The word self-sabotage can be weighty all by itself and for a couple of reason. For some of us, we know we have some self-defeating behaviors and thoughts, so it’s no big surprise. For others of us, we heard someone toss that word our way once or twice and we tossed it right back because we were having none of that psychology mumbo jumbo (do people still say mumbo jumbo). And for the rest of us, we’ve never really thought about it that deep; we just know that we struggle to stay consistent and forward moving more often than not.
Whatever the circumstance, this term has come up some time or another in our lifetime. And another thing with self-sabotage is that it seems to have a different meaning to everyone we ask. So, let’s at least start by getting on the same page of what that word even means to us. For the sake of this series, self-sabotage is anything that “creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals” in our lives (Psychology Today, 2017). Yes, I did indeed use an in-text citation in a blog post (nerd life).
But why is self-sabotage even a thing? Don’t we have enough to contend with without adding ourselves to the list?
Now most of us are in total agreement that we should not be an additional hindrance in our own lives. But yet here we are, still procrastinating on our biggest dream; still being inconsistent on a project we started months (and even years) ago; still self-soothing with everything and everyone but God’s word and promises. We do these things, but we truly want to be out of this cycle.
Funny story (well not so funny if you’re my mom). Years ago, I participated in the Junior Miss pageant, also known as the Distinguished Young Women program these days. Now, if you know me, I don’t really come off as a pageant girl these days. And if it helps, I was even less of a pageant girl in those days. But it was a small county and scholarship money was up for grabs, so I went for it. As the entire program was being explained to me, I started doing the math. From my calculations (in my head), there was no way I was going to win any additional money on the state level even if I won my county. So, my plan was to be okay enough to max out the awards locally, but not good enough to actually win and go on to the state competition.
Now, nearly 12 years later, I know that wasn’t the smartest plan because the only limitation involved was me. And I wish I could say that was the last time I limited myself, but it wasn’t.
But for most of us, we have tons of stories just like this. Times where we sold ourselves short when there was honestly no reason. Times where we counted ourselves out before we could even be told “no.” We decided that we didn’t believe in ourselves, so we believed no one else would either. We were our only limitations.
If we’re really going leave these self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors behind us, we have to replace them with some new truths. Here a just a few of God’s truths in this area:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—Ephesians 3:20, HCSB
And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8, HCSB
Now, I’m no expert, but these verses don’t sound like we have a Father that planned on us being self-defeated our entire lives. So, who are we believing today? Our Father or ourselves?
Chat with God
In what ways do you self-sabotage?
Why do you choose to count yourself out?
What is your one sentence prayer in this situation?
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