Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Confidence. This was one of the words God stuck on my heart last year (2018). "Confidence" and "supplication." Confidence in who I am and confidence in God's promises of Who He is and what He will do. That's where supplication comes into play; if I am confident in Him and His limitless resources and I am confident that I am a cherished daughter of His, then I can come before Him with bold requests. Which leads to 2019's words, "boldness" and "thoughtfulness." It wasn't until I started writing this blog that I realized with each new set of words, He has built upon the previous year's pair. The very first year's (2017) were "assertiveness" and "reconciliation."
However, my journey with confidence goes back way before 2018. It has been something God has led me along with baby steps my entire life. For those of you who know me, it may be hard to believe that I used to be painfully shy. I would get embarrassed to a paralyzing point over nothing at all. Literally nothing at all. It didn't help that I stood out as the tallest in the class. Not just the tallest girl, the tallest. It helped once boys began to hit their growth spurts, evening the playing field a bit. Then came soccer. Stepping out to try out for the team my freshman year of high school combatted this timidness without me realizing it at the time. It wasn't until my family moved the next summer that I realized God showed me how to make new friends in a new setting through this sport and that was something I could carry to the next school. He sets us up for success. Weight has been another obstacle of confidence; it has been all my life. Getting involved in sports, workout classes, and trainers have helped developed a healthy love of physical activity and nutrition. However, there are times when that inferior feeling creeps in and whispers "you are nothing."
This voice used to keep me isolated. I remember reading an article from Cosmopolitan magazine my sophomore year of college, "8 Ways to be More Confident." The first of the steps was to walk tall. So that is exactly what I did. Back straight, shoulders back, I took my eyes from the floor up to a focal point on the wall. Turns out when you look up, you happen to meet the eyes of others and a smile replaces that worry-bitten lip. I started meeting new people. Other girls commented that they wished they could be that confident. I encouraged them to walk tall and make eye contact. God knew what He was doing. About eight years later, I was still giving this advice. At our women's Community Group that meets at my home each week, a new girl walked through the door. Her eyes stayed fixated on the ground, but she was incredibly sweet. She shared with us that she struggled to meet others' eyes and often came across cold and unapproachable. Something we as a group do is set weekly, measurable goals to achieve baby steps towards big picture goals. Weight loss, marathon training, career obstacles, school, healthy dating, and the list goes on. That week her goal was to look a set number of people in the eyes and smile. Though I do not remember the number exactly, it was enough to keep her going until we met the following week. She came back to report that she had accomplished her goal. We could tell because she came back looking us in the eye and smiling. Amazing how God transforms us. But wait, there's more! Probably the best success story I have ever seen for myself and one we all laugh about to this day. After another week or two of confidence-building challenges, the same girl shared with the group that she has a hard time keeping a conversation with men. So as a group we challenged her and helped her to come up with three questions she could use next time she was in a conversation, floundering for what to say. Simple questions, such as "Are you from here?," "Where do you go to church around here?," "What do you do for fun?." All questions that are easy to remember, yet open the conversation up to endless possibilities. I kid you not, after one week of this challenge, our girl had a date! Now, she and the same guy are engaged to be married this fall. Tell me God doesn't love on us lavishly... and what a sense of humor!
Walking tall led to meeting new people. New people led to building unimaginable relationships. Relationships have led to more adventure in my career, passions, and travel than should be possible. These adventures show me every time how great is our God. When I lack confidence in myself or the promises of God, I can point back to His transformation in my life and how He has delivered in baby steps, careful not to overwhelm me. He's thoughtful. How He has called me to step up to impossible tasks just to watch how He comes through. He's bold. How He has called me back to Him after years of living in my own, destructive ways and has mended the most broken relationships. He is a God of reconciliation. How He has called me to a new standard and backed it with the boldness to demand what I deserve in a loving way. He has made me assertive. He has brought me to my knees so I know what it is to come to Him in humility, asking for the deepest desires of my heart that now reflects His wants for my life. He teaches supplication. Even when all seems impossible and I am ready to give up, He brings the songs to my lips that proclaim "He made a way, where there was no way and I believe, I'll see Him do it again." He instills confidence.
"I count on one thing The same God that never fails Will not fail me now You won't fail me now In the waiting The same God who's never late Is working all things out You're working all things out" (Vertical Worship)