Where Does Your Confidence Come From?
How often do we compare ourselves to other people? It’s so easy to say, “She has longer hair than me. That girl has nicer clothes than me. She is way better at this job than I am.” Comparison can really affect your self-esteem. When we struggle with self-confidence, it’s common to compare ourselves to others. We notice other girls who have features and qualities that we may lack. It seems that confidence just pours out of them. They don’t appear to give much thought about answering a question wrong or have doubts about walking out of the house with no makeup on.
High school and college seem to be when girls really struggle with finding confidence. We’re put into this new world, with new people and new experiences, all while trying to discover ourselves and find out who we really are. It’s not uncommon to begin to lack confidence in who we are - in looks, our major, or our identity. For a long time, I was intimidated by what others thought of me. Their opinions were always in the back of my mind. As a result, I had a really hard time doing things that required me to step out of my comfort zone because I didn’t have the confidence to be seen.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt like this. A lot of it comes from what our society teaches us about women. There are ads that portray a specifically shaped girl, and for girls who may not be shaped like that, it can be challenging to find confidence to even walk in the stores that advertise with these models.
So we start looking for confidence in many different places. Magazines are filled with “how to” articles for perfect skin and shiny hair. There are endless style blogs on ways to improve your look. But do these types of articles really make us feel better about ourselves?
It’s easy to start looking for confidence in approval from others. You begin to question if your peers will accept you. You wonder how they will perceive you if you do a certain thing. But what we don’t realize is we are focusing on ourselves, our wants, and our questions.
I noticed this in myself. I was looking to material things to somehow make me feel confident. Obviously, this method won’t work, and it didn’t for me. So, I went to the Bible to find clarity on gaining confidence. I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t know what would God teach me and where the Scriptures would lead me. I just knew I wanted to feel confident. Here is what I learned:
Confidence can be achieved in many different ways, and it all comes from God.
Confidence comes from seeing the other side.
Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘because I bore him in pain,’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested. -1 Chronicles 4:9-10
The word, “Jabez” means pain in Hebrew. And even though Jabez had a horrible first name, he had confidence that God would use him. He had confidence that God would bless him—and God did. He knew that his name could not stop our powerful God. These verses teach us to have faith that God can change any situation. He is completely, totally, and always in control. He can and will bring glory to anything. When you lack confidence, whether it is writing a paper on a topic you feel inadequate to talk about or when you are dealing with something really tough and you’re to the point of giving up, think of Jabez. His name literally means pain, and yet God still brought the opposite of pain to his life! When you’re feeling down, low, or completely defeated, remember that God brought joy and good to Jabez instead of pain, and He can do the same for you. He is your confidence.
Confidence comes from overcoming.
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word. -Acts 4:29
God gives us confidence to deal with the challenges we face every day. How many times have you prayed for God to get you out of a certain situation? I know I’m guilty of this. But we shouldn’t be praying for God to make it easier. We shouldn’t be desperately looking for a way out. Instead, we should be praying for boldness, confidence, and strength. When we pray for these qualities, we grow as a result of challenges. We grow in our relationship with God. We grow in our confidence with Him and ourselves. Step out in faith and out of your comfort zone, and do something for God. Do something that scares you. Take risks and be brave. I know it’s all too easy to step aside and let someone else do it. But know that if God has put it in Your heart, He will give you the confidence to work toward it and complete it. Our confidence comes from Him.
Confidence comes from knowing God is there.
Now in my prosperity I said, ‘I shall never be moved.’ Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong. -Psalm 30:6-7
This verse is a good reminder that God will never leave you. It can be scary to say, “Here I am Lord, send me where you want,” but God will never leave you and because He is always with you, you can have the confidence in your life to go forward in every step knowing God will be right there with you, through the good and the bad. Nothing you face is too big or too small for Him, even the minute things such as mustering up the confidence to talk to that new kid in your class or volunteering for the welcoming committee at your local church. It may require you to step out of your comfort zone, but God will be right there taking those steps with you.
Confidence comes from humility.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:16
This verse reminds us that we can come to God, boldly and confidently, with whatever we have going on in our lives. That is so encouraging! God is there to help us in every aspect. He wants us to come to Him with the big things and the little things. We have the ability to talk with the Creator of the Universe, the One who knows all, the One who can make all things possible, our Father. He wants to hear us! He wants us to come to Him humbly - in recognition that although we are small and weak, He is might and powerful. When life is going great, He wants to us come to Him. When life is a mess, He wants us to come to Him.
When you start feeling unconfident remember that God is there. He created you. He loves you completely. Confidence doesn’t come from your peers or yourself, your confidence comes from God alone.
I’ve always thought the only way to become confident was through myself. We often look for confidence in ourselves and measure it on how we feel about our looks or social status. It’s easy to base our confidence on someone or something that can never fully give it to us. But confidence doesn’t come from ourselves. It doesn’t come from these worldly things we turn to. The only way we will have true self-confidence is through God! He will give you the confidence it takes to make that next big step in your life. He will give you the confidence to love your beautiful self because He created you!