What is the definition of confidence? A quick Bing search showed me this definition, “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” I like that! It aptly describes how I felt. This may come across as an arrogant statement, but I’m usually confident in what I do without being arrogant. I appreciate my gifting and ability, but I try not to flaunt them or anything like that. But this last week was a confidence shaking week for me.
So let me give you the back story, before the real story. As a kid, I was really insecure and embarrassed super easily. I wasn’t confident in anything. If I did something to the best of my ability, all it would take to shatter my insides was to make fun of it or mock it. I was destroyed. It happened all the time. I searched for anything or anyone that would say that I had what it takes or that I was enough. I looked and looked craving for affirmation. It never came. Somewhere in teen my mind, I decided that I couldn’t go through life letting people see how weak I was. I couldn’t let them see how easy my heart would break when I got embarrassed. I vowed to never let them see me sweat. So I built up a thick skin, put up walls, and started exuding confidence. It worked well for twenty something years, until Jesus had had enough of me. Apparently I was getting on Jesus nerves, lol! (That’s a joke for all you religious uptight folks!) Actually, Jesus wanted to teach me a new lesson, a better lesson. He wants me to have real confidence, not some fake man-centered bravado.
So how was my confidence shaken. Three words: countertop, Uno, and greeting. Two of these didn’t bother me much until I zoomed out a bit and saw how they fit into the narrative of what Jesus was up to. Let’s get to it. Exhibit A: Countertop Installation. We are in the process of selling our house and we thought freshening up our kitchens look would help entice a buyer to pull the trigger. We put in a backsplash, which we’ve done before, and redid the countertops. They were Formica countertops, ugly, but in great shape. I have never done these before. I took the usual approach. First said “no way” while Amy keeps researching and convinces me to do it. She has way too much confidence in my ability. I think I have her fooled. I talked to a couple of people for tricks and tips, watched a couple youtube videos, and I was ready. We ordered, we attacked, and they were done. They turned out pretty nice for the first try. (Big shoutout to Justin S. for loaning me the right tools and pro tips.) So my confidence got the right bump it needed to keep inflating. God made me with a wide range of gifts, so why shouldn’t I enjoy them. A week and a half ago, we started noticing something odd taking place in our kitchen. The countertop started bubbling up in a couple spots. You don’t want this. It had laid perfectly for 3 weeks, now all of a sudden something was wrong.
Exhibit 2: Uno. (This is the big one, pay close attention) Last Monday, I took my horse to a friends house and helped him sort pairs out of their calving field. For those who have no clue what that means. You drive momma cows and their babies out to grass so there is more room for the cows who have yet to calve. I’ve never done this on horseback, and I wasn’t sure if Uno, my horse, had either. I was confident, so away we went. It was tough and a bit frustrating. You would understand if you have ever tried to chase a newborn calf with anything. Instead of instinctually running from you, they run to you and try to nurse from the horse. This kind of freaked out Uno. She didn’t seem to like calves. We had made several trips across the field and was sorting our second group. Uno was taking her sweet time to get back to the pairs, my frustration was through the roof. I got her to pick up the pace a bit, but she boogered hard all of a sudden. She took a massive step sideways and I was on the ground. I still have some bounce in me. She took off to the other end of the field. I stood up, but I wasn’t the same. Nothing physically was broken, but something internally was. As I was walking across the field in cowboy hat, chinks, boots, and spurs. Its like I was a kid all over again. I felt like a complete poser in that moment. I could hear people mocking me because they knew I was a giant faker! They knew I was no cowboy. They knew I didn’t have what it took. I was a scam. I was a little kid pretending to be a cowboy. My insides were broken all over again, just like when I was a kid. My fake confidence was broken. I did the walk of shame for a while until my friend came and took me to my horse. I caught her and climbed right back on. (I had heard that was what you were supposed to do.) I still had a job to do, but I was bare and exposed without my shield that I normally wore. My confidence was missing. It really rattled me. Later that night, I lay in bed pondering the day. I knew my confidence was broken. I had no clue what to do next. Everything I do comes from that place of appreciating my own gift and getting it down. I knew that I was ruined. So I asked Jesus to show me what I was to do. I asked Him to show me where my confidence should come from. All I heard was silence for a few days. I had honestly put it out of my mind the best I could, but it was still nagging at me.
Exhibit C: Greeting. Part of my job at the church sometimes is to do announcements. I usually get up front, say something humorous to get your attention, and then do the announcement. Most of the time it works, sometimes a bit awkward, but generally people hear it and move forward accordingly. Yesterday, I got up and it went bad! Awful. Quite easily the worst I had ever seen or heard. This was uncharacteristic of me. I like to speak and getting in front of people is no sweat, but yesterday was a flop for the first service. I didn’t panic, but I knew something was off. The second service came around and I was like “Oh no,” what I am going to do? My palms started sweating. My mind was racing. This was an important announcement and it could be a make it or break it for some couples sitting here today. What was going to happen if I bombed again…. Then I heard a whisper. He said, “You haven’t even asked for my help!” It was like kung-fu to my brain. The light bulb came on while being slapped in the face with a brick. I’m surprised I didn’t fall down, honestly. I simply prayed, “Jesus will you help me do the announcement. The last one was awful and it was in my strength. I’m sorry for doing things myself.” I walked up to the front really unsure of what was going to come out of my mouth but I wasn’t trusting me. You know what, it went great. It was clear, funny, and engaging. 4 couples signed up and 3 others wanted to consider it. Not because of me, because of Him.
Yesterday afternoon, I began processing all these events. from being an insecure little boy, to the countertops, to the horse, to the greeting, all the way until asking for His help. Jesus is quite amazing, if you don’t know him He is definitely worth getting to know. He was working all this out so that my confidence comes from Him. That I ask His help and then move forward confidently in His ability through me. This is not about building confidence in myself. It’s about being confident as His child and precious creation. I would have nothing without Him. No talents, no skills, no drive, no gifts, if it were not for Him. But this is where Jesus just smiles and winks at me. Check out this Jesus side story out! I lost my phone sorting those pairs. Fortunately, I had repaired Amy’s old phone last week. I switched to using it after I lost mine. Amy had a verse on the locked screen.
That is such a Jesus move. I know He was smiling at when I saw that and I connected all the dots. Jesus, you are so good to me. My confidence is being rebuilt, but in Him this time. I have a lot of learning to do. I had been praying before I got on my horse, but I got full of myself. Guess who will be praying from now on.
What about you? Are you walking around with fake confidence to cover up a wound from your childhood? Jesus wants to heal that broken area of your heart. It’s ok to admit you are broken. He doesn’t want to mock you or rub it in your face; He wants to heal you. Please let Him. It will make all the difference moving forward!
Grace and Peace to you as you learn to find your real confidence in Jesus! This wannabe cowboy sure does!