As HSPs, second-guessing ourselves is second-nature.
We tend to process everything extremely thoroughly (some might say excessively…), so we see all sorts of angles, perspectives, and possible outcomes for any given decision. The upside. The downside. The sideways side. The diagonal horizontagonal side. (You didn’t even know that was a side, did you?)
And for us who are people of faith, we desire to please God, so decisions carry a lot of weight for us. We want to make SURE we do the RIGHT thing. Every big decision is prayed over, scrutinized, doubted, decided, decided against, doubted some more, and agonized over. It’s really quite exhausting!
Here’s are some thoughts about second-guessing.
- I think God wants us to trust ourselves.
- I also think God has more grace for mistakes than we ever knew existed. (Please understand, I’m not saying we should blindly throw caution to the wind and stop thinking. But come on, we are HSPs. When was the last time you threw caution to the wind – without deliberating over the details first?)
Let’s talk about learning to trust ourselves.
If you’re a Christian, there’s a high probability that this statement made you cringe. We have been told over and over to trust God, not ourselves. That “the heart is deceitful above all things – who can understand it?” (see Jeremiah 17:9) and “faith over feelings.”
The problem with believing that feelings always lie… is that God GAVE us our hearts, along with desires, passions, and feelings inside it. Yes, even negative feelings are gifts. And God only gives gifts that are good (see Matthew 7:11).
He also gave us a conscience and a highly-sophisticated mind, and he tells us “we have the mind of Christ” (see 1 Corinthians 2:16). He did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (see 2 Timothy 1:7). So why wouldn’t we trust our own minds?
What I’m saying is – we were made to listen to and trust our own hearts and minds – even though we realize that not every feeling is based in truth or going to lead us into a smart choice.
For example, if I feel like I desperately need a ninth Oreo, I know better than to follow that feeling. Because I know that nine Oreos are not good for my body.
But if we just call ALL feelings liars, we may begin to fear our own intuition. If I have a nagging angry feeling that causes me to speak up about injustice, or a passionate feeling that I need to write… those are life-giving, feelings-based motives that are healthy to trust and heed.
When we talk about feelings as if ALL of them are untrustworthy, we might succeed in avoiding excessive Oreos, but we also suppress important signals within our own being that bring life, peace, and hope to ourselves and those around us.
Actually, even when feelings are based in faulty thinking, we can trace that feeling back to the thought that was untrue. So even the feelings that lead to death are helpful in our growth as healthy humans.
When we begin to ignore intuitive feelings that tell us “this situation is dangerous or unhealthy,” at some point we will find ourselves in toxic relationships or addictions. We wake up one day and wonder how in the world we got to this desolate place of un-health… because after all, we are Christians who always try to live by faith and not our feelings.
This is why it’s so important to learn to value our feelings and trust ourselves again.
Now let’s talk about making mistakes.
I’m going through a season of making what I think are probably mistakes (though I second-guess that!). I wonder how I could possibly trust my own inclinations when I’ve gotten myself into messes before and will likely do it again. The answers I’m getting are twofold.
First, becoming a confident, self-aware, boundaried, self-assured person is what God wants for us – and our mistakes are apparently worth that. You see, we will make mistakes as we begin to live boldly in our own skin. But there’s greater outcome, which is the character we will build through this process of learning to trust ourselves.
Secondly, God knows mistakes are how we learn. Post-mistake, we often form NEW feelings and convictions within us that will guide us in our next adventures in living out our unique purpose. We are not meant to have ALL the answers and do EVERYTHING right at any given time. But we can show up, trust ourselves as we are today, make the mistakes, and let God’s power shine through all of it.
Room for mistakes. This grace is much bigger than what I have known.
Have you ever read about Peter, the disciple of Jesus? He often was an outspoken, eccentric, immature PINHEAD. Peter trusted his own intuition boldly and made mistakes. He was the first one out of the boat to try walking on water. The first to speak up. Once, he ended up cutting off an enemy soldier’s ear (out of inherently good intentions, but without thinking it through). He even betrayed Jesus (and his truest self) three times. YET… which disciple did Jesus say was the “rock” he was going to build his entire church upon? It was PETER – this confident, risk-taking, mistake-making human.
Peter probably second-guess himself too often. He just went ahead with what felt right. He risked making the mistakes, learned from them, and moved forward… continuing to trust his wild and wonderful self. And if it weren’t for Peter… many of us in today’s world would never have heard of Jesus.
So, could you trust yourself a little bit today – even with that second-guess in the back of your mind? Do something that is boldly YOU – even risk looking like a pinhead? We will fall down. And we will be caught by grace. This is the freedom we have in Christ.