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  • Writer's pictureNicky Stade

Two weeks ago, I introduced a series on how to spot sneaky selfishness before it stops you (read that post here). Last week, we talked about sneaky selfishness number one: The thought that "I am not enough" (read that post here).

Today, we dive into sneaky selfishness number two: The thought that "It all depends on me"... This thought is the other side of the same coin, so to speak. On one side, there is a fear that you can’t measure up—that you are not enough; but on the other side is this fear that without your hustle, you'll never reach your destiny. I don’t know about you, but this thought that success or victory depends on me can either paralyze me into inaction OR blind me with pride. Both are clues that this is a sneaky form of selfishness.

It makes me think of a great king who was also a fierce warrior and commanded a great army. This king was wasn’t a perfect man, but he followed God wherever He directed him--it was said that he was a man after God’s own heart. His name was David. King David’s many conquests are recorded in the Bible, where it’s said the Lord gave David victory wherever he went.

Have you ever had a winning streak in life? You’ve had a taste of success or victory and you didn’t want to give that up for anything. That's not a bad’s a very good thing! But when we allow insecurity to creep in, we put a selfish spin on our victory. We begin to focus on what we can do to keep succeeding--how can I hustle harder, finish faster, get more followers--instead of trusting and giving credit where credit is due: the Lord.

This happened to King David. There are a couple of different accounts in the Old Testament that describe one moment where David began to take a count of his soldiers and things took a bad turn. It’s not that counting his soldiers was wrong, but his motives were. Instead of taking an honest inventory and praising God for providing a strong army for him, it seemed as if he was counting them out of either fear & insecurity (it’s up to my own efforts and resources to keep succeeding) or maybe just out of plain arrogance & bragging (look at what I can make happen). Either way, both of these are variables of the same attitude: it depends on ME. It made God very angry and the entire nation was punished because of it. Not long after that, David’s household began to crumble as his sons began to fight for the throne--at one point it got so bad, they chased David out of his own palace—even out of his own city--in fear for his life.

When I begin to depend on my own efforts, or even on accolades others have bestowed upon me, my insecurity begins to flare up like a bad case of heartburn. My focus shifts from the good that God is doing through me for the benefit of others and onto my own ego and what it does for me. This causes a hamster-wheel effect, where the desire to keep performing (in order to receive praises from others) causes me to constantly evaluate if my efforts are enough to get more praise from people--and 'round and 'round I go!

Contrast this with another famous leader in Judges chapter 6, who was instructed to count his army before battle--not to feel better about himself--but rather to REDUCE the amount of soldiers down to an impossible number. God wanted them to battle an army four hundred times their size with nothing more than clay pots, torches and trumpets. Why? Because God wanted Gideon to know without a shadow of doubt that the results of that battle did not depend on him or his abilities. God would receive all the credit, as He should!

Do we have a responsibility to do all we can do in hard situations? Absolutely. There is nothing wrong with knowing you are enough to do the work God has called you do to (refer back to point number ONE)—but humility recognizes that it's not because of your own effort!

God steps into the gap when we have reached the end of ourselves. This is where faith comes in—if we continue to believe that results depend on our own effort alone, we will only ever reach so far. But when we begin to have faith that God is working on our behalf, we can get out of our own way and watch Him work!

Ultimately, if God is calling me in a certain direction or to a specific task, the result doesn't depend on me, it depends on God. And I don’t know about you, but for me, that relieves a LOT of the pressure!

This week, reflect on the different areas of your life (work, relationships, projects, etc.) and honestly evaluate how much you depend on yourself instead of on the Lord. How can you begin to shift your focus? In what areas do you need to jump off the hamster-wheel?

Next week: Sneaky Selfishness Number Three "I can't forgive myself."

#victory #insecurity

  • Writer's pictureNicky Stade

Last week, I introduced a series on how to spot sneaky selfishness before it stops you (read that post here). Today, let's talk about sneaky selfishness number one: The thought that "I am not enough"...

God has called each of us to do the impossible. If it were easy, we wouldn’t need Him, right? So often, all we can focus on are our own inadequacies and the hard things that stand in our way. This is one I struggle with the most. Being raised by a single, teenage mother; kicked out of the house at the age of 14; never having attended a formal university all has made me feel “not enough” for much of my life.

And depending on your background, maybe like me, you’ve felt like you’re not able to live in victory or pursue your calling because you’re not educated enough, you’re not strong enough, you’re not well-known or wealthy enough. The truth is, I’m NOT enough. But GOD is.

Let me tell you a story of an outsider thrust into a position he was very much uncomfortable with…a man stuck between two cultures. Moses was a Hebrew slave by birth but adopted & raised by Egyptian royalty--I think it's safe to say he never felt like he fit in anywhere. After a fit of rage resulting in the murder of another man, Moses ran away to live an isolated life in the desert.

God assigned Moses to a task that would bring him head-to-head with the most powerful man in Egypt, but would result in the freedom of millions of people. And in that moment, Moses did what any of us would probably do…he argued with God! Despite the promise that God would be with him, give him the words to say and give him the power to overcome any obstacle, Moses could only focus on his shortcomings and continued to refuse the assignment until God gave him a partner—his brother, Aaron—to help.

Eventually, Moses went on to fulfill his purpose and we still talk about him thousands of years later…but we still have much to learn from his story.

We would never say that God is too small, or somehow not enough, right? That would be silly! But imagine this with me for a fact, say this out loud with me because sometimes we need to hear it to really let it sink in:

God created me.

God sent His Son to die for me.

God sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in me.

If God is enough and God's Holy Spirit dwells in me, then through Him and by His power I am enough.

How does that sound? Now, go back and say it again... It makes sense to me!

When we let this thought that we are not "enough" stop us from doing what God has created us to do on this earth, we are really saying that we don't believe He is big enough to accomplish those things through us. God has given each of us different gifts and talents. These are not meant to be put up on a shelf and forgotten about, they are meant to be used! Don't discount what you are able to do for God--because it's not based on whether or not you are capable. It's based on whether or not you are willing!

This week, reflect on the fact that you ARE enough--and when you begin to question that again, repeat those words above until you begin to really believe them.

Next week: Sneaky Selfishness Number Two "It all depends on me"...

#insecurity #victory


Recently I was invited to speak at an event, and I was told to prepare a topic that’s within my area of expertise and somehow tied into their theme on "victory". It took me a while to think about that, because my first thought was, "What am I an expert on??"

Then I realized there is definitely one area in which I can call myself a true expert: selfishness.

Selfishness is understood to be a pre-occupation with one's self--we think of it as the opposite of humility. We often assume that in order to be considered "selfish", one must act in a manner that puts themselves ahead of others in an effort to gain an advantage. But there is another, more sneaky side to selfishness (and I think more of us struggle with this pre-occupation with ourselves than we think).

Many of us would never admit we struggle with selfishness. In fact, if there is one area where we often feel pride--it's in how humble we are! Humility is described as a modest or low view of one’s own importance, or a freedom from pride or arrogance. This is often confused with a lack of confidence or an uncertainty about oneself, which is both the definition of insecurity and the one thing that, unfortunately, I can claim to be an expert.

While these sound similar, they are two very different things…the main difference is simply where our focus lies: is it on others or on ourselves?

If you've spent any time in church at all, you've probably heard that God wants us to walk in victory and has a purpose and a plan for your life. HE DOES! But how many of us find it hard to live that out because of insecurity that’s cleverly disguised as humility? There are 3 areas I want to address in this series:

  1. When we think “I am not enough”

  2. When we think “It depends on me”

  3. When we think "I can never forgive myself"

You may wonder what any of these things have to do with selfishness...but there are in fact 3 things these insecurities have in common: ME, MYSELF & I. Over the next few weeks, I want to break open the sneaky side of selfishness and help you to find victory in this area. It's something I wish I could say I have fully accomplished, but it's a work in progress--and I'd love to work on this with you!

#victory #insecurity

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