I originally wrote this blog post for iBelieve.com, where it was published a few weeks ago. View the post on iBelieve here.
The popular girls snickered as I walked by their table in the cafeteria. I could hear whispers of words like “brace face,” “twig” and “smarty pants,” but I just held on to my tray of lukewarm Papa John’s pizza and chocolate milk and kept moving.
Back in junior high, I was a thin, book nerd and band geek with glasses, braces and what I like to call frizzly hair (both curly and frizzy). I was also on the swim, track and cross-country teams, but people seemed to pay less attention to the fact that I was little and smart.
Junior high is hard for a lot of people, but by the grace of God, the words, thoughts and opinions of others didn’t faze me. I had confidence – not just in myself but in the things I was passionate about. I knew I was loved by my parents, family members and most importantly, Jesus. That was all that mattered.
I don’t know when, where, why or how it happened, but somewhere between my junior high and high school years, that strong, simple confidence began to fade away. The world as I knew it grew bigger. The voices of my peers became louder. And competition felt more intense.
Without a mature enough faith to stand on, I started to doubt what I had always thought about myself. What if what other people say about me is really true? I wondered. What if all I am is a skinny, dorky, not-that-pretty girl? And … what if that’s all I’ll ever be?
True Confidence is Found in Christ
Maybe you can relate to these kinds of doubts and lack of self-assurance. Somewhere along the way, you stopped relying on what Jesus said about you and started looking to what the world said. Somewhere along the way, you stopped seeing yourself as a beloved daughter of the King and started seeing yourself as a woman that’s too opinionated. Too loud. Too fat. Too skinny. Too pale. Too smart. Too different. Too silly. Too _____ (you fill in the blank).
The truth is we aren’t born with confidence. If you really think about it, we pretty much come into this world unsure of anything. Nothing is definite; nothing is guaranteed. Confidence is uncertain. Until we encounter the love of Jesus, that is.
As a child I had encountered the love of Jesus and that perfect love empowered me to be strong and confident. I knew what it meant to be safe in His arms. I knew who I was in Him. But like I said before, somewhere along the way I forgot about that encounter. I forgot about the truths that had set me free. And I tried to find that confidence elsewhere.
Dear sisters, when we try to find our confidence in our appearance, people, places, situations or things, we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment. Because confidence doesn’t come from keeping up with the Joneses or having it all together. Confidence comes from knowing who we are in Christ: a positively lovely daughter of the King.
Want proof? Sprinkled throughout the New Testament are verses about the kind of Godly confidence we’re talking about here. Check out: 1 John 5:14, 2 Chronicles 32:8, Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 4:16, and Philippians 1:6.
Flip a few pages back in the Old Testament and we are told, “Righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:17 (NIV).
Holy confidence is found when we surrender to the perfect love and righteousness of Christ and follow after Him.
A Prayer for Confidence
Dear God, you know my heart and you know that I love you. I’m trying to do my best to follow after you, but sometimes I get tripped up. Sometimes I lose focus. Sometimes I forget who I am in you and start looking to the world to tell me who I am. On the days when my confidence is fading fast, build me up again. Remind me of the simple truth that confidence can only be found in chasing after you. I can walk around confident knowing I am loved. I can walk around confident knowing I am enough. I can live knowing I have been rescued, free and called to do great things. Help me remember these things, wonderful Father. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.