Confidence has been on my mind recently. Not only because many students this time of year are gearing up for transition to a new school year, whatever that may look like, but because I've been gearing up for a conference this weekend that will stretch and challenge me. I've been preparing the "tasks," but mostly God has been preparing my heart. I thought I'd take some of the days ahead to reflect on the question we often ask ourselves, even though we might not verbalize it: "Got confidence?"
First let's reflect on what attacks our confidence, and then we'll reflect on where REAL confidence comes from. I've been "mulling" over and studying both in recent days, and the Lord has used the people and the places I have been to illustrate His truths. Today, I want to share how Confidence can be STOLEN by FEAR. Can you relate?
God gave our family a great gift early in July. It was really close to perfect in every way, and I often just stopped and took a full 360 view to take it all in and savor the moments of God's abundant kindness to us. But the ocean water is not always an easy place for me. When I was about 5 years old, I was caught with another small friend in a post-storm current at the beach and nearly drowned in the ocean. God used that Outer Banks rescue to show me truths I have never forgotten, but I've also never forgotten the sense of great fear I felt in my whole being.
We were swimming in the warm water and having a great time when I had that old fear take over. Despite the blue water and clear skies and family nearby me, my mind and body remembered the fear of being vulnerable and helpless and afraid. I had to get to the safety of the beach. There was no storm or swift current. I contained my fear; the kids never knew ... But memories of danger stirred up my old fear and stole my freedom and confidence in the water that day.
Paul had ample memories of old fears to stir up as he endured imprisonment, but he gave us answers for moments when we might be robbed of our confidence.
for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
No matter what past dangers or circumstances may've been lodged in Paul's mind, filed away to be whispered in his ear by the Enemy seeking to render him useless, Paul had ammunition. He believed he would be secure because of the prayers of the believers and the help of the Holy Spirit.
It's easy to let past failures or past dangers rob us of our confidence in Christ, but we can tap into the faith of others and the help of the Spirit who lives in us and empowers us. Jeff knows I sometimes have those "freaking out in the water" moments, and he encouraged me back in, reassuring me this was "not then" and that I didn't want to miss the current joy because of the old fears. I'm so glad he spoke that truth and faith to me, and I know the Spirit corrected my thinking and steered me to what was true, instead of just what I felt.
Want confidence but dealing with fears of old? Be confident in the deliverance we're mean to know through the prayers of others and the power of the Spirit!
What robs you most of your confidence? Next time we'll reflect on when we are "Weakened by Comparison."