I’m always a little surprised when people tell me how confident I am. Maybe it’s because I know deep down I still feel like a little girl, or maybe it’s because I battle a long list of insecurities every single day. I see myself at my absolute lowest, and I know what a fight it is for me to walk through this world confidently – to not let my insecurities win. We’re all fighting that same battle – even the people that look like they aren’t.
One of my really good friends was asking my advice on a situation recently and when I told her what I thought. She said, “that sounds just like you, because you’re superwoman, and you’re so crazy confident.” I was actually shocked – have a fooled one of my best friends into having her think that I’m like this crazy confident person? I felt like a fraud. If only she knew what I thought about myself sometimes. If only she knew the thoughts I have to beat down with a stick literally every single day.
So, here’s my secret. Because I certainly am not even close to having less insecurities than the next person. I haven’t even kind of figured out this whole adult business. I’ll skip a workout to nap…more often then I care to admit. I watch The Notebook from time to time just to feel sorry for myself – just like the next girl (don’t pretend I’m alone on this one). I don’t have anything all together. But here’s what I keep in mind – and apparently I have everyone fooled, so it might be worth something.
Confidence is not a personality trait. It is a decided and practiced mindset.
I am not inherently confident – as noted above. Naturally, I want to never go into a social situation where I don’t know anyone. My personality would prefer that I stay home and read as opposed to EVER putting myself out there. My mind will tell me, “you’re awkward”, “why’d you just say that?”, “you’re embarrassing yourself”, “you’re a burden to this person”…But, where’s the abundance in a life lived like that?
FEELING bold and confident will hardly ever naturally happen to me, so honestly, I push my feelings aside and just pretend that I’m confident and bold. I just walk through my situations telling myself that I’m confident in all that I do…even though my feelings are like – GIRL, NO YOU ARE NOT, WE DON’T WANT TO DO THIS! ABORT MISSION. I do it anyway.
Feelings are not reality. I repeat, feelings are not reality. So yeah, sometimes I let them inform decisions, but I almost never let them dictate how I walk through this world. Never. Because my feelings tell me – that girl over there is prettier than you, she has a better body than you, she’s funnier than you. That boy over there – well he’s out of your league, he’d be freaked out by your passion, you’re too much for him, you’re not enough for him…blah blah blah – my feelings would have me crippled in a corner.
So I practice confidence even when I feel like a wimpy little girl. Even when I don’t want to put myself out there. Even when I don’t want to speak the truth. I do it all anyway. Fake it till you make it. Do I have you convinced yet?
Bill Johnson said something along the lines of, “People are so afraid of counterfeit, that they’ll stay in their sad reality, not knowing that sometimes you have to walk in the anticipation of how you hope reality will be – before it actually is reality.” That’s exactly how I treat confidence. I walk in it, even when I feel like a giant fraud, because I anticipate the day when God makes confidence my natural reality…although, sometimes I hope he doesn’t, because the dependence I have on HIM for my confidence is kind of my favorite.
I don’t have any confidence in myself – and I don’t have to. I have confidence in Christ. What’s true about Him, He’s made true about me.
I spent my whole life building up a personality, an image, a career, an education that would give me confidence in ME. Now, I’m not saying any of those things are bad, but let me tell you – it was a real struggle trying to scrape up any confidence from anything that I could do for myself.
When my confidence was in my personality – I was always reminded that there’s someone funnier, someone cooler (hard to imagine), someone chiller, someone more fun…I would find myself wrecked with insecurity. When I tried to find my confidence in my image – I was always reminded that there’s always someone prettier, someone with better clothes, someone with better hair, someone with a better body – there will always be someone who has it more together than I do, someone more organized, someone better at art, someone who walks through the world with just a little more swag (k, just a little though), just someone…better. Hard to be confident when you’re looking at stats like that. When my confidence was in my career and education, you can imagine the internal crisis when I was unemployed for 9 months, when I decided to change careers, when I almost got kicked out of the art program at Hope – imagine my self-confidence. It was non-existent. I didn’t deserve confidence – I had failed.
So, my confidence can’t come from me. It can’t come from what I do or don’t do, who I am or who I’m not, what I look like or what I don’t look like. Because you guys, I’ll never measure up. I just won’t. And even if I have a day, or a week, or a month when I’ve really held it all together – it’s not sustainable…we all know this.
And it can’t be on other people – it can’t be on a significant other telling me how great I am all the time, can’t come from my mom encouraging me, can’t come from my best friends, can’t come from any sort of outside validation – because what happens the day that all stops? What happens when my best friend and I have a falling out (HYPOTHETICALLY – because my best friends are angels and that’s never happening)? What happens when the boy breaks up with me? What happens when my mom is in a rough season, and she’s the one who needs encouragement?
So my confidence just HAS to come from somewhere else, and yeah, I’ll choose my creator. I’ll take the confidence of Christ. K, thanks.
The amount of freedom I’ve found in God speaking HIS identity over me, instead of ME working so stinking hard to curate the perfect identity is a freedom I can’t properly explain. It changed everything. It’s the only place where authentic confidence comes for me. God tells me that because He is holy, I am holy. Because He is righteous, I am righteous. Because He has wisdom, I have wisdom. Because He is light, I am light. Because He is mighty, I am mighty. Because He is powerful, I am powerful. He looks at me – and He sees Jesus. He looks at me and smiles with deep delight and gladness in my existence…not just when I’m killing it in life, but when my apartment is a mess, and I nap instead of work out, and I’m struggling to balance it all…He looks at me and is just glad He created me. He’s just glad I’m here.
And He’s given me His spirit so that I can walk in all of that. He’s filled me so that I don’t ever have to feel like I don’t belong. I don’t ever have to feel unworthy. I don’t ever have to feel disregarded. I get to walk into every situation with the knowledge that I am a daughter of the King, I am wanted, I am loved, I am protected, I have GOD in me. And if that right there doesn’t jump start me with confidence – then I’m dead to the reality of who God really is. If that right there doesn’t change the way you feel about yourself, then you might be missing what God wants to say about you. Because He’s never in a bad mood. He’s never not completely, and utterly in love with you. He’s never not trying to give you His identity. That’s what the confidence of Christ is all about.