CON’FIDENCE, noun [Latin]
1. A trusting, or reliance; an assurance of mind or firm belief in the integrity, stability or veracity of another, or in the truth and reality of a fact.
Websters 1828 Dictionary
I’m a decent parallel parker. In fact, I often brag about this to my people, hoping to off-set my other behind-the-wheel mishaps. Like the time I ran over a lawn chair. Or a garbage can. Or when I got lost in my neighborhood. I digress.
I am also a respectable cook. I have grown confident in my cooking skills over time. My family usually finds my meals quite tasty. I believe they appreciate my cooking more than my driving.
Confidence. It feels good to feel confident, doesn’t it?
There are many areas of my life where I feel certain and skilled. There are also many parts of me that are uncertain and unskilled. For example, I am a rotten artist. I can barely draw stick figures and even these stick people need explanations to an outside observer.
Beyond these surface illustrations of our shared human state -we’re all good at some things and not so good in others- lies the state of our hearts.
As I peel back my heart-layers, I shine a spotlight on the real me. She is hard to find, as she shrinks back, wearing a veil of fear and insecurity.
An awareness that fear was beginning to get the upper hand began with a gurgling in my stomach, it could not be ignored. I knew the gray clouds looming and anxiety brewing was not God’s intention for me. So, the match began: me verses anxiety.
I was held back by the fear that stemmed from painful childhood experiences and mistreatment. From adult-sized suffering and stuffing. I learned that my “me-ness” was not enough or not okay. Fear taught me to back off in relationships, to not allow myself to show vulnerability, to limit my opinions, and that to please others is the means to love and acceptance.
Today, this new fighter-me is learning that she is enough. She is okay. That people-pleasing is not God’s plan for me (ouch! That sounds so unchristian).
The gift of pain brought an awareness of my need.
The gift of pain showed me that the time had come to stop shrinking back.
Shrinking back is the opposite of confidence.Continue Reading