I've been doing a lot of thinking about confidence since Ben and I started our home business mid-last year. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that I've kept a wide-eyed search and a keenly-attentive ear for how God wants to change my perspective about confidence. You see, I am sure that confidence is directly related to faith: who I believe myself to be, what I believe is possible in and through me; all in light of who I understand Him to be...
When I was a child and then again when I was a young teen, different people on two separate occasions prayed for me and spoke these words that I knew were my Heavenly Father whispering directly to me: "You are special to the Lord. When you give Him your everything, He will give you the desires of your heart." Those words spoke life to me at the time and continued to encourage me afterwards. Through those words I knew I was my Daddy's girl just as I was my earthly father's little girl. I knew He had His eyes and His hands on my life...guiding me and protecting me. I cherished this truth and thrived in the warmth of knowing that my life was on-purpose.
But still, the road of confidence has not been easy. I grew up in a cultural church where I stood apart from the rest because I looked different...and some of my peers made sure I knew it. Then, at 15, after years of not being included, that still small voice said to me, "If they don't want to be your friend it's their loss, not yours." I thought, That's right! That's when I began to stand straighter and walk taller. Surprisingly, the kids that had treated me like a wallflower began to notice me and friendships ensued. Yet, I never stopped being me...I didn't shout louder or act differently to draw attention to myself. I just became more confident in who HE had made ME.
The truth is that by nature I am quiet and introverted; I recharge in quiet and enclosed spaces. But, because of my nurture -- namely, that church experience and growing up a part of a large extended family who all lived abroad -- I learned to love and care about people...to not want others to feel alone. So, I love going to new places and getting to know all sorts of people! It's just that I also love returning to the sanctuary of my home afterwards...and I am usually pretty content with this balance in myself.
Lately, however, after years of experiencing the ups and downs of a career in sales as well as extensive training and encouragement in our new business, we have been challenged to explore that a successful endeavor has a lot to do with discipline, hard work, and approaching what we do with confidence. Well, because confidence and pride can easily be mistaken, what does real and healthy confidence look like in adult-life?
Two weeks ago, my eldest daughter shared from her 15 year-old perspective that we ought to approach God like a child. She used her own childhood as an example: she said she never wondered if she'd have a meal to eat or clothes to wear when she was little; she knew these would be provided. Her words, perhaps because I am her mom, struck a chord in me... This weekend, I read the book, The Magnolia Story, where Chip (a self-proclaimed, super-confident entrepreneur) and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper tell their amazing story of hard work and unexpected success. To summarize, Chip and Joanna plugged ahead in their small business because Chip never doubted they could accomplish the next great idea, and because Joanna took her husband at his word knowing he had an entrepreneurial knack.
Together in all of the above, I am continuing to learn my life-long lesson that because I choose to give the details of my life to Christ, I can expect Him to guide, protect, and provide for me. After all, He has a knack for all-things-me and all-things-life! Then, as I approach my endeavors with discipline, hard work, and this confidence, He will become my Dream-maker because He loves me and because He wants to show Himself strong to me and those I will affect.