Have you ever gone through your normal day, your normal routine, and realize that somewhere along the way you lost your confidence? It could’ve been the demeaning talk of a boss, a coworker talking behind your back, someone forgetting what you said, or someone getting irritated at you because they are having a bad day. No matter what it could’ve been, you are left feeling less than adequate to go through the rest of your day.
Those are legitimate and hurtful things that do happen. What do I do when it is something at the root of who I am? What if I was beaten, cheated on, or thrown away, and now I don’t know if I could ever be confident again. What do I do then?
When you look at antonyms of confidence in a thesaurus (let’s be real, thesaurus.com). The first word that comes up is doubt. I agree but I think that the second antonym fits better. The second one is fear. It is often our fear that gets in the way of our confidence.
A lot of us are old friends with fear. Even though we tell fear to go away, it has buried itself inside our house, and it would take some deep soul searching to find him. Fear must have slipped in the back door because I would have never let him in. Yet, I have gotten used to being roommates with fear. He makes sure I stay away from anything potentially dangerous. Although, I worry a lot. I wonder what life would be like if I kicked fear out, but like I said, that would take too much soul searching and bring up too much pain. I would rather live in fear than go through the pain to get rid of fear. I fear getting rid of fear, because if I did that, then I would have to change. I would have to risk. I would have to have faith in someone other than me.
Fear can be harmful as well as helpful. If you are on the edge of a ten-story building then you have the right to be afraid because it keeps you attentive and aware of your circumstance. If you are struggling financially because of poor planning, then it is ok to let fear drive you to plan better next month. Be aware of hurtful fear. If your boss tells you to redo something and then you stress about being fired for a week, then that is not healthy.
You can always identify unhealthy fear because it takes a toll on you physically. If you lose sleep, lose or gain weight, feeling paralyzed to the point where decisions are hard to make, or start being careless with your dressing habits, then it is probably a hurtful type of fear. A healthy fear is motivated by a realistic, actual danger and then flees after the certain circumstance is over. Be aware of which fear you are experiencing when fear strikes.
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the Gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” – Philippians 1:12-14
What Paul is saying is good, but how can we get this knowledge from the head to the heart? We have to earnestly desire it. We have to desire the spread of the Gospel. We have to desire a life of confidence in the sacrifice of Christ.
- Confidence flows from love. A lot of us know the verse in 1 John that says “Perfect love drives out fear.” God’s love single-handedly drives out the fear that withholds confidence and equips us to experience confidence.
- Confidence is experienced in surrender to Christ. The confidence you have been searching for is one prayer away. When we surrender to Jesus, we say that his chains were enough to get me out of my chains. I believe that when we take up our cross then we can live in the confidence of the empty tomb.
- Confidence can be contagious. Paul was in chains for Christ, and Christ was in chains for us. Jesus didn’t stay in those chains and right now, Paul is free from those chains in the presence of his savior. When you have the confidence to stand up to fear, then you can step into a new life. Your transformation will lead to other people believing that transformation can happen with them as well. If you know someone struggling with confidence, then one of the best things you can do for them is to tell them your life story. A story of transformation and hope.
Confidence is closer than you think because Jesus is closer than you think. This isn’t a theory; it’s your story playing out in God’s story. It is possible. Freedom from fear is here. You’re getting your confidence back.
Grace and peace.
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