Many men struggle with lack of confidence, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy throughout their lives. These issues don't magically improve unless intentionally addressed.

The story of Moses in Exodus 3 and 4 highlights five traps of low confidence and self-esteem:

  • the 'who am I' trap
  • the 'I don't have all the answers' trap
  • the 'fraud' trap
  • the 'I'm not gifted enough' trap
  • the 'somebody else will do it' trap

These traps are lies from the enemy that keep men from fulfilling their God-given potential. Our validation comes from God, and we must focus on His promises instead of our own inadequacies.

Stepping out in faith and pursuing God's purpose for our lives can inspire others and lead to a life of significance.


  • Many men struggle with lack of confidence, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy throughout their lives.
  • These issues don't magically improve unless intentionally addressed.
  • The story of Moses in Exodus 3 and 4 highlights five traps of low confidence and self-esteem: the 'who am I' trap, the 'I don't have all the answers' trap, the 'fraud' trap, the 'I'm not gifted enough' trap, and the 'somebody else will do it' trap.
  • Our validation comes from God, and we must focus on His promises instead of our own inadequacies.
  • Stepping out in faith and pursuing God's purpose for our lives can inspire others and lead to a life of significance.


Hey, it's Jonathan McGinley, a Maxwell certified coach, speaker and trainer, and the founder of Intentional Man, a company that exists to give Christian men the tools, the community, and coaching to pursue God -sized goals, live intentionally, and build lives of significance. I'm excited to be with you today. The fact that you're here watching this video or listening to this audio tells me that you're a man that's committed to growing and becoming better. And so I applaud you.

for your dedication to growing and your dedication to pursuing your God -given potential. The more that I've worked with men, one -on -one or in small groups, large groups, the more that I've come to see there's typically a common theme and a common issue that a lot of men are struggling with, and that is lack of confidence or low self -esteem or feelings of inadequacy. And I've heard this working with men who are just out of college.

I've heard it talking with men who are in their 50s or their 60s. I often felt like growing up, like these were just issues that we would face primarily in junior high or in high school. Like when we're growing, starting to figure things out, that's what I thought we would really experience a lot of these things. There's a lot of comparison at that time. You're really trying to fit in. So I kind of thought this issue would be a lot easier as you progressed. I kind of thought this issue,

wouldn't be that big of a deal with older men that it would mostly disappear as you got older. But as with so many other things in our lives, if we never take the time to address and actually intentionally grow in an area, it's not something that's just gonna magically improve. These things, feelings of inadequacy, comparison to others, low self -esteem, lack of confidence, these things don't just go away. And these have been issues that I've wrestled with a lot throughout my life.

Continue to wrestle with them as I grow my business It's very easy to compare myself to other people who are ahead and that's when the enemy comes in right tells you like What are you doing? What's you're doing doesn't matter. You're not as good as this person Tries to make you feel inadequate so have you ever been in that situation where you felt that or maybe you had a big dream and Instantly you start telling yourself that you don't have what it takes to do it or that it's for somebody else who has either like a certain personality or

or they have this experience, they have more experience than me. And so we think that we're inadequate, we think that we can't do it. But guys, if we're gonna fully pursue God's purpose in our lives, this is an area that we have to address. This issue right here, confidence, feelings of inadequacy, fears of failures. It's something that we need to intentionally and proactively tackle.

So you can't just leave this thing undelt with and expect it to go away. You must grow intentionally. And the issue of feeling inadequate, this goes all the way back to the Old Testament. We see this in the life of Moses. I was reading this passage and there were some things that stuck out to me that I just want to kind of go through because I think a lot of us can relate to this. So this is in Exodus three and four, when God shows up to Moses in the burning bush and he tells him that he's going to use Moses.

to help free the Israelites from slavery. So God approaches Moses saying he's gonna use him and Moses quickly gives five different excuses, five different times of why he's not the guy for the job. And these are five traps of low confidence and self -esteem that I think the enemy wants to use against us. Five different traps that I think at some point in your life you can probably relate to these and maybe even right now you are. So.

As I read through this scripture, I'm just going to go through Exodus 3 and 4 here, see if these resonate with you, see if these stick out to you when you look at your own life. So starting in Exodus 3 verse 7, it says, So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of the land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me and I've seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now go, I am sending you, Moses, to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt." And right away, this is Moses' response, verse 11, but Moses says to God, who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? This brings us to trap number one, the who am I trap. This is a trap that's very easy to fall into.

This is the trap that doesn't believe that you are worthy to be used by God. When he comes to you and puts something on your heart, the first thing you say is, who am I to do that? You know, I'm just this person. I only have these skills. I'm not popular. I'm not famous. Maybe I'm an introvert. Whatever it is, we start to use these excuses. Who am I? And this trap usually comes typically when you feel like your mistakes in the past are too bad for God to use you now.

Or maybe you've been told by others when you were growing up that you were worthless and you've believed it. Maybe there was a father figure or somebody in your life who told you, you wouldn't amount to anything and you believed it. Maybe there was something you did when you were younger that you regret now and you feel like because you did that, it discounts you from being used. You say, who am I? God comes to you with something, put something big on your heart and you just say, who am I to do that?

at this time in Moses' life, he had fled Egypt because he had literally just killed an Egyptian. If you go back in that story, he had killed an Egyptian, he fled, he didn't even feel worthy to be used by God. But then God comes here in verse 12 and he says, he gives him this promise, and it's the same promise that I believe is for each one of you. God said, I will be with you, and this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain. But Moses says to God, suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them,

The God of your fathers has sent me to you and they asked me what is his name? What then shall I tell them? And that leads us into trap two. God just goes, Moses, I'm gonna be with you. I got your back. You're not going alone. And Moses immediately goes, but what if they ask me a tough question or something? And trap two is I don't have all the answers. I'm sure there's been a time in your life where you didn't step out and do something you knew you should have done because you didn't feel like you had all the answers.

And I think so many times we feel inadequate because we feel we have to know everything about everything for God to use us. Like I know I felt this in my life before. I think especially this is true when it comes to talking to our friends about the Lord. Sharing your faith, sharing the gospel. There's this fear that they might ask you a question you don't know or that you might not have all the answers. And those feelings can sometimes keep us from ever having these conversations we know we need to have.

But God, he's so gracious. He comes back to Moses again here and he says, I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. I am has sent to you. And then Moses goes again, what if they don't believe me or listen to me and say, the Lord did not appear to you. And this leads us into trap three, the fraud trap, the fraud trap. And this is a big one. The enemy tries to use against us. First, when you feel called by God to do something,

I almost guarantee the enemy is going to start asking you, did God really say that to you? Did he really tell you to do that or was that just you making it up? And there's so many times we quit before we even start because we feel like something wasn't from God. And this can also show up after you step out and do something for the Lord at the first sign of resistance. The lies will come flooding in again. You're a fraud. You can't do this. Maybe this wasn't God after all.

And this is such a big thing. We feel like, you know, there's this imposter syndrome when you step out, you're like, man, I don't have all the answers. Who am I? I'm a fraud. Like, I'm not there yet in my own life, so I can't help anybody. But again, guys, this is a trap. This is a lie from the enemy that he wants to use to keep you from doing the thing that you know you're supposed to do. And Moses says this back to the Lord in the story. He says, pardon your servant, Lord. I've never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.

I am slow of speech and tongue. And that leads us into trap four here. I'm not gifted enough. Right? I'm not gifted enough. How many times have you thought that? How many times do we decide not to try to do anything for the Lord because we don't feel gifted enough? I've fallen into this trap so many times. It's usually when we don't feel, and I think usually when we don't feel like we're gifted enough, it's because we're comparing ourselves to other people.

Comparison is an absolute killer. Satan wants to convince you that you have to be as good as somebody else, as talented as somebody else to be used by God. That's a big time lie. He wants us to be focused on our inadequacies, looking at other people who are far ahead of us and saying, you're not them, you're not as talented as them, you're not as good looking as them, you're not as charismatic as them, so what makes you think that you can do this?

But the Lord comes back to Moses here and he just says to him who gave human beings their mouths who makes them deaf or mute who gives them sight or makes them blind Is it not I the Lord now go I will help speak I'll help you speak and teach you what to say and then still after all this for excuses in God saying he's gonna be with them God saying he's gonna give him the words to speak verse 13 Moses says pardon your servant Lord

Just please send someone else. Please send someone else. And this leads us to trap five, which is somebody else will do it. We believe we don't have to do it because somebody else will do it. And this, I believe, is the exact conclusion that the enemy wants you to come to. He wants you to believe, oh, there's tons of Christians on earth. There's missionaries who are designed to do this. Like, I don't have to do it. And there was a study that said the average person has about nine close friends.

So let's add in some family members and just say you have an average close community of about 15 people. If all 50 of us reached out to just our closest community and no one else, that would be 750 people. If there was a group of 50 of us listening to this podcast and we all reached out to just our closest community, no one else did, that would be 750 people. If we don't reach out to anyone,

And that leads us into trap five, which is somebody else will do it. Right? How many times have you thought this? Someone else should just do it. It shouldn't be me. And I think this is the exact conclusion that the enemy wants you to come to. He wants you to believe, you know, Hey man, there's tons of Christians on earth. There's tons of other missionaries who were designed to do this. There's pastors who are designed to do this. There's people who are trained to speak to their friends about Jesus. There are people who are more gifted, more talented.

more able to do this, more experienced, I'm just gonna let them do it, I don't have to do it. I think that is a big one when we just fall into this thing of like, there's so many people, I'm not insignificant, so I'm just gonna not do it. And that's the final chapter that the enemy wants to get you to. He wants you to go through all those lies. Who am I? I'm a fraud, I'm not talented enough, I'm not gifted enough, so I might as well not even try. And let's just hope somebody else does it.

does it. But man, all five of these traps are absolute lies from the enemy that he uses to keep us from fulfilling the mission that God has given each one of you. Can you imagine if the story would have just stopped there with Moses? Like what if Moses had never ended up going? It could have changed the course of history. Maybe the Israelites would have never been freed. We wouldn't have the story of God parting the Red Sea. We wouldn't have the story of Joshua in the Battle of Jericho. This was the mission that God gave to Moses.

And I believe he gives each one of you a mission that only you can fulfill. But so many times we just stay on the sidelines and we don't pursue what God has put on our hearts because we don't believe that we can do it or because we're afraid that we're gonna fail. And I heard a crazy story a few weeks back that's just got me thinking a lot. And this is, it was from a guy who works for an organization that fights human trafficking in the United States. And he told us a story, I was with a group of guys, he told us a story about a girl who approached him at an event.

And she said that she thought she was being human trafficked. She just came up and said, I think I'm being human trafficked. So they sat her down to hear more about it. Turns out, this is what was happening. She was being flown out to different cities all across the country each weekend to have meetups with other guys. And the reason she didn't know if she was being trafficked or not was because the men who were selling her just totally manipulated her, brainwashed her into thinking that it was all her fault and it was her decision.

But she would get flown out to different cities and these men were paying an average, these men that were spending the weekend with her were paying an average of $3 ,600 a weekend to be with her. $3 ,600. She'd have the weekend, then she'd fly back and probably do it again the next weekend. And over the course of the last five years or so, she had probably slept with hundreds of men that had paid her, that had paid this $3 ,600.

And the guy who's telling the story, he said, they asked her a question. He said, what do you think these guys are looking for that are willing to pay thousands of dollars just for a weekend? And she looked right back at him and he said, I can tell you in a few sentences what they're looking for. She said, actually, I can tell you in one word, validation. These men were paying thousands of dollars for fake validation. They wanted to be wanted. And there's a deep desire in each of us as men to feel validated.

And this can manifest itself in many different ways. If we feel a void, we can search for it through pleasure, we can search for it through other people, we can work crazy hard trying to feel validation through our careers, or we can become content with our normal life and not take any risk for fear of failing and losing some of our validation or credibility. We're afraid that people might not respect us as much if we try something and fail. Like what if we were step up, step out and do something that didn't work?

And that fear can cripple us and cause us to just be okay with the norm instead of pursuing all that God has for us. And that's, I've swung more that way of being afraid to step out so I can keep a good reputation. Like if people like me and I don't do anything that stands out, then I can't be seen as a failure. That's a mindset that I've had in the past. If I don't step out to do something risky, there's no chance of not feeling inadequate. There's no chance of failing and being humiliated. There's no chance of losing confidence.

These feelings have dominated a lot of my life. These feelings of not being enough or afraid to fail have caused me to miss out on a lot of opportunities the Lord has put in front of me. I'm a pretty competitive guy, a lot of us are, like I love to win, but that's always translated into a fear of losing or a fear of failing. And I typically like to only do things that I feel like I'm good at. Like doing things that I'm bad at or uncomfortable. So if I don't think I'm gonna be that good, I don't wanna do it. If I compare myself to other people who are better than me and say like,

I don't even think I'm gonna attempt it because I'm not gonna be the best at it. But since when did not attempting anything get anyone anywhere? Since when did not attempting anything get anyone anywhere? I feel a call of God in my life to inspire and equip men to reach their full God -given potential. I feel like that's why he created me. But so many times I get caught up in these feelings of inadequacy or comparing. I look at other speakers who are better than me and worry that when I speak I'm not gonna be as good or when I coach men that...

I'm not gonna be the best coach or if I release some content that it's not gonna be as good as others. But no, I feel like God has called me to do this and so I'm here doing it. And sure, this might not be the best video ever, but no one's gonna be impacted by anything if I don't do this. I feel like I would be disobedient to the gifts, passions and talents God has given me if I don't use them. Guys, our validation comes through God. He is the only one that can provide the 100 % certainty that we are valued.

that we are loved, that he is proud of us. God made each one of you and God doesn't make mistakes. Think about that. God doesn't make mistakes. He determined that you were worth creating. You are not an accident. He has a plan for your life and a mission that he wants you to fulfill. And I know this is a popular verse, but I really want you to just listen to these words, digest them, believe them. This is from Psalm 139. For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you.

because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you. When I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God, how vast is the sum of them. Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

amazing, amazing truth. You don't have to feel inadequate. You don't have to feel like you can never measure up because there is a God who created you, right? And he's saying all these things. I knit you in your mother's womb. I made you for a purpose. There's no place that you can go where I won't be with you. And so if we live from this place of complete validation and worth in Christ, then we can step out and pursue everything he has for us. We all have fears, but also we all have faith.

So whichever one we focus on is going to dominate our thoughts and our actions. And I want to be a person that feeds my faith and starves my fear. And I know you want to be too. Could you fail if you stepped out to do something you felt God put on your heart? Yes. Yes, that is a possibility. Could you be ridiculed by other people? Yes, it's possible. But also, could you see the God who promises to never leave you or forsake you, use you in crazy ways for his kingdom? Absolutely you can.

Could you see your friends come to know the Lord through you? Could you change generations and generations by allowing God to use you? Yes, that's what I want to believe. You can either believe one thing. Yeah, you could fail, but also you could succeed. Yeah, you could fall flat, but also you could live a life that's worth living and a life where you are passionate and alive and being used by the Lord for His purposes and His mission.

Like, man, that gets me fired up. Let's focus on those promises from God instead of our own inadequacies. Like, what if we believed in the possibilities of a God who does the impossible? Do you want to come to the end of your life with regret, sitting on the sidelines and letting fear dominate you? Or do you want to get to heaven and hear, well done, good and faithful servant, and be surrounded by dozens of people who are there because you.

decided to push past your fears and live out God's purpose in your life.

You have unlimited potential because you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. You have the ability to do great things because your validation comes from the Lord. You can push past fears because of Christ inside of you. And one of my favorite quotes, this comes from Marianne Williamson, it's a popular quote, but I love it. She says, we ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your plane small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Wow. That line.

Your playing small does not serve the world. Just always hits me hard. I don't want to get to the end of my life with regrets knowing that I played small. And let these feelings of inadequacy, these fears of failure, saying I'm not enough, I'm not talented enough, send somebody else, Lord. I don't want those things to be what defines my life. This world needs godly men who are stepping up in confidence and being everything God's created them to be. This world needs you alive and living at your best.

and doing the things that you're passionate about doing. When you step out of your comfort zone, when you push through feelings of inadequacy and insecurities, you are going to inspire those around you to do the same. And when you're met with opposition, or when you make mistakes, you can rest in the fact that you have a God who created you, loves you, and thinks you have infinite value. You can find your validation in the fact that God made you, and he doesn't make mistakes. I believe Christian men should be some of the most confident,

people on the planet because our validation is not in what we do. It's not in how we look. It's not on how much money we make or how successful we are. Our validation is in Christ alone. And that fact should compel us to pursue everything God has put on our hearts to do. It should compel us from that place. Yeah, we might make mistakes, but I'm falling back on validation from a God who loves me. Yeah, I might not be as successful as somebody else, but I'm falling back on the validation of God who loves me so I can go out and do it.

and do it with confidence and do it with passion and do it with purpose.

If there's something you haven't done right now that you know you need to be doing and you're letting fear hold you back, you're letting feelings of inadequacy hold you back, this could be the year to actually make it happen. This could be the year where you actually take the step. It can be a small step, it can be a big step, but this could be the year that you could do it. And I would just encourage you to do it. Step out. You're going to find that the greatest life is on the life that is.

Getting uncomfortable pushing against those fears and doing what you feel like you're created to do living into your passions and not playing it safe So I just encourage you to take a baby step toward doing it. Just do something get the momentum going Do something to get the ball rolling and when you do The crazy thing is when you start to take action when you start to see some results your confidence grows And as your confidence grows and you start to do things you become better at doing them So your competence grows and when your competence grows

then your confidence grows as well. You have both of these things going. Your competence and your confidence can only grow though when you decide to get moving and you decide to take some steps. So I know that was a lot, but I believe in you. You got this. Please find people who can encourage you and support you, continue to invest in your growth and attack this issue with intentionality. So thanks for joining me today. Go live a life that you're proud of by living intentionally. I'll see you next time.

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