Confidence. I feel like I am about to step onto a landmine just uttering this word in a faith-based column. There are so many words floating around in my head on this topic but they won’t seem to land anywhere concrete.
I think what I am experiencing can be summed up in cognitive dissonance. You see there are two women that I wish to speak to with this article. The women who tear others down (even just in their minds) for using this word, and the women who are daring to whisper it to themselves in the mirror.
The cognitive dissonance comes in because I am both of those women. For the majority of my life, I didn’t believe in myself. I added tag-lines to any statement of skill or ability like “by the grace of God,” or “it’s all God and not me.” In my mind I judged women who had confidence apart from the gospel. I didn’t believe anybody that was successful could have gotten there without trampling somebody else on the way (because that’s all we see in the news right?!).
And for the last 10 months I’ve been the woman daring to whisper it to herself in the mirror. I’ve felt my loving Father say, “it’s okay beloved daughter, you don’t have to dim your light for mine to shine.” And with this blog, we’ve wanted to inspire and empower other women to have the confidence to step into the BIG things that God has called them to.
Let’s use a silly example to explore what I’m seeing play out.
A woman dares to have confidence in her ability to make pancakes. She believes that with hard work and a little personal development (self-help) she can getting even better at making pancakes.
She whispers to herself in the mirror, “You are so good at making pancakes. You can do this! Put a smile on and go get ’em! You could even teach people how to make pancakes, girl!”
Somebody says to her (or more likely about her on a social platform) something like, “real confidence is not in human ability but in Christ alone.”
Here’s the thing, even if she didn’t know Jesus or have a relationship with Him, she could likely still make those pancakes and even improve her pancake making game.
This woman isn’t saying because she is confident in her ability to make pancakes that she doesn’t need Jesus (or other people for that matter). She also isn’t saying that her ability to make pancakes or grow in the knowledge of how to make pancakes saves her or brings her into relationship with God apart from Christ. She is simply confident that she can make pancakes.
Out of that confidence she builds a business. That business creates income for her family and inspires other women to make pancakes. They then create businesses with their pancake making. Before you know it she has influenced many and created income where there wasn’t any previously. And if she has a relationship with the Lord, she has likely shared His love and empowered others along the way.
What if that was exactly what God had purposed for her to do? What if she had never had the confidence in her ability to make pancakes or her potential to learn more about making pancakes that she never stepped into that purpose?
A Case for Confidence
1. In Him we are a new creation.
What if we stopped considering ourselves separately from Him? What if would could own confidence in ourselves because as new creation we are inexplicably intertwined with Him?
I don’t think He needs us to add the disclaimer “it’s not me it’s him” every time we are confident in our pancake making ability because he is in us and we are in him. Christ in us hope of glory(Romans 8:10). The same power that raised Christ from the grave lives in us (Romans 8:11). Self-confidence isn’t saying we don’t need him, it’s believing in who we are with Him. That we are co-laboring with him. He desires to partner with us in our work as we seek to bring encounters of His love to the world around us.
2. We were not given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7) “Sound mind” here means safe-thinking and includes qualities of self-control and self-discipline. This does not sound like someone who is not confident in their abilities or potential for growth to meet the demands of their calling. It also doesn’t sound like a person who questions or overthinks every decision they make.
3. We don’t have to fear failure because we have an advocate with the Father.
We can approach life with confidence because even if we mess up we can expect forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). And that God will work out all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). It’s sounding like we should be the most confident people in the world. And yet, we are far from it.
4. If you fight for your limits you get to keep them.
This quote is from a secular Mental Fitness Enthusiast, but I think it completely applies biblically. As believers we fight more for our ability to screw up than for Christ’s ability to deem us righteous. We hold Adam’s ability to bring sin into the world and cause death to reign as greater than Christ’s ability to bring life (Romans 5:17). If you fight for a lack of confidence in your own ability and potential for growth, you get to stay where you are.
There are some incredible humans in this world, that don’t yet have a relationship with God. Thanks to social media we can see the normal stories, not just the controversial ones. People have built successful, multimillion dollar businesses from a framework of service and providing value to others. AND they are giving back in huge ways. Not all success is a result of evil.
So think about this. If humans are doing this without any knowledge of the Lord, how much greater is our potential with Holy Spirit dwelling in us?!
5. God is not threatened by us shining bright.
I’m not sure why we’ve taken the worst character quality of humans and attributed it to God. Like it is so not fun to hang with people who have to continually make you look small in order to look good. So why do we say that God desires that of us?!
Because we don’t know how glorious He is. I love how Wendy Backlund puts it. God told her “No matter how glorious you look, you still won’t come close.” Haha!
We are called to arise and shine. Our shining points to Him, it doesn’t deter from Him. He is not threatened by it (or our ability to make pancakes) at all. He’s cheering us on.
Christ’s example of humility was not self-deprecating in any way. He new who He was. A child of God empowered by the Holy Spirit. Let’s know who we are.
So if you are daring to have confidence in your pancake making skills, keep it up sister!!
But regardless of our stance on the use of the word confidence, let’s be mindful of our sisters in Christ. We can disagree without tearing down. We can also be mindful that we don’t know another’s heart. They most likely aren’t saying they don’t need Jesus or aren’t grateful for Him.