Confidence is often an elusive concept for us, maybe even completely misunderstood. As Christians we have traded something offered to us by God for a false humility.
How many times have you refused a compliment? Have you ever felt guilty for thinking that you are good at something? Is there a dream that you are not pursuing, even though you are gifted and skilled for that dream, because you feel it’s prideful or presumptuous to say, “I can do that” ?
My pastor and husband inspired me and encouraged me as he explained the difference between godly confidence and fleshly arrogance. Even though I have said “yes” to pursuing a calling, I have still carried in my soul a weird sense of guilt that won’t allow me to be bold in my pursuit, to name my gifts as part of my identity in him.
I can tell you fifty things that I am not good at, that are outside my giftings and wiring, in less than a minute . But don’t ask me to tell you what I excel in, what I am gifted at, where my strengths are. If asked, I will step into that false humility and struggle to answer.
What a brilliant strategy for our enemy to talk us out of our confidence in who we are. If he can convince us that walking in our giftings with confidence is prideful, then he wins. Do you know who loses? You lose the joy that is yours when you are living in agreement with God as your creator, recognizing the beauty he has woven into you. Everyone around you loses because you have hidden your gift by downplaying it, excusing it, and not fully using it.
If we see something beautiful in creation, we don’t hesitate to draw attention to it or give praise to God for what he has done. A sunset, a fall landscape, or a simple flower blooming by the walkway. We photograph them and we tell the world how amazing God is by the wonders we witness on this earth.
Yet, we are his prized creation, his beloved, and we cannot say with confidence, “look what God is doing in me!” When asked about his beauty growing in us in the shape of leadership, music, hospitality, writing, speaking, parenting, teaching, business, we deny his glory.
Godly confidence is agreeing with what He has done is us, what he has knitted into the fibers of who we are. Denying those gifts for fear of being prideful is not godly, but false humility. A lie.
Pride is using God’s gifts for our own glory, for our own benefit. Should we check our motives? Yes. Should we give all glory to God for what he is doing? Yes. Is it wrong to say, “I am a good leader”? No. Is it wrong to say that the sunrise this morning was breathtaking?
I think about my son, Luke who favors his handsome Dad. He is frequently told, “you look just like your dad!” He usually grins ear to ear and says, “I know. Thank you.” My son has his dad in him and it shows.
You and I are made in our Father’s image. Why is it so hard to smile and say, “thank you” when someone sees him in us and says, “you are so kind” or “you are a great teacher” or “you are a great leader”? Luke was created with his dad’s image in him, it’s just who he is, so he simply says, “thank you.” God has created you with some of his gifts and abilities. You didn’t earn them and cannot take credit for them, but you can bring glory to him by acknowledging who he has created you to be.
You can honor him by developing those gifts with enthusiasm and joy. “Thank you Father for giving me the gift of hospitality. I want to read everything available, pin every pin on Pinterest to help this gift grow for your kingdom. I love hospitality, Lord. It’s so stinkin’ fun!” (That’s not my gift, by the way!)
Hide your gift? Deny your gift? Make excuses for your gift? Play down your gift? How can that lift up the name of Christ? That gift is his image showing up in your soul, shining through your life. That is where our confidence is found.
- You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
- You are created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27
- You are God’s handiwork, created with a specific purpose planned before you were born. Ephesians 2:10
- In him we can approach him with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
- When you delight yourself, the gifts and dreams planted in you by God, in Him, he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4