3 Ways to Kill the Voices of Doubt Leaders Hear by Jon Acuff
There is a voice of doubt every leader hears at the start of a new project. There is a voice of doubt every leader hears at the start of a new project.
The specifics of the project don’t matter. The confidence level of the leader does not matter. The level of risk involved does not matter. This voice always sneaks in, just as you are about to launch something you feel God is calling you to. What does the voice say? Simple:
“Who are you to do that?”
Six small words; one big question. Who are you to do that? Who are you to think you can accomplish that? Who are you to think you are talented enough to do that? Who are you to think that hasn’t already been done by a million people who are smarter than you? Who are you to think the world needs that?
The aim of this voice is to get you engaged and entangled with it and eventually respond, “I am nobody. I shouldn’t even try. I give up.”
At least that was what I felt when I wrote my book Quitter. My first book, Stuff Christians Like, was a satire. It was a humor book, and as I stared down the manuscript for my next book, the voice of doubt grew loud.
“Who are you to write Quitter? Who are you to think the world needs another leadership or motivational book? Who are you to think you can make the jump from the Christian inspiration shelf to the business shelf? Who are you to do that?”
Though I felt this was the book God called me to write, though I knew this was the next book, that voice grew loud.
So what did I do in that moment? What should you do in that moment when you hear that voice? There are three ways to kill that voice of doubt:
1. Recognize the source.
It’s tempting when that voice gets loud to assume it’s the voice of God. We get confused and think, “Maybe that’s the Holy Spirit asking me that question right now?” We pause and confuse that voice with truth. But here is one thing I know: If God calls you on a mission, he will never say, “Who are you to do that?” Because he already knows. He knit you in the womb. He doesn’t have to ask who you are; he knows better than anyone else. That question is from the enemy, not God.
2. Realize you’re in good company.
The Bible is littered with people who heard the question, “Who are you to do that?” Some of them even verbalized that question and threw it back on God. Jeremiah told God he was too young. Gideon told God he was from the weakest tribe. Moses told God he wasn’t a good public speaker. Even after a talking, burning bush called him forward. Don’t for a second feel you are the only one who has ever heard that voice of doubt. One of its goals is to isolate you and make you feel like you’re alone. You’re not. You’re in good company.
3. Answer the right question.
Turns out that “Who are you to do that?” is the wrong question altogether. Our job isn’t to give the best answer to that question; it’s instead to ask the best question. So when you hear the voice of doubt say, “Who are you to do that?” ask yourself, “Who is God to do that?” Don’t make it about you because it’s really not. It’s about God, and who is he? The Alpha and Omega. The creator of all space and time. The God whose plans will not be stopped, whose calling will not be blocked, whose hope will not fail. It’s not a matter of are you strong enough to go on an adventure? It’s a matter of is the God you serve strong enough to take you there? And the answer is yes! I finished writing Quitter a few months ago. It’s out right now, and the voice keeps trying to pipe up. “Who are you to teach people about following their dream? Who are you to keynote a conference? Who are you to do that?” But I don’t listen to it like I used to. Because I know who’s asking, I know I’m not the only one who hears it, and I know who my God is. And that’s what matters most.
Jon Acuff has built an online following of millions through his stuffchristianslike.net blog and the resulting book, Stuff Christians Like. He’s a contributor to CNN.com, speaks nationally on the subject of social media and joined the Dave Ramsey team fulltime in 2010. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Nashville, Tennessee. More from Jon Acuff or visit Jon at www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/