Are you confident?
Depending on you and your story there’s probably a lot of thoughts that come with that question besides yes or no.
It’s funny, most often when we think of a confident person we might be tempted to put the words “prideful” or “bravado” as synonyms. However, a few months ago I was challenged by someone with a different way of thinking when it comes to confidence.
Have you ever thought about the word “trust” as a synonym for confidence?
I won’t lie to you, I struggle with confidence. I struggle with believing the best about myself, my abilities, and my talent. I was challenged to replace the word “confident” with “trust.” I was challenged to replace the word “trust” with “confidence.”
So what did that look like?
Am I confident in my abilities? Becomes…
Do I trust in my abilities?
Am I confident in my intuition, decision making, and instincts? Becomes…
Do I trust my intuition, decision making, and instincts?
How about the other way around?
Do I trust in God? Becomes…
Am I confident in God?
Do I trust my wife? Becomes…
Am I confident in my wife?
Do I trust those I work with, my friends, my family? Becomes…
Am I confident in those that I work with, my friends, and my family?
Here’s why this was so ground breaking for me. Because when I switched the words, the answers changed. Especially when I looked at the two kinds of questions those words would normally go with.
Am I confident in my abilities?
Do I trust my wife?
Is my wife, whom I trust, confident in my abilities?
Do I trust in my abilities?
So what does that mean? The ground breaking realization that this led me to was that there were only a few rational conclusions. Either my wife is trustworthy but ignorant, and has no reason to be confident in me. Or, she’s not ignorant at all, she just chooses to lie to me. Hopefully to make me feel better but it doesn’t really matter because if that is the case, she’s not trustworthy.
I love my wife but I also respect her. She IS trustworthy. She ISN’T ignorant. Honestly, I was more confident about that then any of the things previously mentioned about me. So…one of those two realities had to be true…
Maybe I don’t struggle with confidence as much as I thought I did. Maybe I struggle with trust.
That was hard for me to hear. That was ground breaking for me because I considered myself a trusting person. Now I don’t want you to mishear me. I’m not saying if you struggle with confidence you should go listen to anyone and everyone, take them at their word and believe everyone is trustworthy. You’re not that naive. You know, if we are being realistic, there are people in your life that you can’t trust. There are people in your life that you can trust but you can’t trust with everything. I trust my daughter when she tells me she loves me. I do not trust my daughter when she says, “Daddy, Mom said I could have this candy.”
The same is true with you. Don’t let your 10 year old drive your car because he says you can trust him. Don’t let your 90 year old mother drive at night because she says she brought you into this world. Don’t let the new guy at work turn in the biggest report of the quarter even though he can’t show up to work on time.
So okay, maybe you can’t trust everyone with everything. But the reality that I might struggle with trust and not confidence hit me the hardest when I thought about it in relation to the most important relationship I have.
So don’t let me lose you if you’re not a Christian. But you have to understand something very basic for me. I am a Christian. That means two things, I fundamentally believe that God created man, in his own image, and I fundamentally believe that, despite the fact that we are deeply broken (for instance this whole confidence conversation we’re in), God sent his son Jesus to die for us, so that he could effectively pay a debt we never could.
I have a daughter. The fact that Jesus would lay down his life for me, that God would allow him to, that says that either God is crazy, or perhaps he’s crazy about you and me and would do ANYTHING to have a relationship with us.
Now, let’s table the fact that you may be reading this and thinking that whole concept is nuts. That’s fine. I’m not asking you to believe everything I do, but you have to understand where this line of thinking took me. I SAID I believed with all my heart those two things. That I was created with purpose and meaning and I was loved with passion and sacrifice.
But, my lack of confidence pointed to a lack of trust. A lack of trust in the two things I just stated I believed. So, this leaves me with two options.
Either I’m ignorant of some incredibly crucial part of the Gospel where God says, “oh yes, I did create you, and send my son for you, but I really don’t value you” or I couldn’t trust the entire system of beliefs my life followed.
Which led me to an incredibly liberating discovery about the idea of confidence.
I am confident.
I’m not confident because I think I’m something special or that I just have the “X” factor. I’m confident because I stared my disbelief in the face and asked…”Can you trust Jesus?” The answer for me was yes.
I can. I can trust God.
If I can TRUST God, then I can be confident in him when he says, “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made”.
So…if you struggle with confidence, the thing you need to wrestle down for yourself is what is it, or who is it, that you can trust? Can you trust yourself? Can you trust your spouse? (I’m so thankful I can because it led me to this groundbreaking realization). Can you trust in a God that created the universe? Or, if you aren’t a Christian, can you trust, truly trust, in your own worldview?
Interestingly enough when I pegged what I could trust, it helped me understand what I could be confident in. When I knew what I could put my trust and my confidence in, it clarified for me that my own personal confidence didn’t come from myself but rather what I trusted in.