A few months ago, my husband Mark preached a message at Lifeway about being loved sons and daughters of God. In it, Mark shared about his own journey from insecurity to confidence. Knowing we are loved sons and daughters of God frees us to be confident in who He made us to be. Since then, several people have approached us asking for practical advice on how to grow in confidence. It’s easy to say we can be confident in God’s love; it’s harder to truly believe it and live like we believe it.
Insecurity is rooted in the belief that we must do something to be valuable and accepted, that our worth is attached to other people’s opinions of us. Insecurity teaches us to fear rejection and to crave approval; it makes us work really hard to fit in and appease the status quo. The problem is, when we try to fit in, we are working toward the wrong goal.
Jesus never said we should work really hard to be just like everyone else. Instead, the apostle Paul compared the Church to a human body, which is made up of many unique parts (see 1 Cor. 12:12–14). He says:
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? (1 Corinthians 12:17–19 NIV).
God has made each one of us just how He wants us to be. Think about that! Here, God is speaking of our personalities and giftings, the way He created us to be—with our unique strengths, perspectives, and abilities. This, of course, is a separate issue from our character. No one is righteous apart from God, and in this life, we are on a journey with Him of growing into His character. So, maturity and righteousness are separate from personality and gifting. Yet at every step of our journey toward maturity, God celebrates the essence of who we are (who He made us to be) and invites us to confidently be ourselves.
In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” (NIV). The Greek word translated as “handiwork” is poiema, which is the linguistic root of our English word poem. If we look at the canon of great poems, we see that each one is individual. No two are alike. Each poem takes a great amount of time and expertise. It must be crafted until it is brilliant and beautiful and matchless. This is the image God uses to express how He creates us. We are His masterpieces.
Here’s the thing: If we don’t believe we are masterpieces, we will live like we’re second-rate art, and the brilliance and beauty God has put in us will be muted or hidden altogether. Only you can be you in this world. Only you can fulfill the call God has given you.
In my own journey toward confidence, I’ve found a few practical tools that have helped me overcome the lies of insecurity and embrace who God made me to be.
1. Tell yourself the truth. The first step toward confidence is finding out what God says about you. The Bible is full of truths about who you are in Christ. Also, you can ask God what He’s made you to do. Ask Him what He loves about you. God has many good things to say about you, and like a good Father, He wants you to believe them. In Joel 3:10, it says, “…let the weakling say, ‘I am strong!’” (NIV). In other words, we can and should declare the truth about ourselves, even when we don’t feel like it is true. “I am loved. I can do all things through Christ. The joy of the Lord is my strength.” The more you declare the truth, the more you’ll believe it.
2. Laugh at lies. Psalm 2 tells us that God laughs at the plots of the enemy. “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them” (Ps. 2:4 NIV). The best way to undermine a statement is to laugh at it. So follow God’s example. When you hear the lies of the enemy (“You’re unlovable, you’re worthless, you will never succeed…” and so forth), laugh at them.
3. Refuse to compare. Breaking from the idea of “fitting in” means you no longer need to rate yourself against other people. If we are all masterpieces—all unique and important parts of the body—then comparison is irrelevant. Unique parts cannot be better or worse than one another. Your one standard is Christ and His call for your life. This, of course, doesn’t mean you can’t admire and imitate the spiritual maturity you see in others. But even as you learn from others, you must avoid comparing yourself to them (viewing their gifts or personality as better than your own).
4. Surround yourself with confident people. Confident people are great at recognizing and calling out the good in others, because they are not intimidated by greatness in other people. They want to inspire and empower others to be who God made them to be and walk in their destiny. As you benefit from their confidence in you, you will grow in confidence, and then you will learn to call out the good in others.
5. Choose to be brave. Ultimately, confidence is a choice to believe what God says over what you may feel. When you make that choice, you get to prove it by taking brave steps in faith that what God says is true. Being brave means stepping into circumstances that intimidate you and facing them with confidence in who God is in you. This can look like taking a step toward something you know God has gifted you in or called you to do, even though you feel scared or unqualified. No matter how the faith step works out, it is an act of saying yes to God’s blueprint for your life. The more you bravely step out, the more confident you will become.
God wants us to know who He made us to be. And He wants us to love the way He made us. He wants us to recognize the mastery He used in creating us so uniquely. And He wants us to confidently walk out our identity in Him. This may seem like an impossible task. Here’s the good news: In his letter to the Philippian Christians, Paul wrote, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6 NASB). Our confidence does not rest in our own ability, but in God’s ability within us. He is confident in how He made you. And He can breathe that confidence into you.