“You don’t look good.” Why did you mess that up?” “You always ruin everything.” “You’re not good enough.” These are just a few thoughts that I think have gone through many of our heads. Sometimes we beat ourselves up, until it feels like there’s nothing left. Low confidence comes to steal our joy and leaves us broken inside. When we don’t believe we are good enough, darkness creeps into our lives. There are many reasons we get to this place. One of the main reasons is through the people by which we are surrounded. Sadly, a hard reality of life is that not everyone wants us to succeed. Sometimes a way for people to deal with their own baggage is by bringing others down. And that someone they’re bringing down could very well be you right now.
Low confidence has been one of the biggest struggles I have ever faced in my life. I go through seasons where my self-esteem is great and then others where it seems nonexistent. When I’m facing a time of low confidence, I’ve realized that many MANY aspects of my life tend to get a whole lot harder. In these times, I question everything I do, rather than just enjoying the life and opportunities that I’ve been given. Maybe you’re in a place similar to this. Maybe you can’t quit looking in the mirror, searching for all of your imperfections. Maybe you have a gift that you’re scared to share because your confidence has been shattered. We all have these times. Some of us may face these times more than others. No matter how many times you’ve come face-to-face with low confidence, it’s hard.
At the end of my sophomore year of high school, I started something new. Singing. And I loved it. It was something I had always wanted to do. In fact, anytime my parents would leave the house I would belt out some Adele or Taylor Swift. I didn’t think of it as anything I would ever pursue because I didn’t think I was any good at it. But I sure did enjoy it. At the end of my sophomore year, I was feeling vulnerable and told my parents I wanted to take vocal lessons. They were surprised but more than willing to sign me up. They were even more surprised to hear that I could sing. Stepping into this unknown territory for me was hard. There were some days I didn’t know why I was doing it because I had a total of zero confidence in myself. Eventually, I started leading worship, and I still struggled. I knew my focus should be on God, but instead, it was on my voice. It was on every little teeny, tiny mistake. I would think about that one mistake for days. My parents saw many tears around this time. I was discouraged. I wanted to lead people in worship, but I was scared and unconfident.
Over time, I overcame this struggle, and I began to sing every note for God, good or bad. But that’s not to say that there hasn’t been a few roadblocks along the way. I’ve faced times since then where I go back to the same broken place I was in before. I’ve let people’s opinions get to me and allowed low confidence in other parts of my life to trickle into my singing. We are going to have setbacks throughout our lives. It happens. But if there is anything I have learned from these setbacks, it’s these three things:
- God-confidence is key
A lot of you are probably thinking… what is she talking about???? Well let me explain. I was in a small group a couple of years ago where we learned about this idea of “God-confidence”. What we learned is that this is a confidence that points upward. When we have vertical faith (setting our sights on the God above), we are able to focus on the One who is above all the insecurities. We’ve been talking about this idea of “vertical faith” a lot at church lately. The opposite of vertical faith is horizontal faith. “Horizontal faith” is placing all of our trust and identity on the things of this world. Well of course we aren’t going to be confident with horizontal faith!!! The world just tears us apart. The world is made up of so many imperfections and so much hurt. So instead we should have vertical faith… this gives us a confidence that is centered in our relationship with God. A good, true relationship with God can overcome all that this world throws at us. When we find our identity in Christ, we are able to realize that we are chosen, loved, gifted, and equipped for what the world throws at us. So, let’s remember that God-confidence is key
2. You are you, so don’t try to be someone else.
There are way too many times in my life that I’ve looked at someone and just wanted to be them. Comparison is the thief of joy. It makes us forget what is special and unique about ourselves. If God created us all to be the same, life would be boring. If we all didn’t have the parts of us that are unique, life would not be the way it is meant to be. God wants us to bring our own gifts and characteristics to the world. God intended this so that we can further the Kingdom of God. We need to be confident in who God made us to be because God made you for a purpose. Even if you feel that you don’t have anything to offer, you do. We need to embrace who we are. Way too often, we compare our imperfections to others. What we need to realize is that nobody is perfect. It is likely that the same person you compare yourself to, sees characteristics in you that he/she wishes to have. Quit belittling yourself. God made YOU with a purpose, just as God also made the person to which you compare yourself.
3. Don’t let the opinions of others make you lose sight of who you are!!!!!!
I have let this happen all too often in my life. There have been people that I have allowed to break me down. When I’m around them, I forget I have a purpose. I forget about the gifts that God has given me. My advice is to stop caring. This might sound insincere, but it is essential that we stop letting others define us. If we are constantly letting people’s negative opinions get into our heads, we are going to lose sight of the gifts that God has given us. There is a fine line between constructive criticism and belittling. Constructive criticism comes out of love. Belittling is the desire to make someone think less of themselves, which is usually because the person doing the belittling doesn’t feel good about themselves. Sadly, bringing others down can make people feel better about who they are. Try to lock out the negative opinions. It’ll make you more likely to believe in yourself and love yourself.
All of this is probably nothing new to you all, but for some reason we still struggle. I’m giving you all this advice knowing full well that low confidence is still a daily setback for me. It’s almost as if there is a tug-of-war going on in our lives. The things of this world are pulling us into a negative view of ourselves while God is pulling the other way, trying to get us to realize our value. But instead of just being a flag in the middle that goes to whoever pulls harder, we have a choice. We can either let the tug of the world reel us into a pit, or we can go to the God who loves us more than we could ever imagine. I choose God; however, I know that sometimes the tug of the world can be very strong. Some days, it will feel as if the world has won, but it hasn’t. God has overcome the world.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33