I sat down with one of our leaders today and told her stories of the days when it felt like my confidence was being beat out of me. I told her stories of disappointment, being misunderstood, feeling left out or passed over and being told hard truths that I was not quite ready to receive. Of course I left out all of my hard-headed mistakes, rebellious gestures, and arrogant assumptions — that is sermon material! My goal in telling those stories was to illustrate how the confidence to live out your calling is deeply connected to the ability to persevere in the midst of pain and challenge.
At some point, you have to get honest with yourself and ask, ‘confident or not — who is God asking me to be?’ This is the lesson I keep having to learn. Far too often, I depend on the encouragement and permission of others when making decisions that could take me into unknown territory. There is a place for the affirmation of leaders/mentors and the blessing of your community. However, the courage to take that step into your destiny will not be handed to you…you will have to take it. Like Joshua (in the Hebrew Bible book that bears his name), the promised land must be fought for both by faith and by deed.
But what if I am wrong? What if I fail? These are kinds of questions we all ask when we sense a new season coming. For the general audience, I join the voices of many others who are saying you just have to give it a shot. I shared the following quote with my UNF Community Night gathering this past semester:“Regardless of what you want to do or who you are, fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.” – @JonAcuff. I know it sounds simple, but the truth is no one gets to their destiny by accident and fear will lie to you every time.
For the Christ-follower, I have a little more to say. As a believer in Jesus, you have decided to place all of your faith in His ability to get you to where you need to be. Your faith is not in your ability to make the right calls, choose the right opportunities or even to walk through the right doors. Your faith is in Jesus’ ability to do all that needs to be done so that your life works out for your good and His glory. At the end of the day, Jesus knows how to take the worse career decision on the planet and turn it into something beautiful. And so in response, we make the most faithful decisions we can — in light of what He has done and what He has said — and trust Him with the outcome. Which leads me back to the confidence to be me.
I am finding a fresh sense of confidence these days as I continue to learn what it means to be a leader for God’s people. I am sensing Jesus’ call to be fearless in the face of uncertainty. I am challenged in a new way by the little things that matter more than we realize. I feel the need to be more honest with myself and others as I become more patient with all that I wish were different in my life. It seems that once again, Jesus is asking me to grow up a little more. Believe it or not, all of this internal, spiritual work is giving me the confidence to be more of who God has asked me to be.
So my prayer for all of those who are reading this post (thank you by the way) is that you would not settle for a version of yourself that is less than all that you can be. I pray that you would do more than give yourself morning pep-talks but that you would act on the potential that lies inside each one of us. I pray that you would allow the gifts and talents that were given to you to be used to their fullest extent. I pray that you would have the courage to “punch fear in the face” (HT @JonAcuff) and allow the confidence that comes from the Holy Spirit to lead you to new places.
There is so much more waiting for us and all of heaven is cheering you on.