Read The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear Online

Authors: Joyce Meyer

Tags: #Women's Issues, #Christian Theology, #Religion, #General, #Personal Growth, #Christian Life, #Self-Esteem, #Self-Help, #Sexuality & Gender Studies

The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear (3 page)

BOOK: The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear
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A Classic Case of Confidence
 

Just as under-confidence comes with its list of symptoms, the same is true of confidence. A confident person feels safe. She believes she is loved, valuable, cared for, and safe in God’s will for her. When we feel safe and secure, it’s easy to step out and try new things. During the initial construction on the Golden Gate Bridge, no safety devices were used and twenty-three men fell to their deaths. For the final part of the project, however, a large net was used as a safety precaution. At least ten men fell into it and were saved from certain death. Even more interesting, however, is the fact that 25% more work was accomplished after the net was installed. Why? Because the men had the assurance of their safety, and they were free to wholeheartedly serve the project.
2

When people feel safe, they are free to take a chance on failing in order to try to succeed. When we know we are loved for ourselves and not just our accomplishments or performance, we no longer need to fear failure. We realize that failing at something does not make us a failure at everything. We are free to explore and find out what we are best suited for. We are free to find our own niche in life, which is not possible without stepping out and finding out. Trial and error is the road to success, and you can’t drive that road as long as your car is parked. So get moving, and God will direct you. When people are confident, they try things, and they keep trying until they find a way to be successful in what God has called them to do.

Sure, life can sometimes make us feel like we’re in over our heads, but the reality is that, without God, we’re always in over our heads.

For example, a little three-year-old girl felt secure in her father’s arms as Dad stood in the middle of a swimming pool. But Dad, for fun, began walking slowly toward the deep end, gently chanting, “Deeper and deeper and deeper,” as the water rose higher and higher on the child. The girl’s face registered increasing degrees of panic, as she held all the more tightly to her father, who, of course, easily touched the bottom. Had the little girl been able to analyze her situation, she’d have realized there was no reason for her increasing fear. The water’s depth in ANY part of the pool was over her head. For her, safety anywhere in that pool depended on Dad.

At various points in our lives, all of us feel we’re getting “out of our depth” or “in over our heads.” There are problems all around: A job is lost, someone dies, there is strife in the family, or a bad report comes from the doctor. When these things happen, our temptation is to panic, because we feel we’ve lost control. But think about it—just like the child in the pool, the truth is we’ve never been in control when it comes to life’s most crucial elements. We’ve always been held up by the grace of God, our Father, and that won’t change. God is never out of His depth, and therefore we’re as safe when we’re in life’s “deep end” as we were in the kiddie pool.

A Little Godly Confidence Goes a Long Way
 

Katie Brown weighs only ninety-five pounds, and she is just a bit over five feet tall. She stands a lot taller than that, however, once she’s nimbly scaled a 100-foot climbing wall (that’s equivalent to a ten-story building).

Katie is a “difficulty climber,” an endeavor in which she’s a world champion and multiple gold medalist at the “X Games”—which you may have seen televised on networks like ESPN2.

As you might imagine, it’s intimidating for a small person to attack climbing walls and cliffs that are twenty times her height, but Katie says that her extreme faith brings her peace, even when facing extremely dangerous challenges.

“I know that I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without being a Christian,” she explains. “My faith in God doesn’t get rid of my healthy fear or caution when climbing extreme heights, but it does help me deal with it. It takes away a lot of the pressure, because you know that God’s not going to condemn you if you don’t win. So there’s nothing to worry about. When I see others competing, I wonder how I could compete if I didn’t have faith in God.”

The “walls” you face in your life might not be literal or physical. They might be emotional or relational. And it’s okay to feel intimidated or frightened by the walls in your life. As Katie notes, it would be unhealthy not to appreciate the significance of a major challenge.

But, like Katie, you can rest secure in the truth that God will not condemn you if you can’t get to the top of your wall—or if it takes you hundreds of attempts. God is more concerned in your faithful effort—an effort built on your confidence in His love for you.
3

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
 

I believe that failing is part of every success. As John Maxwell says, “We can fail forward.” History is filled with examples of people who are famous for doing great things—yet if we study their lives, we find that they failed miserably before they succeeded. Some of them failed numerous times before they ever succeeded at anything. Their real strength was not their talent as much as it was their tenacity. A person who refuses to give up will always succeed, eventually.

Consider these examples:

 

•   Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.
4

•   NBA superstar Michael Jordan was once cut from his high school basketball team.

•   After his first audition, screen legend Fred Astaire received the following assessment from an MGM executive: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”

•   Best-selling author Max Lucado had his first book rejected by 14 publishers before finding one that was willing to give him a chance.

•   A so-called football expert once said of two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Vince Lombardi, “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.”

•   Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he lacked ideas. Later, he went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.

•   Upon his election as U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln was called “a baboon” by a newspaper in Illinois, his home state. The paper went on to say that the American people “would be better off if he were assassinated.”

•   A young Burt Reynolds was once told he couldn’t act. At the same time, his pal Clint Eastwood was told he would never make it in the movies because his Adam’s apple was too big.
5

 

The people listed in the examples above succeeded in a variety of different endeavors, but they had one thing in common: perseverance. Another shining example of perseverance is renowned pastor John Wesley. Let’s take a peek into his diary . . .

 

Sunday,
A.M.
May 5

Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.

Sunday,
P.M.
May 5

Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.

Sunday,
A.M.
May 19

Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.

Sunday,
P.M.
May 19

Preached on street. Kicked off street.

Sunday,
A.M.
May 26

Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.

Sunday,
A.M.
June 2

Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.

Sunday,
P.M.
June 2

Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.
6

 

You know that Mr. Wesley had to possess perseverance—and a healthy sense of humor—to keep pressing on in the face of rejection and failure. He ultimately succeeded because he had a classic case of confidence. A refusal to give up is one of the symptoms of confidence. I encourage you to keep trying, and if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again!

Chapter Two

 

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

 

G
od never intended for women to be less than men in anyone’s estimation. Neither are they above men. Both genders should work together for the common good of all. The competitive spirit that exists in our society today between men and women is downright foolish. When women began to realize they would have to fight for their rights, some of them became extreme in their attitudes. It seems that we imperfect human beings always live in the ditch on one side or the other. Like a novice driver, we start to run off one side of the road, then over-correct so severely that we end up careening off the other side!

The key to peace between the sexes is balance. Let’s see what God has to say about this subject.

A God’s-Eye-View of Women
 

God created women, and He said that everything He created was very good. Learn to believe about yourself what God says about you, not what other people have said about you. God created you, and He looked at you and proclaimed, “Very good!” You are one of God’s works of art, and Psalm 139 states all of His works are wonderful. Therefore, you must be wonderful!

Because Eve initially disobeyed God and tempted Adam, women have gotten a bad rap ever since. I believe Adam should have stepped up to the plate and refused to do what Eve was tempting him to do—instead of doing it and then blaming her for the mess they were in. After all, God did create Adam first, and it was to Adam that He gave the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

I am sure Adam told Eve about God’s command, but it certainly was not her fault that he didn’t use discipline when temptation came. Actually, the Bible states that sin came into the world through one man, Adam (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). I am not making excuses for Eve here. She made a bad choice and needed to take responsibility for her part, but she was not the sole cause of a great sin. It was a team effort.

You know the story: Satan tempted Eve initially and then used her to tempt Adam. Each of them is responsible. Unfortunately, men and women have blamed each other for creating problems since the Garden of Eden. It is time for a change.

Have you ever wondered why Satan approached Eve with his lies, instead of Adam? It may have been because he thought he could play on her emotions easier than Adam’s. Although it’s not always the case, women are usually more emotionally driven, while men are more logical.

In any case, Satan was successful in getting Eve to do what she knew she was not supposed to do. He lured her into sin through deception, and he’s still doing the same thing today to anyone who will listen to him.

When God dealt with what Adam and Eve had done, He dealt not only with them but with Satan also. God said to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton make an interesting observation in their book
Why Not Women?
: “Ever since the Garden of Eden when God told Satan that the Seed of the woman would bruise his head, the devil has been ferociously attacking women all over the world.”
1

Genesis 3 makes it clear that Satan and the woman are at odds with one another. Why? Satan has hated women almost from the beginning, because it was a woman who would ultimately give birth to Jesus Christ, the defeater of Satan and all of his evil works. Just as God said, her offspring bruised his head (his authority).

Looking Back at Women
 

In ancient Greek mythology and literature, women were often depicted as an evil curse that men must endure. The philosopher Plato, for example, taught that there was no Hades. He said the true punishment of men was to endure women. (Wouldn’t you love to see him interviewed on
Oprah
?) He said men could not get into the world without women—but they didn’t know how to put up with them after that. Plato is regarded by many as a great philosopher and many of his ideas have influenced our culture. Could it be that some of the lingering attitudes of women can be traced back all the way to 400
B.C.
?

In one of the oldest documents of European literature, Homer’s
Iliad,
he contends that women were the cause of all strife, suffering, and misery. They were possessions to be won and had no intrinsic value whatsoever.
2

The poet Hesiod is another guy that wouldn’t be invited to speak at a N.O.W. convention. He contended that Zeus, the supreme god in Greek mythology, hated women.
3
Hesiod also claimed that Zeus created women from one of ten sources: a long-haired sow, the evil fox, a dog, the dust of the earth, the sea, the stumbling and obstinate donkey, the weasel, the delicate and long-maned mare, the monkey, or the bee. Not exactly “sugar and spice and everything nice,” is it?

To make matters worse, Hesiod painted women as the source of all temptation and evil. To him, women were a curse, created to make men miserable.

Here’s the bottom line: Men need women, and women need men.

From the three examples above, you can see that Western misogyny—the hatred of women—has deep roots. I believe that Satan has methodically taken centuries to build wrong thinking about women into the minds of society. This wrong thinking has caused women to be mistreated, and in turn, has caused women to lack confidence. It seems that women either have no confidence or they are radical feminists trying to correct a real problem in an extremist way that creates more problems than it solves.

Here’s the bottom line: Men need women, and women need men. This does not mean that all men and women have to get married, but it does mean that the world needs both men and women in order to run smoothly. God created us to need each other. The radical feminist has the same attitude toward men that men have had toward her in the past. She hates them and feels she can get by without them just fine.

Certainly, women have been abused, maligned, and treated with contempt and disrespect throughout history. But, a bitter, vengeful attitude is not the way to correct this wrong.

Let me take this to a personal level: I was sexually abused by my father for many years. I also suffered abuse at the hands of other men throughout the first 25 years of my life. I developed a hardened attitude toward all men and adapted a harsh, hard manner. I acted like I didn’t need anybody. I developed a phony personality that I actually hated, but I played the role because I was terribly afraid of being hurt again—or taken advantage of. Many radical feminists have been abused in ways that are unspeakable. They are hurt, wounded little girls trapped inside adult bodies, afraid to come out for fear of being hurt more.

I understand the feelings of these women. But I want everyone to know that, through God’s Word and the help of the Holy Spirit, I was healed in my spirit, emotions, mind, will, and personality. It was a process that unfolded over several years, and I have enough first-hand experience to highly recommend God’s ways of restoration and healing, rather than the world’s ways. It is much better to let God heal you than to spend your life being bitter about the past.

BOOK: The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear
13.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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