Lately I have been spending way too much time reading articles I see on Facebook. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact I haven’t been able to fall asleep at night- but that’s a topic for another day.
In the countless articles I have come across, I have found a common theme: confidence; what it takes to be confident and how you achieve it. Now, not all of the articles have that specific title or have it as the main focus but confidence is a word that sneaks in there. Another theme I noticed is that after I read these articles, that are “supposed” to make me feel better, in fact do the exact opposite. I sit there feeling extremely empty. Instead of giving me a confidence boost, it gives me a feeling of not being good enough and I say to myself, “Wow, Kristen, what are you doing with your life? Why haven’t you tried these things before? What is wrong with you? You need to go to Sephora first thing in the morning! And then hit the gym for two hours and then figure out your career for the rest of your life because that will give you confidence! And then you need to have the perfect husband because nothing says confidence like a powerhouse couple. And then you and your perfect husband need to have perfect beautiful children with a perfect beautiful home and….” you get the idea. We have all been there.
There was one particular article that really struck me. The article came from Elle Magazine. Now, before you say anything about my reading material, it was one of those late nights that I couldn’t sleep and wanted some mindless reading. Before I go any further, let me just say that God is teaching me what is truly means to guard your heart because everything flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). What we fill our hearts with is not something to mess around with- stay tuned, I will blog about this later in the week.
I am currently filled with espresso shots that I want to write down EVERYTHING but I promise to stay focused. So, let’s get back on track. The article’s focus was on what we can learn about confidence from “15 powerful women.” The woman who was writing the article spoke on how she lost her confidence at work and didn’t quite know how to get it back. So, she turned to the internet for advice as well as a “few female power players,” such as her favorite celebrities. Here is what some of these women had to say:
“When I’m not feeling my best I ask myself, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me.” – Beyonce Knowles
“I remember looking in the mirror as a kid and it would be like for an hour at a time, and I’d be like: ‘I’m just so beautiful. Everybody is so lucky that they get to look at me.’ And of course that changes as you get older, but I may have held on to that little-kid feeling that was me alone in my bathroom.” – Lena Dunham
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey
I don’t know about you, but after reading these statements I started to have some major chatter in my mind. Chatter that was telling me that I needed to take the negativity from those around me so that I can look at them one day and say, “Yeah, look at me now! I showed you!” Chatter that was telling me that I needed to look beautiful at every moment in the day, whatever that even meant, so that heads would turn everywhere I would go. Chatter that was telling me “I am a queen! I am a boss! I am THE best.”
In the midst of this chatter, I heard a voice that was overpowering everything else in my mind. And this is what I heard: “Kristen, put your phone down. Grab the only thing you need to have ALL of the confidence in the world. Because you, my darling, belong to me. And in Me, you have all that you will ever need.” So, I grabbed my Bible. I turned my phone off and I opened my heart to My King, Jesus Christ. The One who calls me His darling! (Song of Songs 2:2). And this is what I read… “Such confidence we have through Christ before God” (2 Corinthians 3:4). I encourage you to read that chapter.
Now, let me just say that I am not putting down Beyonce, Lena or Oprah for their statements on how they gain confidence when it’s lacking. And by no means am I judging the woman who wrote the article. Instead, I want to welcome them and you to a life of freedom. A life that doesn’t require internet searches when we have a hard time finding our confidence. A life that doesn’t need approval of man. A life that doesn’t require beautiful to mean putting on makeup, finding the best outfit, hitting the gym for countless hours just to feel “confident” in the mirror. In fact, I am welcoming you to a life that if there were no longer mirrors in this world, you would feel like the most beautiful person in the world, because you are. And you are beautiful not because of anything you did, but because of what Jesus did for you.
I am no expert here. I am a broken and messy 24 year old who is just trying to make famous the Man who came to save sinners and give Him all of the glory. I know from experience that finding confidence in earthly things is exhausting. Once I made the decision to lay my life down for Jesus, I truly surrendered all of the self doubt and need to be perfect and in return, I gained a life of true contentment. A life of freedom. Freedom to be His beloved. His bride. Cherished and confident in Him.
Now, do I like to dress up and put on makeup? Heck yes I do. In fact, I love it. I love beauty blogs and I love working out. But the difference is, I am no longer a slave to it. I no longer feel that I need to look “put together” every time I step out the door. I am finding that the more closely I walk with Jesus, my confidence is the same regardless if I am a sweaty mess after a work out or if I am all dolled up for date night with my boyfriend.
All of that being said, I still experience chatter. Chatter that tells me I will only feel confident once the scale hits a certain number. Chatter that tells me I will only feel confident if I get that affirmation from my boyfriend and if he doesn’t give it to me, I must not look pretty enough today. Chatter that says I will only feel confident if I buy those $200 jeans with that new handbag everyone is talking about. Yes, I have this chatter and I have it daily. The only difference is that once I surrendered my life to Christ, I have Him there to remind me that all of those things you read above, are a lie. A book that I highly recommend, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others, written by Steve Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church, is a great resource for learning how to apply the truth of how God feels about us to our lives. It’s a resource I have used that has helped me realize that the more I apply God’s truth to my life, the more I rest in full confidence in who I am because I am His.
I think Pastor Steve says it’s perfectly:
“When you realize that God is the only One who really has any lasting reward to give, He becomes the only One whose approval you desperately need. You can rest in the fact that you have it—in full measure—because the work of God’s perfect Son, Jesus, secured your acceptance the moment you placed your faith in Him. Before you ever win or lose, God has turned His face toward you. He has chosen you. And He is pleased.”
If I could sum up everything I just wrote in one sentence it would be this: Once I stopped determining my worth and value by what other people thought or said and instead was determined by what Scripture says about me, I gained full confidence.
Below you will find some Scripture that I turn to daily when I feel I am lacking confidence. I hope it blesses you as it does for me.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
“Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 3:16
“For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” – Proverbs 3:26
With Grace and Love,