This episode focuses on identifying the root of your self-sabotage and how to biblically stop it. As you can probably imagine, this topic is SO important. I think we have all dealt with this at one time or another.
Truth be told, I have personally struggled with for a very long time and I know this topic just isn’t talked enough about in the entrepreneurial space. ESPECIALLY in the Christian entrepreneurial space. If you’re not familiar with self-sabotage, it is essentially when we consciously or unconsciously take actions that will –you guessed it– sabotage ourselves.
But what does self-sabotage actually look like? What is the root of our self-sabotage? And how do we biblically stop it? You’re about to find out on today’s show.
This episode is one of the first episodes of this show because self-sabotaging is something that I have personally struggled with for a very long time, and I know it isn’t talked about enough in the entrepreneurial space. Especially in the Christian entrepreneurial space.
Self-sabotage is essentially when we consciously or unconsciously take actions that will –you guessed it– sabotage ourselves. But what does self-sabotage actually look like? Truth is, it can arise in so many different ways, and here are some examples that I have personally experienced myself time and time again.
It can look like convincing ourselves that we don’t “have clarity” when the truth is that we do, but we keep second guessing ourselves for one reason or another.
It can look like binging on Netflix while feeling guilty we’re not doing what we “should” be doing.
It can look like giving in to the enemy’s temptations again and again–consistently choosing to eat ice cream every night even though it makes you feel like crap the next day or even convincing yourself that you will start your new business strategy on Monday even though you know very well you have time to do it now.
It can look like avoiding doing an important task that will only take you 5 minutes.
It can look like not showing your face on stories or video because you don’t feel “qualified” or “eloquent” or “expert” or “professional” enough to speak.
It can look like having a nudge to step into the Lord’s calling but ignoring it because it might scare people away, or you’re afraid of being judged because you’re not perfect and don’t have it all figured out yet.
It can look like continuing to snooze your alarm for an hour even though you promised yourself you would get up and go to the gym and start your new morning routine.
Like I said, self-sabotage can come up in SO many different ways and this is just a few of many instances that I have personally experienced. If you resonate with any of these instances I just mentioned, please please please DM me over on instagram (@hannahbrindley) and let me know which ones resonated with you. It would mean the world to know I’m not alone here, but I also want to make sure I can offer you support if you need it.
Now that we know what self-sabotage can look like, it’s time to dive into the 5 reasons you might actually be self-sabotaging and how to biblically stop it.
One way comfort can show up as self-sabotage is fear of change or the unknown. We enjoy being stuck where we are, so we sabotage our ability to get to the next step. We feel as if it is easier to stay where we are, and perhaps it is. You get to choose where you will suffer. The truth is that our comfort zone is our familiar place. We think it’s our safe place, so subconsciously we want to stay there.
Another way comfort can show up as self-sabotage is fear of success. What would it mean if I actually became successful? How much work would I actually need to do then? Will I even be able to maintain that level of success once I accomplish whatever it is I’m trying to do? What kind of commitment or responsibility is involved with this level of success? Which in turn goes back to comfort. You’re subconsciously thinking you’re comfortable with the level of commitment you have right now.
It’s important to realize that you’re not actually comfortable. You’re still seeking to fill a void in some way. Whether it’s with Netflix, food, alcohol, relationships… you’re still seeking to fill the void, have ultimate satisfaction, and feel whole. But what you’re really seeking is TRUE comfort. And the only way you’re going to receive that is through the Holy Spirit. HE is the ultimate Comforter. There is absolutely nothing you can do in this physical world that will provide you eternal comfort. That’s why the feeling you’re craving by numbing yourself out with food, alcohol, or binging on TV gives you a dopamine hit for the duration of the activity but actually makes you feel worse in the long run.
It is literally Satan deceiving you into believing that those things are going to bring you comfort. And you have probably associated procrastinating with comfort. He has probably deceived you into subconsciously believing the lie that doing the things to get to the next level are going to make you get out of your comfort zone, will make you uncomfortable, and ultimately will never bring you the true comfort that you’re craving. The truth is–NOTHING in this physical world will bring you the kind of comfort you’re craving.
To overcome this form of self-sabotage is to take this lie captive and turn it into the Truth with a capital T. You can do this using Scripture.
John 14:26 – “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
2 Corinthians 1:5 – “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
Colossians 2:10 “and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”
2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
Additionally, you can use Scripture to remember the importance of discipline.
Hebrews 12:11 – No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Proverbs 18:9 – One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Proverbs 21:17 – Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.
Fast, Set Boundaries or Replace
I’m going to explain three different practical steps you can take by walking you through them with the same example.
The example I’m going to use is if binging Netflix is your comfort. If Netflix is your comfort, you can either fast, set boundaries, or replace.
Fast (always partner fasting with prayer). Perhaps you need to fast. Fasting helps you focus on the Lord for your comfort. If you feel like you need to fast from food, please consult your doctor first. Also, for me personally, fasting from food is very triggering due to yo-yo dieting as I was growing up. So if this is you, fasting from food may not be the best thing for you. Make sure you consult with both the Holy Spirit and a doctor if that’s a route you want to pursue.
Set Boundaries. If Netflix brings you joy, watch 1-2 episodes a day. But you must consult the Holy Spirit first. This same principle applies with food – please consult your doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. Cutting foods out is very triggering for me, so setting boundaries in this way doesn’t quite work well for me.
Replace (replace the CONNECTION: the pleasurable emotion connected to the thing being binged). Instead of watching Netflix, you might replace it with digging into the Word or praying. Instead of gorging on ice cream or chinese food (hi, that’s my guilty pleasure), replace it with prayer and digging into the Word. Also (again, not a nutritionist) something that works for me in terms of food is to shift my perspective. For instance, if I want to eat more vegetables at every meal to get more nutrients in my body, it actually helps me reduce the amount of OTHER foods I consume. It shifts my perspective. I’m not eliminating something from my diet; I’m just trying to add more nutrients to my diet, and that has been very helpful for me. Also just praying when I’m tempted to binge, or replace the time I would spend binging with digging into the Word has also helped me feel fully satisfied.
All these strategies (fasting, setting boundaries, and replacing) can and should be partnered with prayer. Pray for God to give you the desire to overcome your idol of comfort and to prompt you to pray whenever you are tempted. This is what Jesus did when He was tempted against the enemy in the wilderness.
Perfectionism can be a form of self-sabotage because it is rooted in a fear of failure and can often lead to procrastination. Perfectionism is when you try to do things in your OWN power and you’re refusing to let God take control.
The truth is, perfectionism can also lead to analysis paralysis. This is when you feel as if you KNOW all the things and you KNOW you can do this if you set your mind to it, but you don’t want to set yourself up for disappointment if you don’t do it “right” the first time.
Practically, perfectionism can be overcome by doing one thing at a time rather than splitting your focus, while the spiritual solution looks like turnin the lies into Truth.
Again, we turn to Scripture to turn lies into Truth.
Mark 10:27 – Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Galatians 3:3 – Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Ecclesiastes 11:4 – Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
James 4:11 – If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
In addition to Scripture, you can pray for God to give you the courage to obey Him when He is telling you to go and for Him to help give you the ability to overcome your flesh and your efforts to control things yourself.
Another reason you may be self-sabotaging is because you feel unworthy. Unworthiness can show up as imposter syndrome, comparison, jealousy, resentfulness, or giving in to feelings of defeat and hopelessness. Practically this may look like not wanting to show your face on camera or having a nudge to step into the Lord’s calling but ignoring it because you don’t think you have it all figured out yet.
It’s important to recognize that these unhealthy feelings of unworthiness come into play when we are putting our focus on ourselves instead of putting our focus on Jesus. Now what do I mean by unhealthy feelings of unworthiness? I mean that biblically speaking we are unworthy. We are not deserving. We are not good enough despite what the world keeps saying. And so by continuing to look at ourselves because we are unworthy these self-sabotaging tendencies come up. However, if we take our eyes off of ourselves and off of the world and put our eyes on Jesus, that unhealthy feeling of unworthiness disappears and is replaced by humility and freedom because you’re being released of the bondage the enemy has kept you stuck in.
The enemy is making you think that you have the power to change this unworthiness about yourself and trying to get you to claim control, but really the only one in control is God, and all the enemy is doing is keeping you separated from Him. God already knew when He sent his perfect Son to die for us that we weren’t worthy. That we were undeserving. That we weren’t good enough. But He still did it anyway because He loves us. And that is the most freeing and humbling thing in the world.
It’s important to reframe your perspective of unworthiness. God already knew you were unworthy, and there’s nothing you can do in this physical world to change that. However, when you put your eyes on Jesus instead of yourself, the Holy Spirit will flow through you and will equip you for whatever it is the Lord is calling you to do.
The practical solution here is to look at Jesus. Recognize your feelings of unworthiness and reframe them. Really, truly look at Jesus. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and letting these thoughts run wild. Literally get into the Scripture and pray.
Again we turn to Scripture to turn lies into Truth.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Isaiah 64:8 “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 46:5 “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
In addition to Scripture, pray for God to continue to flow through you and equip you for your calling. Pray that you recognize how powerful He is. Pray that He gives you the courage to obey despite your feelings of insecurity and, in the process, ask Him to heal your heart and find your worthiness and security in Him alone.
4. Fear of Man
Fear of man looks like people pleasing. I didn’t think this was my problem. I’ve never really felt like I’m a people pleaser until quite recently when I recognized that a couple of my fears are actually underlying themes of fear of man. Underneath the fear of man is fear of judgment and fear of rejection. These fears can lead us to feelings of comparison, resentment, and jealousy. Practically, this fear can look like scrolling Instagram for hours, thinking there are too many people doing what you’re doing, or thinking someone from high school may judge you.
This is another situation in which setting boundaries is so important. If you find yourself struggling with fear of man, consider limiting your time on social media as this can trigger those thoughts and feelings.
“Fear of man is the enemy of the fear of the Lord. The fear of man pushes us to perform for man’s approval rather than according to God’s directives.” – Paul Chappell
“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” – Oswald Chambers
“It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man.” – John Witherspoon
Again, look to Scripture to turn lies into Truth.
Proverbs 29:25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.
Isaiah 51:12 “I—yes, I—am the one who comforts you. Who are you, that you are so afraid of humans who will die, descendants of mere men, who have been made like grass?
Psalm 27:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Hebrews 13:6 Hence we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”
Romans 8:31 What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
In addition to Scripture, pray that He helps you overcome your desire to please people and replace it with a desire to please Him and Him alone. Pray that He heals your heart of any rejection and abandonment you have dealt with in the past and to help you forgive those people, not letting that get in the way of obeying Him any longer.
5. Misplaced Alignment
I’m just going to tell you right now, and the fifth and final reason you may be self-sabotaging is, from my experience and what I’m learning, the root of all roots. For example, this is the root of fear of man, the root of unworthiness, and so on.
Misplaced alignment is seeking something in this physical world over seeking Him. Whether it’s seeking comfort, validation, approval, worthiness, or success, whatever it is you’re seeking you’re seeking it in the world instead of Jesus. So, essentially, it looks like you are aligning with the world instead of with Jesus whether you recognize it or not.
If you’ve heard my story – which if you haven’t, I highly recommend listening to episode 1 – I had no idea I was doing this. I was struggling with so much self-sabotage and it stemmed from all of these reasons to be honest, but the ultimate reason was this.
The reason why this is the root is because if you put your eyes on Jesus all of these other reasons begin to dissipate. I’m not saying that it’s like this miraculous thing that happens; it’s usually not. But you begin to recognize what’s happening and the Holy Spirit works within you to help you through this. It becomes part of your sanctification process to help bring you closer to Him and to help you help others get closer to Him.
Overcoming misalignment means overcoming idolatry. I’m going to have an episode dedicated to this in a couple of weeks, and this is the very first topic we are covering inside of the membership.
And again, we turn to Scripture to turn lies into Truth.
John 7:37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Matthew 6:21-23 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
1 John 2:16-17 “For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
John 4:13-15 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
That’s it, friends! Those are the 5 reasons you may be self-sabotaging and how to biblically stop it.
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