Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Where To Find Confidence

I'm part of an on line study of this book by Lisa Whittle hosted by Lelia. If you want to join the fun, click the graphic to get to Lelia's site.

Confidence. I'm not sure if I have it or not. Sometimes, I do a pretty good job of putting it on like a new pair of shoes or a nice top. While those things can help me feel more confident, they are not likely to change my actual level of confidence. Lisa is right -- confidence is more than an attitude. I'd say that it is a place of the heart.

I started out saying that I wasn't sure if I had confidence or not. Give me a crying child and I'm usually pretty good at making them smile. Give me a project to work on. I'll go at it with my whole heart. In grad school I opted to do the completely optional master's level thesis.This involved lots of research, sending out surveys to 1,000 counselors across the nation, putting in the data, analyzing it and then presenting it to my thesis committee.

Going before the committee should not have been such a big deal to me. You see, my chair had suggested I put in proposal to present my finding at the national American Counseling Association conference. We had handouts for 30. When 175 people poured into that room, I was quaking. But I put on my best face and walked to podium and started rattling off the data and showing the carefully made slides. And then there was 20 minutes for questions. I surprised myself by answering confidently. My professor was pleased and the program was a success.
After working on it for a year and half, I was still nervous presenting it to my committee.

So, why was I so nervous about 3 committee members? I think it was that after 4 years of grad school (part-time) they knew me. They knew I had good days and bad days. They knew I was always prepared for class and did good presentations, but interpersonally, sometimes my confidence slipped.

I find it so much easier to "put on my game face" for those I don't know rather than those I do. Still, I made it and passed their questions without missing a beat. But I was a wreck before hand and right after!

Lisa writes about finding confidence in God. I think she is correct there. That is where we are to find it. Lisa didn't use this story, but it came to mind as I was reading. David was a man with confidence. Even as a child, he faced a Goliath with a handful of stones because he was so angry that the Philistines were insulting his God. He was a shepherd boy, overlooked by his family. Yet, even then he relied on God.

Saul was the king of Israel at the time. At one point, God tells Saul that He is going to give Saul's kingdom to David. It turns into a man hunt. One night David and his little band of men are hiding in a cave and an unknowing Saul comes into sleep. David had the opportunity to kill the man who was hunting him. But rather than do that, David simply cuts off a piece of Saul's robe and the next day shouts to Saul about having the corner of his robe. More simply put, David was saying, "Saul, I had an opportunity to kill you but I chose not to. Your death will be up to God, not me."

That is confidence because he chose to leave it all up to God instead of making something happen quickly. David expresses this confidence in God beautifully in Pslam 23:4-5 (NIV):

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies . . . .

David recognizes two things here. First, God does not promise a life without hardship. Second, God is the provider and protector. Because David could lean into that, he could let Saul go in the cave that night.

I'm not very good at resting in those things. I often get caught up in making things happen, in doing them my way. I am far from patient. This chapter challenged me to leave behind the facade of confidence for the confidence of resting in God.



Jill said...

Amy, Thanks for sharing and yes it is easier to be confident with those we don't know, but really who needs our real self the most? The question just as much for me as you!! Really it all comes down to resting in Him - what a great statement!!

Cindy said...

Yes, resting in the confidence of God. Love it!

Lisa said...

Great illustration with David. Thank you for adding those insightful thoughts.

May God help us realize that our strength is in being vulnerable with Him!

Lisa :)

HIS Daughter said...

Amy thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts with us.

Our confidence is HIM alone if we have any at all.

Thank you for my book! It came and I can't wait to read it! Thank you for the precious note as well.

GOD bless you mightily,

Connie said...

I enjoyed your post and how you saw this chapter. I like what you said at the end...resting in the confidence of God. Me too! Connie

LynnSC said...

Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us.

Great example with David. I am so thankful that God has given us so many "real" people in His Word. Real in the good... and real in the ugly.

I am learning right along with you.

ThreeGirlyGirls said...

Oh sweet amy, thanks for sharing your heart!! Resting in confidence.....good thoughts!!

Carol said...

Amy, I enjoyed your insights into this chapter. It's amazing how it speaks to each of us indvidually. Resting in God and waiting on Him what a great illustration of confidence.


Anonymous said...

Nice perspective. I have a lesson to teach to 1st-6th graders on this very text on Sunday. Thanks for the insight!

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

You are a teacher. What a great illustration of David and the peace he embraced and the confidence he held-not of his own but that of God. I love what you said "leave behind the facade of confidence for the confidence of resting in God"-I feel this in my heart and mind. Love it!

In His Graces~Pamela