Where Confidence is Born
COn·fi·dence/ˈkänfidəns/ The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust: “we had every confidence in the staff”...The state of feeling certain about the truth of something…
When I was first asked to write an article on confidence I thought it would be an easy task. Turns out it wasn’t as easy as I thought. When I first contemplated this word I automatically thought about women like Oprah Winfrey, Lady Diana, and Mother Theresa—women who have made a huge contribution to humanity and left a mark on our world. However, even they had their own personal battles, whether it was with weight, abuse, race, relationships, media, politics or government.
I spent some time online and found article after article on what confidence is and how to get it, with numerous tips on increasing one’s self-esteem. Though the advice was practical and had its place, it dawned on me that for those who struggle with confidence, following those various “tips” may prove to be a difficult task.
One website stated a lack of confidence (or low self-esteem) as being “the fear of not being good enough, not being wanted and valued and being worthless and insignificant” (www.confidenceguide.com). How does a broken young girl, who was repeatedly made to feel that she was worthless, suddenly tell herself she is worthy? How does a young woman who is looking for love in all the wrong places convince herself she is enough? How does a grandmother who has kept her child abuse secret for the last 70 years, suddenly let go of the past and learn to smile again? How does a 30+ year old who has carried the guilt of her divorce one day wake up and “forgive herself” for her past mistakes? These kinds of experiences can leave one feeling less than confident!
So, what is the answer? How do we develop confidence? How do we rebuild after being broken? How do we find significance? I’m not sure it’s the same process for every woman. I think confidence is a journey—something that grows and develops over time. I say this because that was my own experience and that of my mother and my grandmother.
I don’t remember being a shy child. In fact, I think I was a bit of a drama queen! I loved the limelight, I loved dancing and singing around the room in front of the mirror, and I had the wildest imagination! Confidence was not an issue! During my teen years though, some of that innocence and confidence began to fade. I got school crushes on boys but was rejected. I fluctuated with weight and no matter how I tried I just couldn’t compete with the thin girls. I wore handmade clothes my mother sewed from a foot pedal machine while my friends wore the latest trends. I failed subjects at school and didn’t get many A’s. I wasn’t very popular apart from being labeled the “weird Christian girl” who goes to church on Saturday.
In an attempt to bring some normalcy to my school/peer life I developed my very own set of skills that would make me stand out from the crowd and make me feel as though I belonged. I sang and I made jokes. Then I became the girl with “the voice” or “the funny fat girl.” Others assumed I was confident because I could be a joker or a singer in front of a crowd. But deep inside, I was screaming to be accepted by my peers for just being plain old me. If I wasn’t singing or I wasn’t making them laugh, I had this huge fear I wouldn’t be liked. I did not display the confidence that I wanted to. In fact, I was fearful about being insignificant. it took a major crisis in my life to realize how precious I actually was.
My first marriage only lasted 10 years. No matter how much time passes, I look back and feel like I failed. I failed my son, I failed my first husband, and I failed my family. I don’t enjoy failure. Who does? The divorce left me broken. It was a brokenness I can’t even begin to explain. During that time, I lost my joy, at one point almost my reason to live. I removed myself from church and I lost many friends and my reason for singing. If I wasn’t a singer or a joker or a pastor’s wife anymore, then who was I?
Over a course of five years, I rediscovered who I was—I made many mistakes during that journey of discovery, but I also made good choices that eventually steered me in the right direction.
I learned that it takes time to heal. I learned that others cannot make you happy; you first have to be happy and content on your own. I decided to take responsibility for my mistakes, face them, accept God’s forgiveness and then forgive myself. I decided to surround myself with positive people who were uplifting and encouraging. I decided that I was a woman of worth, with morals and values, and that if a man I was dating didn’t respect that, he wasn’t the man for me.
I became (and am still becoming) the best mother for my son. I chose to meet new people and bring fresh experiences into my life. I covered my mirror with Bible verses and statements that reminded me that I was significant. I immersed myself in books and the Bible that taught me to love myself. But more importantly, they allowed me to fall in love with my Savior.
What I discovered was that I was a daughter of God—loved unconditionally. Despite my failures, I was forgiven and free. I didn’t have to crack a joke. I didn’t have to sing. I came just as I was. Broken. I was 35 years old when I fully understood what that meant.
But that, my friends, is the secret to confidence. True confidence I believe, comes from knowing and loving who you are at every stage of your life, the good and the bad, because you are a daughter of the KING.
When you are rejected by a man, you are still valued. If you are told you are worthless, remember you are God’s priceless jewel. When you are forgotten, remember you are known to God. You are God’s daughter. Only through Him can we truly understand our worth, our loveliness, our inner beauty, our strength, our dreams, our significance in this world.
Some of you may not know Him, but let me assure you, He knows you. He knows your history, your pain, your joys, your frustrations, your dreams. Take His hand. Trust Him with the good and the bad. Let Him lead you into a life that is uniquely yours.
Let’s take a look at this definition again:
COn·fi·dence/ˈkänfidəns/ The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust: e.g. “we had every confidence in the staff” The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.”
I know Who I can rely on and firmly trust. And I know what I can be certain of. You and me, we are daughters of the King. So go. Be a woman of Confidence.