“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
A couple of weeks ago, Renee Swope offered an online study of her book A Confident Heart. I was definitely feeling drawn to it. So I decided there must be something in this book for me. I’ll go ahead and sign up.
I started reading the book and following the study online. Excellent! Frankly, I was feeling I could’ve written the book myself. Not in Renee’s voice or in her engaging style, uniquely hers, but I certainly could relate. And, like Renee, I had struggled with confidence, terribly at times. I had war stories I could share.
I was reading A Confident Heart from a “Thank God that’s over” perspective. And I figured this would be a great journey of “recalling the wonders He has done.” Kind of fun, a retrospective, because God has done some healing work in me regarding confidence. I’m feeling pretty good, thank you very much.
Then whoosh…all of the sudden, my confidence seemed to disappear. I felt like a balloon with all the air sucked out, completely deflated. I wasn’t sure why.
I started having one condemning, negative thought after the next.
“What the heck am I doing? Who am I kidding? I have accomplished so little in my life…”
“Am I really a writer? How many bylines do I have?”
“Well, I’m almost at the end of the active mothering years. And in lots of ways, I’ve failed miserably.”
“Everything I’ve done in my life…Does it add up to anything? Does anything I’ve done matter at all?”
I had to think about what brought me to the brink of such self-loathing, doubt, disappointment; such a sense of worthlessness. To be so easily knocked off my pedestal of feeling pretty good, intentional, living a life of purpose, caught me by surprise.
As I thought about it, I realized two things precipitated my downward spiral, my loss of confidence.
1. I have been working on a special writing project that’s made me feel like a real writer, given me a sense of deep purpose. It’s a clear-cut assignment that has a beginning and an end, has taught me so much…and it’s been put on hold with no book to prove that the assignment ever even existed.
2. My youngest has one more year at home until she’s off to college, the next oldest is graduating from college, another has moved away from home and may be heading across the country, and my oldest has been out of the house for almost 15 years! My many years of meaningful mothering, the role I looked forward to for as long as I can remember, is drawing to a close. This is kind of unbelievable. How did this happen? Who will I be? What will I do? Can I get a do-over?
I’m wrestling with these two shifts. And I’m realizing, I have put all my confidence in the changeable and uncertain, the fleeting and flimsy. My self-worth, my confidence lies in the shaky ground of my accomplishments and how I feel about them.
God knew I’d have this little identity crisis. He nudged me to read A Confident Heart when I needed it most. To remind me “On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand…”
What I do, even who I am can change in an instant, but Whose I am will never change. That’s the Truth I can place my confidence in.
How about you? Do you ever struggle with confidence? Where do you get your confidence from? Is it based on how you see yourself? How others see you? Do you measure your value by what you’ve accomplished?