Walking into a room with my chin up, tummy in, shoulders back, being able to talk to anyone — that was my idea of confidence. Attitude? I had it. I believed I had something unique to offer the world.
But I knew that in my honest, barefoot moments, I wasn’t really that self-assured. In my quest for its essence, I realized my confidence was rooted in personality. It was large and visible, but it washed up against a strong wall that surrounded my very private self.
It was easier to speak in front of a crowd than to be vulnerable with a friend. I struggled to share my weaknesses, my fears, and my disappointments with my closest friend. I couldn’t open my heart up to her. I offered well-hidden pat answers to her sincere requests. I listened, which allowed me to remain an observer and kept me at a safe distance. I didn’t allow the relationship to grow in a balanced way by sharing equal parts of myself. I was talking, yes, but not necessarily sharing.
The truth was, I didn’t feel worthy of sharing my troubles with someone else. Taking a friend’s time. Calling on her compassion and love. Having someone listen to me.
I wasn’t confident to be “naked” in front of those I loved, to lay bare my faults and mistakes.
I wasn’t confident that I was wonderful enough to be loved. Besides, it was much safer and much easier to listen, comfort, and give.
A lie had slipped into my life, the lie of having to earn love by accomplishment. The lie of doing, and not being.
Bathed in truth
Then God started breathing truth into my spirit, by his Word:
- "I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).
- "The Lord said to me, 'I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:4).
Finally, I got it. My heart was on fire with the fact that nothing I could do would make Jesus love me more than he already did. Whether I spent my life on the couch or on a mission field, whether I messed up, succeeded, loved, achieved, procrastinated, had fun, worked with the homeless, or watched movies all day, nothing would change his love for me. His love did not depend on my performance. His love was based on his character. It was free, no strings attached.
Ironically, the moment I entered into this new freedom, I wanted to do things for God. Not because I felt I had to, but because I wanted to. Out of overflowing love and gratitude for how awesome he is, I wanted to pour out into his world some of the value he had built into me.
“If we have some confidence in ourselves because we are created by a loving God — because we are God’s children, made in our Father’s image — then we will want to accomplish something with our gifts. We will want to do something that will last” (Alan Loy McGinnis, Confidence: How to Succeed at Being Yourself).
Clothed in confidence
As truth entered, I became whole. New life surged through me: enthusiasm, joy, and yes, confidence. I was set free and empowered by divine love.
Confidence said I was a child of the King. Like confetti, God did away with scarcity, jealousy, fear and doubt. Confidence said I was valuable, beautiful, and precious in my Father’s sight. (I am a child of the King!) Confidence said I could be vulnerable and still be loved. Confidence said I could laugh at myself, because I didn’t have to be perfect. Confidence said my mission was to reflect God in the world in the Spirit’s strength.
So, honest before my King, confident in his love, I said, “Yes."