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Thursday, May 3, 2012

He asked, "What is Self-confidence?

Self-confidence comes hard for me.

Last night during a class about purpose, the leader asked the question: What is self-confidence? There were a lot of answers. Boldness, feeling okay with yourself. The usual…

I’ve been mulling this over since the class. I know my confidence has taken a hit. All my life really. Being overweight, not feeling pretty enough, smart enough, good enough in general. I think for people like me who have a lot of gifts but have never mastered any of them, it’s especially hard to have the sort of quiet confidence that is so appealing in those we look to as leaders.

Instead, we tend to shove on a mask, throw back our shoulders and pretend to be better than we are. It’s that whole “fake it till you make it” garbage. And I get “do it afraid”. For sure. I’d never speak in front of anyone if I didn’t do it afraid. But the problem with pretending to be something you’re not while hoping to step into that place you’d like to be, is that you’re living a lie.

When you live the lie, you start believing it so real change, growth, whatever, never happens. It’s so much better to work hard at inner change so that you BECOME that person instead of pretending.

I think confidence comes through experience. The more you stand in front of a crowd, the more confident you become. Being prepared, surrounding yourself with competent people who help, all those things build confidence in palm-wetting situations.

But the real issue is what’s going on inside? In the core of you, me. Here’s the thing—I am confident about Jesus. I love him, know he loves me. I’m certain he is Lord.

I am also confident that when I’m weak, His strength takes over. I want that feeling of confidence, but I don’t want to be so put together that people can’t relate or that I begin relying on myself to make things happen. God gives us abilities and He doesn’t micro-manage, so when He gives a task, He expects us to carry it out. Then He watches as we take shaky faith-steps and He shoots a little more of His strength in us until we’re feeling a little less like a slug and a little more like Superman. If our hearts aren’t ready for the feeling we can mistake His strength for ours and our confidence turns to pride.

That’s my experience and therefore shapes my opinion. So, I’m praying “God, help me follow through with your plans for me, but never let me become confident in myself.” Because I know myself. I’m a fast and easy target for Pride. But insecurity and lack of confidence are major turnoffs and I don’t want to portray that either.

Daniel says, “Those who know their God will be strong and do exploits.”

Confidence comes through relationship with God. Because only what I do for God, fulfilling his purpose for me matters.

One thing I know…He who began a good work in me will continue it.

If I let Him.

My reason for taking this class is not so much to FIND my purpose. I know what I’m called to do and be in this life, but more to become more stable in my face-forward determination to finish the race. I’ve always started strong and finished short of the goal. But God has been doing an inner work in me over the last few months. The kind of work that brings true and lasting change. The choice is mine. I know I can drop the ball any second and I’m holding on to hope with a knuckle-whitening desperation to stay focused on what’s important.

Self-confidence. Yeah, God wants that for me. But more than that, He wants me to remember where that strength comes from so I don’t mistake His strength for my own.

Only God can accomplish that in me. I’m resting in Him to keep me on course.


Christine Lynxwiler said...

Great thoughts, Tracey. Something to think about as I struggle to be more self-confident. I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Tracey, I've just finished the 2nd book of the Claire series and want to thank you. I don't read many non fiction books (My favorites are the Count of Monte Cristo and The Brothers Karamazov) but I've been so let down when I've wanted to read a Christian fiction. I was specific, it had to have faith elements in it. Your Claire series books were PERFECT, I truly enjoyed them so much. I hope you will continue to write about mothers in their 30's dealing with children and their faith because I imagine there must be MANY women like me who thrive on those books. God bless.

Anonymous said...

ok, just wanted to make a correction on my previous comment. I was specifically looking for a book that dealt with mothers my age (mid to late thirties) with older children (pre-teen, teen) and dealing with how faith in God is a part of her life. Claire has a strong faith even though mine is not as strong as hers it gave me a spiritual uplift. That's what I meant! :-) Angela

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