Over the last two weeks I was in Amarillo, Texas, which is basically like a second home to me. While I was there, I decided to try out a new church that I had never been to before. The church was called Messiah’s House, and I absolutely loved it. During the service there was a woman that got up on the platform, and she began speaking to all of us. As she was talking, she told everybody to let go of all of the things that we are constantly telling ourselves despite the fact that we know God does not believe them. This really stood out to me, and it gave me an entirely new perspective on some of the confidence issues that I have always struggled with. She challenged us to all think about the words that God would use to describe us instead of filling our minds with lies about ourselves. The first phrase that instantly popped into my head was WORTH IT, and not long after that there was the word ENOUGH.
These may seem like simple words, but I can assure you that they hold a lot of power and meaning within them. The ironic thing is that they are the exact opposite of what I so often tell myself.
I am somebody that has severely struggled with insecurities and confidence for many years. It used to be quite difficult for me to say that out loud to people (as well as to myself), but I have recently discovered that there are many more people than I once thought that are also experiencing the same feelings of loneliness and unworthiness that I sometimes feel around others, which is exactly why I felt compelled to share this as a blog post. I have struggled with a terrible self complex for many years now, and I have often told myself that I am not good enough for anybody. I have told myself time and time again that I am not smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, fun enough, outgoing enough, and the list could go on and on. These are the words that have continuously been whispered in my ear by the enemy as a result of my own doing for a very long time, but I feel that the bulk of these lies began to take form inside of me around the age of 13. I began taking everything that was directed toward me or said about me as criticism, which led to me being much too hard on myself. The funny thing is that if I really take a step back and think about everything collectively, I was always told numerous encouraging words by the people that love me, yet I continuously failed to notice them. My biggest problem was that I would cling to the bad things and forget the good things. The negative comments were the only comments that mattered to me. I began to allow people to greatly influence my opinion of myself, and as a result of this I quickly became afraid to be me. I have always been a rather shy person, but this was an entirely new feeling of fear. It wasn’t until about the time that I turned 17 that I began to break free of that fear little by little, yet I still battle it each and every day in different ways. I had (and honestly sometimes still have) a fear of not being accepted, not being wanted, and not being loved, and it began to take over everything within me. I began telling myself that I was not needed and that I was disposable. I was so focused on everything that I hated about myself, as well as the areas of my life that I felt I was lacking in, that I forgot to take a look at all of the gifts and talents that God has blessed me with. I forgot to take notice of the sweet family who loves me, the dear friends that support me, and the encouraging words that have been said to me by many. I instead chose to let the bad things that I have been told about myself play on repeat in my mind, and I did this to the point where it just about drove me crazy. Not only did I choose to feel this way, but I also chose to bottle up all of these feelings and face them on my own.
Now, the key word in everything that I just said is chose. It was all a choice. I was choosing to believe all of the lies that were whispered in my ear by Satan instead of choosing to listen to the voice of God showing me who I am in Him. We live in a world full of a lot of noise, and we often forget the importance of sitting down and waiting for the still voice of God to speak. We let lies and insults get hurled in our direction, but we forget to hold on to the nuggets of encouragement and truth that are sometimes passed our way.
The bottom line here is that confidence is a choice. Confidence is not something that we just simply have. It is something that we choose to have and believe. I read that once somewhere (that confidence is a choice), and it absolutely rocked my world. I couldn’t believe that I had failed to realize something so simple for so many years of my life. I would often look at others and envy the confidence that they would exude, their feelings of self-assuredness, and their ability to unapologetically be themselves. I used to long for that freeing confidence without even realizing that it was within arm’s reach all along. An important thing to remember, however, is that confidence is not the same as cockiness. With confidence should also come a sense of humility. The type of confidence that I am speaking of is a confidence that comes from understanding who you are as a child of God. It is not a confidence that comes from believing you are better than those surrounding you. In my opinion, true confidence begins when one understands that they are not perfect, yet they accept that fact with gratitude. It comes when one can see their flaws, yet not feel the need to compare their life to the life of another. It comes from understanding who we are in Christ.
The difficult thing that I had to come to terms with while fighting for the confidence that I so badly wanted was grasping the whole concept of confidence being a choice. I didn’t like having to admit that I had, in a sense, chosen to keep my confidence out of my own reach. Once I finally came to terms with this, however, everything seemed so much clearer. I had to begin learning that we can either choose to see the person that God sees us as, as well as the person that He has created us to be, or we can choose to see the person that the enemy wants us to see. Do we all still have flaws? Of course we do. God never said that we were perfect, and we’re not supposed to believe that about ourselves either. What we are supposed to know and believe, however, is that we are children of a God that loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. He is a God that formed us in our mother’s womb. He is a God that established plans for us to prosper. He is a God that designed us with a purpose. He is a God that sees us as His workmanship. He is a God that looks at the heart rather than the outward appearance that man sees. These are the things that should make us confident, and these are the things that we should firmly stand by and tightly hold to.
Now, I know of course that all of this is much easier said than done. I, myself, struggle with reminding myself of these reasons to be confident each and every day. I can promise all of you reading this who also struggle with finding your confidence that I am 100% right where you are. You are not alone. The important thing is not that we are facing a difficult battle within ourselves, but that we find a way to conquer it little by little with the help of a loving God.
The reason I believe confidence is so important is because it allows us to become the best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be. It helps us to have a voice. It helps us to assist those in need. It helps us to make a difference, and it helps us to enforce change where it is needed. Most importantly, it helps us to fulfill the purpose that God has given us.
There can be so many benefits that go along with having even just a little bit of confidence, but I almost always seem to let whatever tiny bit of confidence I have inside of me become crushed by the heavy burden of carrying around an awful combination of lies and fear. It’s such a sad thing for me to admit out loud, but it’s the honest truth, and I know that I am not the only one who has done this. Trust me, I know that it’s all too easy to focus on the negative things that you have been told about yourself rather than the positive, and the negative things sometimes have a funny way of sticking around forever like a scar across our lives. My hope and prayer for everyone else that is also struggling with choosing confidence is that we can all begin together the journey of finding the person that God sees, the person that God has designed a specific plan and purpose for, rather than the person that holds us down.
If you are reading this and you are also struggling with choosing to find your confidence, here are a few reminders that I would love for you to keep close to your heart, for these are the things that encourage me to continue fighting for my confidence in God. These are the truths that remind me of why I have every reason to be confident in my Creator and who He has designed me to be:
1) You are a child of God. He is your Heavenly Father, and He loves you deeply. So much so that He sent His Son to die on a cross for you. There is no greater love than that. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”- John 3:16
2) God has designed you with a purpose. With this fact, however, comes responsibility. We can only completely fulfill this purpose when we choose to be the person that God has created us to be. This requires confidence, faith, and diligence. God never promised us that life would be easy. In fact, He told us that we would be met with many trials and persecution. But God is a faithful God, and He never fails us. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”- Jeremiah 29:11
3) The world that we live in can often be a very shallow place. We tend to judge books by their covers, and people often give greater value to one’s appearance instead of looking at their heart and morals. Thankfully, we have the opportunity to serve a God that chooses to not merely look at the outward appearance that man has become so consumed with, but instead He chooses to view the heart. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on His appearance or on the height of His stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'”-1 Samuel 16:7
4) God truly took time to create you. You were no accident. No one is an accident in the eyes of God. You did not simply just appear. God created you to be here. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” -Psalm 139:13
5) There is no need to be fearful or worried when God is on our side. God is our strength, and by finding our confidence in Him we are whole heartedly relying on Him, which brings us to an even closer relationship with our Heavenly Father. Never stop striving to find your strength in God. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -Isaiah 40:29-31
I hope this served as an encouragement to someone who needs it. Please know that you are not alone! I am in the exact same place that you are in, so I hope and pray that we are all able to find our full confidence in the near future. I can 100% guarantee you that I understand what it feels like to have little to no confidence, and that is why I so strongly believe that choosing to find confidence in the right places is very important. You have reasons to be confident in the person that God has designed you to be! Never stop striving to find and fulfill the purpose that you have been given through the confidence that God provides, and never forget to always listen for the love and truth that comes from the voice of God. You are worth it. You are enough. Never stop choosing confidence.