Shaken

I found myself in a familiar but uncomfortable place last week–shaken.  I had let my last event begin to erode my confidence and fell back into the comparison trap after seeing one of my fabulous sisters speak.  Have you ever found yourself shaken and lacking confidence?  I had to remind myself of some truths that God has been teaching me.

“Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”  II Corinthians 3:4-5 (NIV)

         “Are you sure you’re ready to have a tiger by the tail?” asked my mom with a big grin.  That was her first response when my then-boyfriend Barry asked my parents if he could marry me.  It still makes me laugh, because I was certainly known as a strange mix of rule-following, first-child with a wide streak of sassiness and fierce independence.  I’m still not sure that Barry had any idea what he was getting into when he said, “I do.” 

That was over twenty years ago, so when Barry asked an unexpected question this week during our family vacation, it opened my eyes to some of God’s difficult work in my life.  Barry and I sat on the deck overlooking the ocean talking in low voices about the topics that concern many of us–finances, parenting, plans for the future…  Suddenly, Barry asked his startling question.

“If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?”

My mind went blank except for the thought, “Whew! This is a really loaded question.” At first I didn’t want to answer (why ruin a great evening?), but I finally answered, braced myself and re-asked the question, “What would you change about me?”

I had a pretty good list going in my mind of what I thought he’d say–I wish you weren’t so critical. I wish you wouldn’t talk so much. I wish you would cook dinner more often…. What he actually said surprised me. “I want you to get your confidence back,” he said. “When I married you, your favorite phrase was, ‘I’ll do it myself!’ I’ve watched you lose your confidence over the years, and I want you to have it back.”

A move, a couple of friendships with bad endings and struggling to find a place in my new home town had knocked the stuffing right out of me.  I had fought and lost against my own tendency toward comparison, perfectionism and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility.   Little by little, I became convinced that I couldn’t and that I wasn’t. My confidence was shaken and then it crumbled.

But sometimes things have to be torn down before they can be rebuilt.
Was it God’s plan that I would move, fail in some friendships and beat myself bloody trying to be somebody else? No! He did, however, use this bad place to bring me to a better place.  God began rebuilding in me about a year ago, but He capped it off when I got home from She Speaks this year. There He spoke to me over and over again about trusting my life to His control, and our scripture in my Sunday school class the following Sunday was this one:  II Corinthians 3:4-6  “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  (NIV)

I started with, “I can do it”, but He brought me to “He can do it in me.”  He has brought me out of my own power, which is so limited and flawed, to being dependent on the infilling power of His Spirit. Confidence in myself has very limited power whereas confidence in Him brings limitless possibilities. 

I know that I’ll still have days of struggle with confidence, but my rebuilt and renewed sense of confidence is now firmly in Christ. It’s a beautiful place to rest.

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9 Comments

  1. Amy, excellent post. I so relate with your experience of “shaken”. Thanks for the reminders. And, as I’ve learned in the past weeks, the necessity of having Truth embedded in our hearts to carry us through such times.

    Grace,
    Lynn

  2. Dear Amy,

    Thank you for a pertinent and well crafted post.

    Appreciate your vulnerability! Our struggles are so common, aren’t they? And God is so gracious in meeting us, using people who love us (and sometimes some who don’t) to reveal new places that we need to grow.

    May the Lord continue to craft you into His delightful work of art! (Eph 2:10.)

  3. Thanks for your post from one eldest child to another. Life has a way of draining our confidence but your comments are part of a spiritual quilt I’m making for my Lenten journey.

    I know what God has called me to do but when I hear better speakers and read better writers, it’s so tempting to believe that my calling is redundant.

    Thanks for sharing so candidly about your past struggles with confidence and reminding me that one’s confidence is in the Lord.

  4. Kelli Wommack says:

    Awesome reflection, Amy. You are God’s masterpiece. And He is using you and your experiences to touch so many others! 2 Corinthians 1: 3 -5.
    much love! Kelli

  5. ‘Shaken’ was not a word I could find to describe how I’ve felt lately but when I saw that word and read this post, tears flowed (evidence that shaken was just the word to describe my estate). Confidence shaken. I have had a friendship with a bad ending this past year and I didn’t realize how much that threw me until I read your statement of this very thing. I was voted “Friendliest” in my Senior class of 497 after all, how could I have ANYONE not like me? How could I not be able to salvage a friendship? I have another person I want so badly to believe I am something incredible, to be WOWed by me. But it just will not happen. In fact, I receive the message that I am quite a bother and source of irritation and the “I can’t “and “I’m not” feelings wash over me. The ‘too much’ and ‘not enough’ message begs to ‘beat me to a pulp’ and I allow it too many moments of the day! But where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. Thank you for sharing your heart and speaking confidence straight to mine from the Word of our Lord. Confidence from our competent God……..HE SPEAKS! :-), tricia

  6. Amy, This was a message I needed to hear this morning. God has brought me through a simular journey or breaking my confidence develope a confidence in Him alone. About a month ago God began showing me new areas He wanted me to explore. I have to tell you I fell very out of place, unqualified and scared to death. The one thing that is keeping me there is I know it was His voice I heard. Thanks you for the scripture to calm the war that’s been going on in the pit of my stomach. Blessings

  7. I have just begun to blog recently and of course it took no time at all for the defeated thoughts to creep into my head; “Why are you doing this? No one has time to read this. Why do you think you have something anyone needs or wants to read?” And on…
    Reading your post this morning gave me a renewed confidence. We do need to tell our stories. I love to hear stories of great triumph over something tragic. But a post like yours today reminds me that there is great victory to be had in our everyday.
    I’ve had the same struggles (move, friendships, confidence) thank you for sharing. It matters.
    Jen

  8. It amazes me that so many of us fall into the trap of comparison, and yet we always feel like we’re alone. I just posted about this very issue on my new blog for my DOZ girls. Mirror Mirror is the title. Mainly it’s about the way we see ourselves through the worlds eyes, our beauty, but for me, its also about seeing myself as a new creation in Christ. Everything I need to live a confident life in Him is already in me–I just don’t tap into the source enough.

    Thank you for sharing your heart so openly! I love ya, girl!

  9. Amy,
    I can not tell you how much this post spoke to me. I have struggled with confidence over the last year. So much that I have been unsure of how to regain it if I ever really had it. Reading your post helped me see that I am not the only one that struggle with the comparison issue. Thanks for sharing and redirecting my thoughts to letting God be my confidence.

    You are a blessing to me and others!!!!