Do You Live in Confidence or Just Visit? 4 Ways to Build Confidence in Yourself and Those You Love
I drove through Confidence on my way to speak at a conference last week. The bright green northern California road sign read “Confidence: Population 50”.
Only 50 folks reside in Confidence, though thousands drive through. The irony of how few people live in Confidence didn’t escape my notice. Just like in life, lots of people visit confidence but few people actually live there.
Confidence shouldn’t be a place I visit; Confidence should be the place I live.
Because whether a person lives in confidence, or doesn’t, makes a difference.
I’ve see women enter into relationships they had no business being in because they didn’t live in confidence. I’ve seen teenagers get sucked into the lure of the crowd because they didn’t live in confidence. I’ve seen moms cave into the whims of their child because they didn’t live in confidence. I’ve seen smart, capable women fail to use their talents because they didn’t live in confidence.
Living in confidence affects virtually everything about life: relationships, parenting, job success, personal security, happiness, willingness to face challenges, eagerness to attempt new adventures.
So how do we live in confidence rather than occasionally travelling through?
For starters, we don’t have to uproot ourselves and move to northern California. We do, however, have to uproot some faulty notions. Like the fact that some people are born with confidence (they aren’t) or confidence can’t be gained once we’re adults (it can).
Confidence is acquired. It’s built over time. A part of confidence is given. A part of confidence is earned.
The given part happens when others encourage us or help us. The earned part happens when we do something long enough or well enough that we feel a sense of mastery.
In truth, most of us—even those others deem confident—are insecure in some arena. We’re fragile things, really. We’re only one negative comment or one failure away from self-doubt. I’ve been pondering the issue of living in confidence since I drove through the tiny town a little more than a week ago, and I’m struck by the fact that the pages of the Bible are filled with insecure people who somehow found a way to put down roots in a place called confidence.
Here are a few of their thoughts recorded for us to read:
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. – David (Psalm 71:5)
Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God – John (1 John 3:21)
Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. – David (Psalm 27:3)
I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. – Paul (Philippians 4:13)
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. – the writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:35)
These people didn’t have something the rest of us can’t have. They acquired their confidence through their trust in God.
So how do I acquire confidence? And how do I impart confidence—real confidence—to my child or teen?
- Live in the truth
The world will tell you all kinds of faulty notions. The voices in our own heads will, too. Confidence comes from knowing what’s true: Because of Christ, I am chosen. I am loved. I am gifted. I am secure. These truths provide the foundation for a life lived in confidence. When we listen to faulty feelings which tell us “I can’t” or “God won’t” we literally take our confidence and throw it in the trash (see Hebrews 10:35 above). I must stop living by what I feel and start living by what is true. Speak the truth to yourself. Speak the truth to your kids. Live in the truth of who you are and who God is and refuse to throw away your confidence.
2. Surround yourself with confident people
Confident people feel the freedom to encourage others, insecure people don’t. You need encouraging people in your life. Find them. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by confident people; allow yourself to be inspired by confident people. For confidence to be acquired it must first be inspired. Practice encouraging others, too. Start with your husband, your kids and your co-workers. Every confident person I know--every single one–had someone who breathed encouragement into their lives.
3. Don’t quit.
Seriously. Don’t. Confidence comes from overcoming obstacles, mastering skills and doing what you never thought you could. Remember Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13: “I CAN”. Stop with the “I can’ts”. Through Christ, you can. And while we’re on the subject, a little hard work and struggle is good for your kid’s confidence, too. Just give lots of praise for the effort and resist the temptation to make life a little too easy. Do some things need to be abandoned at some point? Sure. But don’t quit too soon or you may never see the reward.
4. Get Prepared
Ever had the dream where it’s finals week and you haven’t been to class all semester? You woke up in a panic, didn’t you? There’s really no substitute for good old fashioned preparation to build confidence. Preparation doesn’t end upon graduation. Life is filled with all kinds of things we can prepare for: marriage, parenting, walking with God, career changes, empty nest, new seasons of life. A big part of preparation is getting the help we need in order to succeed. Personally, this one is the hardest for me. But asking for help when we haven’t quite mastered an area of our life–be it personal or professional–is essential to living in confidence.
Every one of us can live in confidence. It’s our birthright as believers. You don’t have to visit confidence on occasion. You can live there.
More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.