“For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.” — Pro. 3:26
“He guards the steps of His faithful one… for a man does not prevail by his own strength.” — 1 Sam. 2:9
“You do not need self-confidence; you need God-confidence.”
When I first moved to Nashville in 2011, it seemed that everyone everywhere I went told me I was the most quiet and most shy person they had ever met. It’s no big secret that I am 100% introvert (I recharge by spending time alone) and I used to be very shy. But all of these comments from new people in my new city were far from helpful. In fact, they were pretty hurtful. I identified with them, so I took them on as identity. “That’s how people see me, that must be who I am,” I reasoned. It did nothing but shut me up and make me all the more quiet and shy.
This experience is such a clear example of how the enemy works against us: he’s neither creative nor a truth-teller, so he manufactures believable lies from truths we identify with. God is Creator (Gen. 1) and God is Truth (John 14:6). Satan is neither of those things; he is a counterfeiter and liar.
Let me be clear, I don’t blame people for those comments to me and about me. They were probably completely true for the people saying them — it’s entirely possibly that I was the most quiet and shy person they had ever met. The comments were often said matter-of-factly or even in jest. No harm was intended. Was I overly sensitive? Yes, probably. And it goes without saying that I wish I would have known then what I know now: to vet peoples’ comments against the Truth, and discern through Holy Spirit whether those seemingly-benign comments from people were actually a tactic of the enemy to rob me of my value and voice.
This experience has had me hyper aware of the power of our words. The power of life and death are in the tongue (Pro. 18:21). All words have weight. All comments towards and about people, however insignificant they may seem to you as the speaker, carry meaning to the hearer/receiver. That begs the question: are you building up or tearing down? With any words that come out of your mouth, are you speaking life or speaking death? If you’re commenting on who someone is or what they are like, chances are they’ve heard it a thousand times and you may only be “piling on.” Sure, there is a time and place for calling things out in people in order to help them grow, but that only comes with God-given discernment (i.e., is not a heedless comment). Do I do this perfectly all the time? Of course not! But we would all be better off if we did a little thinking before speaking.
God has given me a lot of perspective on these events and the topic confidence in general over the years while simultaneously teaching me about my identity in him. After a friend randomly brought up the subject of confidence while talking to me about how God is growing me currently, I discovered Proverbs 3:26 while looking for verses about confidence. “The Lord will be your confidence.” Moments later, I opened up a random document on my laptop and found these thoughts I typed out almost a year ago:
“You do not need self-confidence; you need God-confidence. Self-confidence will always fail you because self-sufficiency is ineffective… A deep understanding of your identity in Christ, knowing that you are unconditionally loved and accepted, doesn’t leave room self-doubt.”
There’s a lot to be said for self-sufficiency in purely practical things. However, regarding sufficiency in terms of “enoughness,” we will never measure up. But the good news (literally, the Good News!) is we have Jesus, and he will never let us down. Don’t doubt yourself, be confident in God. Don’t allow what others say about you to cause you to question your God-given identity. Be confident in God.