*Picture taken by Emily Elizabeth Photography.*
Where does my confidence lie?
I’ve had to ask myself this question a lot over the past several months. It’s easy for me to forget that my confidence does not lie in how well I perform at my job and what people think of me. I am a people pleaser to the core. When I receive negative feedback or criticism, it’s hard for me to not take it personally. I so desperately want people to like me and approve of who I am and the things that I do.
Growing up, I had some serious self-confidence issues. I felt that everything about me needed to be perfect but usually felt anything but. Back then, I felt that my personality was never outgoing enough, my clothes were never cute enough, and my talents were never good enough. Since my identity and confidence were completely tied to these things, I was never able to break free from this lack of self-confidence. That is, until I realized where my confidence should actually come from. More on that in a little bit.
I think social media also played a huge role in my ability or inability to be confident in who I was. Scrolling through various social media sites, it’s hard to take a step back and realize that most of what is portrayed on the Internet is just a very controlled version of reality. Most people do not live these lavish and seemingly perfect lives but, this is easily forgotten when you start down the road of comparison. Social media can also be a confidence giver, although not in a lasting way. I have realized that my motivation behind posting something on social media should not be because I want to feel affirmed or liked by people. It should be because it’s genuinely something that is important and that I want other people to know about. When I first started writing this blog, I told myself that the moment my motivation went from giving God the glory to using it to give myself glory, I needed to be done. This hasn’t always been easy for a people-pleasing person like me but I’m thankful that God continues to remind me that this whole life things is not about me. It’s about how he is able to redeem and restore a person overwhelmed by sin.
Sometimes, I’m the same way with God. I want him to love me so much that I try to do the right things in hopes of gaining approval. But what I’ve realized is that a life of always seeking the approval of others is draining. It’s exhausting and far from life giving. There is no peace in trying to find confidence in earthly things. So then, where do you go from here? The answer is Jesus, more and more of Jesus. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, I can be confident in who he has created me to be. The gifts and talents he has given me are no mistake.
When we place out confidence in Christ, amazing things happen. For one, the desire to please others decreases significantly. As we move closer and closer to God, the desires of our hearts align with God. He gives us confidence that he will be faithful in our lives, no matter how long you have waited or how hard a situation is. We can rest in the truth that he loves us today, tomorrow and forever, no matter what. Even in our sin and brokenness, God is good. When we mess up or disobey what he asks of us, all we need to do is confess, surrender, and move forward. He provided ultimate forgiveness when he died on the cross. A life of surrender is far greater than any momentary, worldly thing.
I love that I get to serve a God who not only created me, but who also knows and deeply loves me. I hope that I never forget that he is faithful to provide, even when it’s been years and there’s no answer to a specific prayer. Even when we walk through hurt, God is near. That’s how my confidence has shifted from being placed in how others view me to who God is. While people may affirm me one moment, I have found it never lasts and honestly, it gets exhausting. I hate the ups and downs that come with placing my confidence in the world. However, once my eyes started to shift from fleeting moments to eternity, everything changed. It’s not always easy to remain confident in who I am in Christ, and I constantly have to check myself but God is gracious in providing comfort, healing, and peace.
P.S. There’s this song that recently came out called “Confident” by Steffany Gretzinger which inspired me to take a deeper look at where my confidence lies. I’ve been listening to it non-stop for the past week so I thought I’d share it. I love how music can be so impactful and that’s how I feel about this song.