. Email me at marybnolen@hotmail if you’d like to order! You can download chapter 1 for free.
(The books will also be available to order online soon. But I make significantly less profit when I sell them online. So I bought some in bulk directly from my publisher, and I'm trying to sell my box of books directly to friends and family to help me in my goal to recoup costs.)
Mary works at Brookville Road Community Church, where she leads children's ministry and women's ministry. She is the author of She Won't Shrink Back: A Story of Building & Believing.