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Unleashing Your Confidence Capacity

January 17, 2022

Author John Maxwell tells a story of a man who stopped to watch a Little League baseball game. He asked one of the youngsters the score. "We're behind eighteen to nothing," was the answer. 

“Well,” said the man, “I must say you don’t look discouraged.” “Discouraged?” the boy asked. “Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t come to bat yet.” 

People who overcome are confident like that boy. No, things don’t always end happily, but people who overcome have the confidence and competence to hang in there until something good happens again. Confident people are unique. They look at things differently, think differently, and act differently. They are contagious. You want to be around them.  

Today, let’s explore three ways or options in which we can live our lives. The first option is timidity. Timidity means lacking courage or self-confidence. It also means fear. The second option is confidence. Confidence means boldness, trust, reliance on someone or something, or a state of trust or intimacy. The third option is arrogance. Arrogance means offensively exaggerating one's importance. “Arrogance isn't thinking too much of yourselves but thinking too little of others.” Arrogance is condescension building itself up by tearing others down. 

Today, there is a confidence crisis brewing all over the world. Yet, God designed us to live in confidence. In fact, God put confidence in all of us, not timidity or arrogance. How do I know that? For the Bible tells me so, “…and such confidence we have through Christ toward God.” But having confidence and using confidence are two different things. 

Let’s explore confidence. Please don’t have confidence in confidence. Confidence is a means to an end, not the end. The object of our trust, confidence, or boldness is paramount. Confidence gets your motor running so you can head out on the highway. Confidence is fear that has said its prayers. Confidence starts the job; competence finishes the job. Confidence is primary to all the other qualities in us. Without confidence, those other qualities will never surface. 

You can be humble and confident simultaneously; true confidence is always humble. Generally, those who confuse confidence with arrogance live from a timidity viewpoint. And, generally, those who confuse confidence with timidity live from an arrogant perspective. Arrogance is not lifting the gas pedal when you should. Timidity is not stepping on the gas pedal when you should. Confidence is the assurance that you are stopping and starting when you should. 

Let’s look at five uplifting outcomes of living in confidence and especially confidence in God.

First, confidence is ‘soul oxygen.’ Confidence positions you to rise above your current circumstances. You gain strength, courage, and confidence from every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You say to yourself, I lived through this horror, and I can take the next thing that comes along. You do the thing you think you cannot do. 

Second, confidence helps you to see the big picture. The Apostle Paul knew this reality when facing a trial orchestrated by Nero, the crazy of the crazies Roman emperor. Paul was concerned about what would happen to the church in Philippi if Nero killed him. Then Paul’s confidence kicked in. He wrote this statement to the church, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” That’s big picture thinking initiated and authored by confidence in God. 

Third, confidence transports you beyond the natural realm of inactive and reactive to the supernatural realm of the proactive. Samuel Johnson says, “Self-confidence is the first great requisite to a great undertaking.” Whether it’s Daniel in a lion's den, Joseph in a pit, Nehemiah rebuilding a city in shambles, Abraham not knowing where he was going, Elijah chased by angry Jezebel, Abigail in a terrible marriage, John on a deserted island, Paul and Silas in jail, the disciples on a wild boat ride, or Jesus on a cross, the confidence that released their God-given competence, accomplished the improbable. 

Fourth, confidence leads you to a happier, more fulfilled life. Hint from Albert Einstein: "Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution." Experts say those who expect to succeed then sell 37% more insurance than those who don't. If you are conflicted with timidity or arrogance, you will be less efficient and effective than confident. 

Fifth, confidence inspires others to live a happy, more fulfilled life. Confidence is contagious. Billy Graham said, “When a brave man (or woman) takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” After you enter the confident way of living, you will be like a virus that infects others with confidence. 

How can you unchain your confidence capacity? Understand this. Sheldon Kopp says, “All significant battles are waged within the self.” John Newman says, “Fear not that your life will come to an end, but that it will never have a beginning.” For most people, it's not what they are that holds them back, but what they think they're not. 

Have you dug yourself into a hole of arrogance or timidity? Molly Ivins enlightens us. “The first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging.” 

Here’s your takeaway. Are you confident that God is worthy of your trust? Are you confident God can be trusted to act on behalf of your good in all areas of your life? The truth is we need to trust in something or someone. Trusting God starts with confidence, not arrogance or timidity. 

Got confidence? The way is yours, take it.

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
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