My Confidence

Over the last few weeks I have been reading a book called “The Confidence Code” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. The premise of the book is discussing how women lack confidence and miss out on many opportunities to men because of their lack of self-assurance and of course teaching on how to gain confidence. It has been a very interesting read for me and has stretched me to really think hard about the concepts of feminism and confidence.

First off, if you don’t know it already – I am not a feminist. I don’t believe that I am undervalued or that I miss opportunities because I am a woman. I choose to be subservient in my household to my husband. I understand that I have certain physical limitations and tendencies because I am a woman. That being said, I am very competitive in everything I do. I have a good job in a mostly male-dominated corporate manufacturing environment, I am competitive in sports on co-ed teams and I own my own business. I have never felt that I couldn’t do something just because I am a woman. In all my time in these fields it has been skills based. If you are hard-working and driven then you get places in life, if you are lazy then you won’t. You will sit on the bench on any sports team if you aren’t good at it, it really doesn’t matter at if you are a man or a woman. If the goal is winning then a good coach/boss will choose the players/people that are best equipped to lead and contribute. If I fail I don’t need/want to use the cop-out that it is because I am a woman, no. I fail because I didn’t work hard enough or maybe I wasn’t as qualified.

I also don’t think it is fair to say that women alone struggle with the issues of confidence and finding value in themselves. I think this is an issue of being human. More than anything I think that lack of confidence comes from not understanding our value in God’s eyes. As I read this book I realized more and more that self-assured confidence is just a front that people put on because true genuine confidence can come from nowhere but God. I am confident and I feel like I could do pretty much anything I set my mind to but it isn’t because I am self-assured. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This whole situation sent me into a word study in the bible to really find where confidence comes from. And my list isn’t nearly as extensive as it could be but it was enough to really back up my point and to assure me that I am correct in my thoughts on this subject. Below are a few verses from the bible that really illustrate what true confidence can look like for us –

Hebrews 13:5-6 New International Version (NIV)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?”

2 Chronicles 32:8 New International Version (NIV)

With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

Proverbs 3:25-26 New International Version (NIV)

25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
    or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
    and will keep your foot from being snared. 

Isaiah 32:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
    its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 New International Version (NIV)

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 New International Version (NIV)

Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

1 John 5:14New International Version (NIV)

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Jeremiah 29:11-14New International Version (NIV)

11 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
These, to me, are verses that bring confidence. No amount of self-assurance can give us what these verses give. God is not addressing gender with these verses about confidence. This confidence is available to men and women. God has a plan, a better one then we could ever come up with for our careers, family and living situation. Through God we have peace and we don’t need to worry about the future. God will never leave us. With God we don’t need to have trust issues because he has never broken our trust, He keeps his promises to us. He values us and He cares about us. Our competence comes from God, our skills and abilities are from Him. Could He not also help us use our skills and abilities to their full potential since He gave them to us? The verse in Jeremiah says, “Blessed are those who put their trust in the Lord and whose confidence is in Him”. The verse doesn’t say blessed are those who are self-assured. 

This begs the question, why do Christians struggle with confidence and self-worth? Because we start to long for the approval of other flawed humans rather than the approval of the Lord who made us. This is not an easily answered question, nor one to be taken lightly, because so many people deal with this issue on confidence. 

Below are the dictionary definitions of confident and self-assured – 

adjective: confident
feeling or showing confidence in oneself; self-assured.
she was a confident, outgoing girl
synonyms: self-assured, assured, self-confident, positive, assertive, self-possessed, self-reliant, poised; More          

adjective: self-assured
confident in one’s own abilities or character.
a self-assured 16-year-old
synonyms: self-confident, confident, assertive, assured, authoritative, commanding, self-reliant, self-possessed, poised    

The very definition of “confident” is one of being introspective and trusting in yourself. I challenge you today to look at confidence with God as the center rather than ourselves. This takes the pressure off of you to assure yourself into a state of confidence. All we have to do is trust that God is going to do what he says he will do. He didn’t lead you to a certain point in life to abandon you and make you figure out the rest on your own. No. Most of the time that we find ourselves stressed and worried about the future is because we have taken things off of God’s plate and put them on our own when we are not capable of handling it. I have been so incredibly stressed and anxious the last few weeks and I realized it is because I am trying to clutch the future with white knuckles and guide it the way I want it to go. I have spent days journaling just outlining what I wanted in life and wracking my brain as to how I can achieve it all. How can I be 100% at work, at my business and as a wife and someday as a mother? How can I do it all? How can I manage everything? How can I keep what I want and get rid of what I don’t want? How can we make it financially? How can I manage all of the risk? I, I, I, I, I is the common denominator in these questions. I let it go this week. I could not physically or emotionally handle trying to deal with everything, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And it is absolutely incredible how much peace I have now after giving my problems to God when not a thing has changed about my situation. It is amazing how confident and sure of the future I feel when I still don’t know more than I knew last week. But God has been teaching me a lesson in confidence. God has really clearly met me and showed me this week that he has brought me to this place in my life for a very specific reason. He has given me hope that all of my dreams will be fulfilled in His perfect way and that I need to continue to work hard to the best of my abilities for right now. 

This peace is available to those who are willing to let go and give their futures to God. The closer you get to Him the more confident you feel. It is truly amazing and a piece of wisdom I couldn’t not share because I know many people who struggle with this. 

Lastly more as just a funny comparison, here are some photos of confidence vs confidence in God. They really give a great visual illustration for this discussion.

Confident – 

Confident in God –