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 (7 page)

BOOK: The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear
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SECRET #5—A confident woman avoids comparisons.

Confidence is not possible as long as we compare ourselves with other people. No matter how good we look, how talented or smart we are, or how successful we are, there is always someone that is better, and sooner or later we will run into them. I believe confidence is found in doing the best we can with what we have to work with and not in comparing ourselves with others and competing with them. Our joy should not be found in being better than others, but in being the best we can be. Always struggling to maintain the number-one position is hard work. In fact, it’s impossible.

Advertising is often geared to make people strive to look the best, be the best, and own the most. If you buy “this

car, you will really be number one! If you wear “this

particular brand of clothes, people will really admire you! Try “this

new diet and lose those few extra pounds—and then you will be accepted and noticed. The world consistently gives us the impression that we need to be something other than what we are—and that some product or program or prescription can help us do that. Like most people, I struggled for years trying to be like my neighbor, my husband, my pastor’s wife, my friend, and so on. My neighbor was very creative at decorating, sewing, and many other things, while I could barely sew a button on and have confidence that it would not fall off. I took lessons and tried to sew, but I hated it.

My husband is very calm and easygoing, and I was just the opposite. So I tried to be like him, and that didn’t work either. My pastor’s wife was sweet, mercy-motivated, petite, cute, and a blonde. I, on the other hand, was aggressive, bold, loud, not-so-petite—and a brunette (if my hair was colored recently, that is).

In general, I found myself always comparing myself with someone, and in the process rejecting and disapproving of the person God created me to be. After years of misery, I finally understood that God does not make mistakes, He purposely makes all of us different, and different is not bad; it is God showing His creative variety. Psalm 139 teaches us that God intricately formed each of us in our mother’s wombs with His own hand and that He wrote all of our days in His book before any of them took shape. As I said, God does not make mistakes, so we should accept ourselves as God’s creation and let Him help us be the unique, precious individual that He intended us to be.

Confidence begins with self-acceptance—which is made possible through a strong faith in God’s love and plan for our lives. I believe it is insulting to our Maker (God) when we compare ourselves with others and desire to be what they are. Make a decision that you will never again compare yourself with someone else. Appreciate others for what they are and enjoy the wonderful person you are.

One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17). That means we are not to lust after what other people have, how they look, their talents, personality or anything else about them. I believe lust is present when we want something so much that we cannot be happy without it. It is possible to resent someone because he or she has what we don’t. These attitudes are not pleasing to God. Another person can be an example to us, but should never be our standard. The Bible says in Romans 8:29 that we are destined to be molded into the image of Jesus Christ and share inwardly His likeness. Another Scripture says that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We can think, speak, and learn to behave as Jesus did, and He certainly did not ever compare Himself with anyone or desire to be anything other than what His Father had made Him to be. He lived to do the Father’s will, not to compete with others and compare Himself to them.

I encourage you to be content with who you are. That does not mean that you cannot make progress and continually improve, but when you allow other people to become a law (rule or regulation), you are continually disappointed. God will never help you be someone else. Remember that being “different” is good; it is not a bad thing. Celebrate your uniqueness and rejoice in the future God has planned for you. Be confident and start enjoying you!

SECRET #6—A confident woman takes action.

I have heard that there are two types of people in the world. The ones who wait for something to happen and the ones who make something happen. Some people are naturally shy, while others are naturally bold, but with God on our side we can live in the supernatural, not the natural. We all have something to overcome. A naturally bold person has to overcome pride, excessive aggression, and false confidence, while the naturally shy must overcome anxiety, timidity, the temptation to withdraw from challenges, and low confidence.

A bold person can often be assertive to the point of being rude. I like bold people who are not afraid of me, but I don’t like people who don’t respect me and have bad manners. What some people think is boldness is, in reality, pride—which is one of the things God’s Word says that He hates. I am naturally bold and have had to stand against pride. It seems that bold people just naturally assume they are right about most things, and they don’t mind telling other people just how right they are. And, while confidence is a good thing, egotism is not. Thank God we can learn to have balance in our lives. We can benefit from our strengths and overcome our weaknesses through His help.

A shy person shrinks back from many things that she should confront. There are many things she would like to say or do, but she’s paralyzed by fear. I believe we must learn to step out into things and find out what God has for us in life. A more timid approach may protect individuals from making mistakes, but the result is that they spend their lives wondering “what could have been.” Bold people, on the other hand, make more mistakes, but they recover and eventually find what is right and fulfilling for them.

God works through our faith, not our fear

Making mistakes is not the end of the world. We can recover from mistakes. In fact, one of the few mistakes we cannotrecover from is the mistake of never being willing to make one in the first place! God works through our faith, not our fear. Don’t sit on the sidelines of life wishing you were doing the things you see other people doing. Take action and get a life!

If a person is naturally introverted or extroverted, she will always have greater tendencies toward that natural trait—and that is not wrong. As we have stated previously, God creates all of us differently. However, we can have the life we desire and still not deny who we are. So search your heart and ask yourself what you believe God wants you to do—and then do it. Where He guides, He always provides. If God is asking you to step out into something that is uncomfortable for you, I can assure you that when you take the step of faith, you will find Him walking right beside you.

When you want to do something, don’t let yourself think about all the things that could go wrong. Be positive and think about the exciting things that can happen. Your attitude makes all the difference in your life. Have a positive, aggressive, take-action attitude, and you will enjoy your life more. It may be difficult at first, but it will be worth it in the end.

I actually believe it is more difficult for a bold person to overcome pride than it is for a shy person to overcome timidity. If you are shy and timid, just remember it could be worse. Make a decision that with God’s help you will be the person He intended you to be and you will have the life He wants you to have.

God Honors Faith

Faith honors God and God honors faith! A story from the life of missionaries Robert and Mary Moffat illustrates this truth. For ten years, this couple labored in Bechuanaland (now called Botswana) without one ray of encouragement to light their way. They could not report a single convert. Finally, the directors of their mission board began to question the wisdom of continuing the work. The thought of leaving their post, however, brought great grief to this devoted couple, for they felt sure that God was in their labors, and that they would see people turn to Christ in due season.

They stayed; and for a year or two longer, darkness reigned. Then one day a friend in England sent word to the Moffats that he wanted to mail them a gift and asked what they would like. Trusting that, in time, the Lord would bless their work, Mrs. Moffat replied, “Send us a communion set; I am sure it will soon be needed.” God honored that dear woman’s faith. The Holy Spirit moved upon the hearts of the villagers, and soon a little group of six converts united to form the first Christian church in that land. The communion set from England was delayed in the mail; but on the day before the first commemoration of the Lord’s Supper in Bechuanaland, the set arrived.

SECRET #7—A confident woman does not live in “if only,” and “what if.”

The world is filled with people who feel empty and unfulfilled because they have spent their lives bemoaning what they did not have, instead of using what they do have. Don’t live in the tyranny of “if only.” If only I had more education, more money, more opportunity or someone to help me. If only I had a better start in life; if only I had not been abused; if only I were taller. If only I weren’t
tall. If only, if only, if only. . . .

One of the biggest mistakes we can make in life is to stare at what we don’t have or have lost and fail to take an inventory of what we do have. When Jesus desired to feed 5,000 men—plus women and children—the disciples said all they had was a little boy’s lunch, which consisted of five small loves of bread and two fish. They assured Him it was not enough for a crowd the size they had. However, Jesus took the lunch and multiplied it. He fed thousands of men, women, and children and had twelve baskets’ worth of leftovers (Matthew 14:15–21). The lesson for us: If we will just give God what we have, He will use it and give us back more than we had to begin with. The Bible says that God created everything we see out of “things that are unseen,” so I have decided that if He can do that, surely He can do something with my little bit—no matter how unimpressive it is.

When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses felt very inadequate and kept telling God what he could not do and did not have. God asked him what he had in his hand and Moses replied, “A rod.” It was an ordinary rod, used for herding sheep. God told him to throw it down, implying that Moses was to give it to Him. When God gave the rod back to Moses, it was filled with miracle-working power and was used by Moses to part the Red Sea as well as other miracles. I repeat, if you will give God what you have, no matter how little and ineffective you may think it is, God will use it and give you back more than you gave Him.

In other words, it is not our abilities that God desires, but it is our availability He wants. He wants us to see possibilities, not problems. Don’t spend your life thinking “if only” you had something else, then you could do something worthwhile. “If only” is a thief of what could be.

“What if” can be just as devastating as “if only”—if the what-if is applied in a negative manner. Negatively anticipating a future experience is potentially more devastating than actually experiencing the problem.

Consider my friend Heather. One day, she sat in a coffee shop with tears in her eyes. Although she had many skills and was attractive, she lived in fear and allowed it to steal her life. She was miserable most of the time, because fear brings torment. God did not intend us to live in fear and dread. With Heather, there was always something new to be afraid of. This particular time, as we talked, she lamented over the fact that her mother and aunt had died with heart disease—and now she was afraid she would have the same fate. She had three small children and was fearful she would not get to see them grow up. I asked her if she had experienced any symptoms that made her think she was having heart problems. She said she had a tight feeling in her chest. She shared that she had been to the doctor, and after running appropriate tests, he told her she was experiencing symptoms of stress induced by her fear of getting heart disease.

I encouraged her with several Scriptures about living in faith rather than fear, but she persisted in saying “What if I die and my husband is left with the kids?”

I must admit that my patience with Heather was growing short—not because I had no empathy for her, but because the last time we were together she had the same attitude, but a different set of problems. That time it was fear about a new job her husband had started—which would require his being away from home on business trips. She said, “what if” he meets someone else and gets involved with her while he is on the road? She said, “if only” this new job didn’t involve travel.

Heather created her own problems by living in “if only” and “what if.” Anyone could be miserable with that kind of thinking. She needed to choose to think differently. She had a stronghold of fear in her mind, which probably got started in her childhood, but she could renew her mind through studying God’s Word and meditating on it. Often, people want their problems to vanish, but they are not willing to do what they need to do to help themselves. I had many fears in my life, and they still show up from time to time. But I respond by running to God’s Word, which strengthens me to take steps of faith, no matter how I feel.

Where the mind goes, the man follows. If you pay more attention to your thoughts and choose to think on things that will help you instead of hinder you, it will release God’s power to help you be the confident woman God wants you to be. Think confident and you will be confident!

These seven secrets will help you on your way to being fully confident. There is still a great deal to learn, but these tips are a good beginning.

BOOK: The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear
2.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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