I have known Jessica most of my life – from Pioneer Clubs at Pequea Brethren in Christ to Youth Group, School and our Marching Band days, we’ve spent a lot of time together. I haven’t seen Jess since that time, though, and when we became friends on Facebook I was so surprised by her confidence in her posts. I remembered Jessica as shy to the extreme, something she does not deny. When I asked if she would consider writing about this change on my blog, she agreed but said it would take time. What she gave me was unexpected. She has a poetic unapologetic view of her faith in Jesus and she attributes this to her confidence transformation. In spite of my own struggles with faith and belief in higher powers, I admire her passion and zeal for the pursuit of her own. Take some time to reflect on her journey today.
Jessica G. is a Pediatric Home Health Nurse in Lancaster, PA and loves making music,
designing light shows, animals, cheese and riding roller coasters.
When Brenda asked me to write a post on confidence I was wondering why she thought I was confident. I am the last person I would call confident. I mean as long as I’ve known myself I’ve always been this quiet girl that kept to herself. I never spoke a word unless I thought it was worth listening to. I was embarrassed (literally, bright red in the face) of any sound that came from me and I’d have been happy to go mostly unnoticed. Confident? NO WAY! I had it bad!
Looking back on my growing up years I’ve realized one of the biggest reasons I was that way was because I was afraid of what everyone thought of me. And I mean EVERYONE! I thought I wasn’t good enough (and I am not) so I was embarrassed. I lacked confidence so I sought my worth in the approval of others since I wasn’t finding it in myself. I didn’t know how crippling that fear was back then or how it would steal my joy. Thankfully, I am not that scared little girl anymore.
There are so many things that we try to put our confidence in. Where do you put your confidence? In your job? In your family? Your hobbies? Credentials? Money? Abilities? Education? Other people’s approval? Something else? How about in yourself? Why is your confidence in these? Some of these can be good things, but is it possible that these could let you down? Is there even one that will NEVER let you down?
I think confidence is very closely related to worth and trust. You can’t trust what you’re not confident in and you can’t put confidence in what you don’t trust. Or in what isn’t worthy to be trusted.
So, where should we put our confidence? I wish I had figured out ‘The Answer’ to this long before I actually did. It would have spared me much misery and given me so much more joy in everyday life! It’s sort of like stopping to smell the roses by hanging your head out the car window as you’re whizzing on by without getting the thorns caught in your nose …or being able to laugh if you do have to deal with a fresh nosebleed. There is joy in the journey even when the journey is tough. So it is with the journey to confidence.
Since my lack of confidence was due to a fear of others’ disapproval, I will focus on that with hopes it will somehow help you. The story is plain and simple. My best friend knew how to overcome this, and so I followed in suit. Here is my best friend’s story:
My best friend is nothing short of Awesome and Amazing. With capital A’s! But there were many people who were jealous of my friend. In fact their jealousy was so great that they hated him and conspired against him. He was arrested for something he didn’t do, and betrayed by one he called a friend. The night before his trial, knowing punishment would be a slow, painful death and that he wasn’t going to win the trial, he knew his only hope was God Himself. So he prayed. Hard. His words were to the affect of “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” By ‘cup’ he meant the injustice that was about to come to him, but he chose to trust that God knew what He was doing. And God rewarded my friend’s faithfulness by sending an angel to make him stronger so he could endure the tough journey to his Ultimate Joy. My friend prayed so hard that it looked like he was sweating blood! After being up all night, he was tried by people who hated him and found guilty. He was beaten with fists, weapons and nature. He was mocked, spat on, stripped naked and hung where everyone could see him. After a few weather surprises, he was dead after six hours. They were surprised he passed so quickly so they made sure he was dead. You may think that God did not save him like he had prayed for the night earlier, making confidence in God a laughable matter, and for a few days that was how it felt on the earth… but then his body went missing from his grave and he was seen by many people alive and well (and human, I might add, not a ghost)! God had raised him from the dead! If you haven’t already figured who my best friend is, well, it’s Jesus. He had such confidence in God, that he trusted Him to death. Literally. And God rewarded him, but let’s breakdown this story a little bit.
Jesus was willing to leave Heaven (wrap your brain around that one…who wants to LEAVE HEAVEN??) knowing that we, who He loves to death, would hate Him so much that we would put Him to death stretched out and naked for all to see. He’s crazy, you say? I agree! He’s crazy in love with us! Only by love would someone do such a thing! Reread this paragraph if you need to, but really let that sink in.
THEN He goes on to conquer Death (Satan that is, the devil himself) and defy the graves of His children so He could GIVE us even MORE than His own life: eternal life in Heaven reigning with Him as adopted children of God, the heirs of righteousness not because of any great thing we have done, but because of what great thing Jesus did FOR us. For us. He is FOR us. On our side. He was given to us and He is fighting for us. By our side.
SO Jesus is worthy. And His dying for us made us worthy of His life. I am not good enough (I told you I wasn’t) to be worthy of Him, so He did something to make me worthy. Now that’s the One I’m gonna put my confidence in. Jesus is the answer.
Applying this revelation was not easy because the devil lives to kill me. I asked Jesus for help (He is FOR me) because I didn’t know how else to do it. And He is faithful. I found that when I thought about God smiling at me, I didn’t care too much about what anyone else thought. If God is smiling, I must be pleasing Him (or have HIS approval) and He is delighting in me. I have found great comfort and rest in His smiling at me!
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18) When I confided my trust in Jesus, He freed me from those fears, which allowed me to be who I was born to be (God’s daughter) and pursue what I was created to do.
True joy is here, but these things can’t be had without some walkin’ and talkin’ with Jesus. He is the joy-giver. The devil is the joy-stealer with his lies that instill fear into the hearts of people who would otherwise do great things.
The catch 22 is this: Satan embeds these fears into us because he fears us! That’s right: The devil fears US! Since Jesus has defeated him, Jesus can also use believers to destroy the devil’s reign in other people’s lives. Satan has every reason to fear us! But we are more than conquerors! Satan knows we are slow to step out of our comfort zone and into our fear zone so by putting fear in us, he tries to keep us from doing great things. It’s his sneaky little strategy. God uses these fears to make us stronger because when we conquer them we are stronger! And more ready to step into our fear zone again.
So, fear is a lie and perfect love cast out fear. Jesus is love. I will not be afraid because God is with me and for me. And if my God is with me, why should I fear anyone or anything? When I beat this truth into my brain, I can be confident not in myself, but in the one Who thought me up and then invented me, as He makes me into person I was created to be. I strive to be that person by having little talks with Him. He made me. He knows how to fix me. I don’t. No one knows me better than He does. So I place my confidence in Jesus.
So let’s recap: Where should I put my confidence?
Who will never let me down or hurt me? Who will always take my best interests to heart? Who even loves me that much? Who I can confidently trust at ALL times? I can’t even live up to the expectations I hold for my own self at ALL times! ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.’ (Proverbs 3:5) Jesus really is The Answer. He is.
He is my Rock, my Comforter, my Protector, my Lover, my Savior, my God, my Teacher, my Song, my Healer, my Counselor, my Everything, my All, my Joy-Giver, my Jesus. I am His Joy, His Treasure, His Beloved. And so are you. Yes, YOU! He loves you to death! Will you confide your confidence in Jesus?
“I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One Who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side”
~Chris Tomlin, Whom Shall I Fear