Confidence has never been an issue for me.
Or so I thought.
Throughout high school, my self-confidence dipped and escalated like a rollercoaster. I would have my highs, and nothing, especially no one, could stop me. Then I would have my lows, and humility checked me against the rink as harshly as an NHL player.
One thing about self-confidence is that it never truly comes from the “self.”
In eighth grade, my confidence was at full-bloom. On the outside, I had the best friend, the perfect family, the coolest sport, and the newest materials. I lived a very privileged childhood, and it wasn’t until I was surrounded by people like me that I realized that.
For the sake of respect, my best friend’s name will be Lucia. During our last year of middle school, Lucia was funny, bubbly, talkative, and so enjoyable to be around. I had transferred schools, and I was scared, quiet, and utterly terrified for the first two months of the school year. Then Lucia and I were seated next to each other in history class. We clicked instantly.
Even though we were tied at the hip from that day forward, we both had our secrets.
Lucia had her struggles, and I had mine. We worried about each other constantly. We gave each other confidence when one of us had none. Most importantly, we were our true selves together. We were friends, and we could care less about the looks we got from others. As long as we were the real life Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen, nothing could wreck our confidence.
Or so we thought.
The Summer before high school brought change. Both of us experienced the deepest level of pain and struggle. Both of us came out alive, but only one of us got better. The other did not.
The other was me.
Summer was hard enough with the personal struggles I was going through. It only got harder without Lucia. Lucia was M.I.A. No phone, no nothing, no letters, no anything. She was gone.
I had no confidence without Lucia. Lucia was living proof that I was not the only one who struggled so much. More than once, Lucia took me by the hand, proclaiming that she did understand, and we would get through this together.
Her struggle is what made me trust her. Without it, there was no one to relate to.
The first day of high school, she was not there. People gossiped at lunch about her, and I defended her. I told myself she was coming back. That my best friend would return, and things would go back to normal.
I still have a picture of the day she returned.
The smile on our faces radiated happiness and reunion. The picture depicted the kind of love that Jonathan and David shared in the Old Testament.
Consistency brings Confidence. Confidence in what we know. Confidence in what we have. Confidence in what we believe. Confidence in who we love.
Lucia was my consistency. I had her. I had someone who understood.
When she came back, her suffering was in her past. It was unacknowledged. She closed that chapter of her life, refusing to re-open it. As happy as I was for her, I couldn’t help but sit there wondering what it felt like to be whole.
My confidence in what I knew dissipated into the air. The girl who I called my best friend was whole. Why wasn’t I?
My jealousy and emptiness soon caused us to break apart. I was angry. Bitter. Not level-headed at all. The confidence I once had, was crushed. Anxiety came and took over. And it was not until hours ago that I FINALLY realized why such an iconic dynamic duo crashed and burned.
It wasn’t just the jealousy. It was the fact my confidence came from the happiness of having a friend who understood me. That confidence built consistency where there would be change. Good change. But it was still change. And I was too blind to realize that the change was good.
Confidence doesn’t need to be built, because it is already standing. I didn’t recognize true confidence until I experienced change.
True confidence is God.
Some of you are probably rolling your eyes, asking yourselves why you got 716 words in just to read something you already knew. But the truth is, maybe you don’t know. I didn’t know.
And here’s why: we live in a society where what we know is what we see. And we can’t see confidence. We can’t see God. If we can’t see it, we doubt it. I couldn’t see it, and I doubted it. So somewhere along the timeline, we decided to become self-confident. Confidence became a part of us when we are not mature enough to handle it. I have yet to meet a person who is perfect, consistent, and confident.
To have confidence in God is to have that consistency we so desire. God is consistent. And He is more confident than any egocentric boy I have ever encountered.
When I choose to place my confidence in God, He gives me two things in return: 1) gentle strength. 2) A peace of mind. When I place my confidence in a boy or beloved friend, the only thing I get in return is change.
Like I said: change is not always bad, but it isn’t always good either.
Gentle strength is God’s prescription dose of confidence. Not too much that we become haughty and SELF-confident, and not too little that we feel bitter, alone, and jealous of others.
I ask you to pray with me now, wherever you are:
This world is inconsistent. The people who I love and know best change, for better or for worse. I pray it is always for better. When I sense change, sometimes I can’t help but feel negative, alone, bitter, jealous or disappointed. During these times, my confidence feels as if it changes too. Please grant me the gentle strength I need to combat these toxic feelings that only bring destruction to my relationships as well as myself. Please help me to hand over the confidence to you. You are the only one who knows how to handle confidence. Let me act during this day in gentle strength that is granted by you.
All the peace,