On a regular old weeknight not too long ago, my family and I discovered a new-to-us music channel. ‘Party Favorites’ is the perfect blend of older and newer songs that make you want to get off of the couch and shake your groove thang.
Somewhere between ‘YMCA’ and ‘Getting Jiggy With It’ my daughter and I realized that we were the only two left in the family room dancing our hearts out. I’m pretty sure my husband and son just gave up because our sweet moves were simply too impressive for them to handle. Or they were ashamed of us. Either way, my girl and I continued to shimmy and shake around the room. I was so proud of the fact that she had mastered ‘the sprinkler’ and she was thrilled when I tried to teach her the running man. Tried being the operative word there.
As I boogied around the room, my daughter said to me, “Hey mommy, let’s go dance in front of the mirror so we can see how we look.”
I laughingly replied, “I’m not sure I want to see what I look like when I’m dancing!”
My girl stopped mid-groove and looked at me with the most perplexed expression. “You don’t want to see how you look? I ALWAYS watch myself in the mirror while I’m dancing!” She was absolutely baffled.
I chuckled and then indulged her for a few minutes by pulling out all of the stops and showing off my best moves. There may have even been some MC Hammer style going on folks!
Later that night as I relayed her comment to my husband (and he bemoaned the fact that he had missed seeing my awesome dance skills reflected in the mirror) I couldn’t help but thinking about the absolute honesty with which my daughter told me that she always watches herself dance. She was just so matter-of-fact about it. She had no sense of embarrassment at all. She was completely self-confident. I, on the other hand, would never freely dance in front of a mirror unless it was in my family room and my 8 year old daughter was begging me. And, even then, it’s only going to happen for about a minute. Sure, I’m happy to dance around the room, but watch myself doing it in the mirror? No…nope…uh uh. I’m too self-conscious, too aware, too jiggly in places where I don’t want to be jiggly.
And you better believe that even if I did feel comfortable dancing in front of a mirror I wouldn’t admit it quite so confidently.
I started to wonder if I’ve ever felt that kind of freedom that my daughter feels. And, if I did, when did it stop?
Finding freedom in who we are as women is a lifelong journey isn’t it? And I believe that finding freedom is very much intertwined with being confident in who we are. As a “good” Christian girl, I’ve spent most of my life trying really hard to not be too confident in who I am. Because, to me, confidence was pretty much the same as pride.
Somewhere along the way, I think that the line between confidence and pride became blurry for me. And in my efforts to never EVER want to give the impression of being too big for my britches or thinking too highly of myself, I decided that confidence was just too close to pride and therefore it must also be avoided.
Here’s the thing though, nowhere in scripture have I ever found warnings against confidence. Oh sure, there are plenty about pride.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
“The Lord detests all the proud at heart. Be sure of this; they will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
But when it comes to confidence, I’ve discovered that the Bible makes clear distinctions between it and pride.
“The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
As I’ve read through the many verses about confidence, a beautiful picture has emerged that looks a little something like this.
When we place confidence in ourselves we will always come up short. We will be plagued with insecurity and doubt and fear or we will begin to think too highly of our own abilities and become filled with pride. But when we place our confidence in the Lord and how He created us, we are able to use the gifts He’s given us with grace and humility which ultimately leads to His glory, not ours.
Pride and humility are mutually exclusive. They simply can’t share the same space in your heart. But, I believe that confidence and humility can righteously co-exist.
God wants us to have confidence in the gifts and abilities He’s given us! He want us to use them! Because the more confidence we have in using our gifts the brighter we shine for Him.
Let’s take Moses for example. When God spoke to him through the burning bush (Exodus 3), his initial reaction was to argue with God, to basically tell the Lord of the universe that He was making a big mistake in choosing him for such a job. He basically begged God to not use him. Moses had absolutely NO confidence in his God-given abilities and no trust that if his Father was calling him to this role that He would give him all that he needed to see it through. BUT, later on in the story, we see Moses getting just a little bit cocky. A little too comfortable in his own strengths. He decides to do things just a bit differently from how the Lord instructed him. (Numbers 20) and as a result he isn’t allowed to enter the promised land.
You see friends, I think that there is a sweet spot when it comes to confidence. Go too far one way and you find that you are full of yourself and certain that everything you have in life is the result of your awesomeness. Go too far the other way and you find that you are full of so much self-doubt and insecurity that you become paralyzed.
But, when you are in that sweet spot? Well, that’s where the magic happens. That is where you find freedom.
Freedom to use, really use those gifts and talents.
Freedom to be exactly who God created you to be.
Freedom to confidently represent the love of Jesus to those around you.
And, if you want to, freedom to dance in front of the mirror. 😉
I’m so glad you could meet me here at the Fence today,