In my recent posts, I’ve discussed edification or encouraging one another in the family. Here, I’ll be talking about building up each other’s confidence. While I’ll be focusing on relationships between husbands and wives here, remember that the church is the bride of Christ, so this blog post can be applied to relationships within the church as well.
Philippians 1:3-6, 25 (MEV)
3 I thank my God for every reminder of you. 4 In every prayer of mine for you all, I have always made requests with joy, 5 due to your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.
25 Having this confidence, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your joyful advancement of the faith,
Definition of Confidence
Let’s start off by defining confidence. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstance” Another definition is “…feeling sure of yourself and your abilities — not in an arrogant way, but in a realistic, secure way. Confidence isn’t about feeling superior to others. It’s a quiet inner knowledge that you’re capable.”
Confidence is not just our own confidence, but who we are in the Lord and how the Lord can bless us. We should be able to lift others up within the Lord and that should bring confidence within our lives.
Problems From Lack of Confidence
A lack of confidence can cause missed opportunities. Feelings of inferiority can cause you to think you can’t do something, or shouldn’t try. Maybe you won’t go out for that promotion at work because you feel like you wouldn’t be able to handle the extra responsibility. Perhaps you decline an offer to teach a Sunday school class because you think you lack the necessary abilities. It’s important to take advantage of opportunities that come your way. No matter if you succeed or you fail, you will always learn something.
Personal growth can stall without confidence. For example, what if, in order to get a new job, you needed to go back to school? If you’re feeling less than adequate, you may miss out on furthering your education, not to mention a great new career. You will feel defeated before you even start, so, you may not start. That goes back to those missed opportunities. How many things have we missed out on because the words “I can’t” or “I’m not” ran through our minds? It was once said that the word “can’t ” should be removed from the dictionary.
I think the worst thing to come from a lack of confidence is the feeling of being worthless and feeling that no one cares. It can get to the point that it will pull a person down. If Satan can’t rob you of your knowledge of who Jesus is, he will try to rob you of your joy. He’ll rob you of thinking clearly and he will fill you with lies. Satan will gleefully remind you of your past failures. That robs us of the freedom we have, in Christ, from those failures. When Satan gets a foothold in your thoughts and keeps reminding you about your past, it steals your confidence, and you fall deeper and deeper into despair. The sadness turns into more self-deprecating thoughts, Satan gains ground and the cycle continues.
Let me begin by saying that I am in no way elevating myself. We all need to encourage one another.
Something I have always wanted to do is encourage my wife, Rhonda in her personal growth. She was once asked to speak at a Mother’s Day banquet. She had never really spoken like that before and was a little apprehensive. As a family, we encouraged her to speak. She did and was successful. Then word got out and another ladies’ meeting called and asked her to speak. We encouraged her to do that event also. Hopefully, that helped her develop some confidence
While living in Georgia, we started a Christian school. Rhonda hadn’t completed her education degree yet, but we felt like her main ministry should be at home during that time. She did come into the school once a week and started working with a reading program helping the children. She was also a monitor which is like a teacher’s aide. While helping out, I knew I could just ask her to do something and she’d understand what I needed.
Another time, I worked at Accelerated Christian Education (ACE). They did “Bible Time Boosters” which is similar to VBS. They asked her and another lady to work with the little ones. There were at least 35 children in the group. To get the kids to walk in line and stay together, they all had to hang on to a rope. When it came time for the closing program, her class’ turn came and she took the front of the rope, the children grabbed on, and the other teacher took the end and they did their program. When it was time to leave the teachers and children took the rope and went back to their spot.
The rope trick really impressed a lady in the church named Mrs. Howard, who was in charge of many areas of the ministry. Later, she became president. When it came time to start the preschool program, they wanted someone to be in charge of the school. This school was to be the pilot program for the development of the curriculum, which would have a world-wide impact. Mrs. Howard asked me if Rhonda would be willing to do that. I would have encouraged Rhonda to do that, but we had already determined that her main ministry would be with our own preschoolers at home. Nevertheless, the idea of someone wanting her to head up the school was a big confidence builder for her.
Rhonda played the piano for her church as a teenager and she told me about a time that she couldn’t hold the foot pedal down because her knee was shaking so badly. But she’s practiced and played many times for our church and others and has gained confidence and been a blessing.
As a teacher, Rhonda’s confidence was in working with the smaller children. She worked with them for a while and was then asked to work with older children. It was intimidating to her, but she did it and gained confidence.
As a Sunday School teacher, again, her confidence was in working with children. But she’s taught young adults and adults and I’ve seen her confidence grow.
I’ve just been trying to encourage her to grow.
My Personal Journey
Rhonda has encouraged me to grow and helped me gained confidence as well. She’s encouraged me to trust in the Lord, and I’m SO glad she was willing to do that. Our confidence in the Lord has grown through our lives because of our little, feeble faith that we started with that we could trust God when we couldn’t see what the next steps would be.
I was attending Seminary and had been a youth director at a church. That time was coming to an end, and it was time for me to graduate. The house we were living in did not belong to us, and we needed to move out because the new youth director and his family were going to be moving in. It got to the point where we had to be out in 6 days and didn’t know where we were going. I had sent out many letters all over the country telling them I was available to pastor.
I got a call from a church in Mt. Vernon, Illinois to preach a trial sermon. I went and spoke, but was not called by that church. That was not in God’s plan.
We got some replies from Georgia, and in that 6-day time frame, we went to one church, and I spoke. I was scheduled to speak the next week at a youth revival at another church in Georgia. After speaking at the first church in Georgia, we were headed back to Tennessee and were in prayer about what God wanted. We said if that first church called us, we would accept the call. Before we even got back to Tennessee, they had their meeting and called me as their pastor!
We loaded up and moved to Georgia. We pulled our U-Haul into one of the deacons’ yards with barely any time to spare and headed to the youth revival to fulfill that commitment.
Then we were going to start a Christian school but it all fell apart. I had already resigned from my church, and we had to be out of our house. The church people asked me if I had made a mistake. I said, “I don’t know. I don’t understand. I don’t know what’s happening. But, I’m pretty sure I was right to resign. I just don’t know yet what my next step is.”
They said they needed someone to fill in as pastor, so they asked if I would be willing to do that until I discovered my next step. I agreed, and they said my family and I could live in the parsonage until everything got sorted out. So, even though the direction wasn’t clear at that time, God still provided for our short-term needs.
That Sunday we went up to a Sword of the Lord conference in Atlanta. The regional coordinator from ACE was there, and I said, “It looks like we’re not going to start a school.” He said, “That’s OK. We can just keep everything on file and in the next 3 years the church there can start.” I started to walk away, and he asked if I needed a place to go. It had never occurred to me to tell anyone that I need a place to go. So, I told him that I did, and he told me he knew of a pastor who was wanting to start a school but didn’t have a principal or a supervisor and hadn’t sent anyone for training yet. Classes were supposed to start in a few weeks. So, it turned out that was the next step for us.
Through all this, Rhonda just went along with me, even though I couldn’t see clearly the direction that God wanted me to go. She got confirmation from the Lord along with me that He was doing something. Even though we couldn’t see it, we relied on Him and trusted Him. In our case, God seems to let us just barely hang on when things seem to be falling apart. We just cling tightly to our faith. Throughout our journey, Rhonda has encouraged me, and that has been a confidence builder for me.
Then, I worked for the International Institute, a college program for ACE, for a time. I then went back to southern Illinois and began a college there.
Things didn’t always turn out how we had planned, but no matter what, God worked through that, and people were blessed.
God Provides Confidence
We don’t know how big or small things will be, but they are never insignificant. God is faithful. He can instill the confidence in you, that when you take some steps, even if you can’t see how it will work out, God will come through and it will work out! Then, when you’re facing another time of uncertainty when you can’t see how it will work out, you will remember what God did before, and you ask Him to please do it again.
Rhonda and I decided that we wanted all our children to attend college. We didn’t know how we were going to pay for it, but we took a step of faith and enrolled them. Somehow, through God’s grace and provision, we made it.
We had one year when 3 of them were in college at one time. Our son, Rusty, was told by someone to apply for some scholarships. They scholarship providers didn’t know him and weren’t from our state. Rusty wouldn’t have had any idea about applying for those, but someone suggested he do so, and he got several scholarships out of that encounter. God works that way! He also provided jobs for them. That was the year that our income came up and was one of the highest we’ve had in our lives.
Then, Rusty decided that he was going to be a missionary to Japan. I said, “How are you going to get funding?” He went to area churches to get monthly funding. The mission board said he needed a budget of $108,000 a year. To us, in our area, it seemed excessive. But Rhonda and I took a trip to Japan and bought a watermelon while there, and it was $40, so we found out that level of funding was totally in line. But God made a way, and Rusty and his family were able to move to Japan, and he is still serving in the mission field today!
The Lord builds confidence in failures. Abraham Lincoln ran for office several times and didn’t get voted nt. Then, finally, he was elected the 16th President of the United States.
Encourage One Another
You can encourage one another. If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly until you can do it well. You can encourage with that. Wives can encourage husbands. Perhaps the husband gets a new job and isn’t doing well in the beginning. She can encourage him by using that phrase and letting him know that she believes he will improve and be successful.
Encouragement Regardless of Personality Type
God can use every personality type. There are some people who are very driven and outgoing and will work to get things done. You can be thrust into leadership positions. You can be a follower. You can be the best support person you can be. But, there are also people who have milder personalities who can be leaders.
There is a spiritual gift of pastoring, but there are some pastors who do not have that spiritual gift. I am currently pastoring a church, but I don’t feel I have that spiritual gift. But I have learned that if God calls you to serve in a certain role, He will provide the necessary tools.
You may have that hard-driving personality, and God will cause things to happen because of your drive. You might have a milder personality. You might be introverted. In many companies, there are people that are introverted and quiet who are in positions of leadership, and people can’t figure out how they got there. The reason those kinds of personalities can be successful is that they are willing to put up with things that people with stronger personalities aren’t. God can take that and use that.
Whatever your spouse’s personality type is, please encourage them that God can use them.
I’m currently interested in Internet marketing and I’m trying to learn how to do that. My confidence grows each time I fail at that. I lean a little bit more each time I try. Maybe someday I’ll be a great Internet marketer and be telling you all how to succeed at doing that.
What Can Be if We Instill Confidence in Others
Think about what can take place if you build your confidence, and your family builds your confidence. You can begin to tackle new things, and you can see God do unusual things. You’d be willing to start without knowing what the next steps will be. You may be called to go to minister in a prison. You may be afraid, but you take a step and be willing to start. As you do this, you may appear to be more outgoing than you actually are. You may overcome some obstacles along the way, but you will recover from failures that you face.
Before Rhonda and I got married, I sang in a quartet. There was a song we sang that said:
When trouble is in my way,
I can’t tell my night from day,
When I’m tossed from side to side,
Like a ship on a raging tide,
I don’t worry I don’t fret.
My God has never failed me yet.
Troubles come from time to time,
But that’s all right,
I’m not the worrying kind because
I’ve got confidence
God is gonna see me through.
No matter what the case may be.
I know He’s gonna fix it for me.
Job was sick so long
Till the flesh fell from his bones.
His wife, cattle, and children,
Everything that he had was gone.
But Job in he despair,
He knew that God still cared,
Sleepless days and sleepless nights,
But Job said that’s all right because
I’ve got confidence.
I pray that you will have it as part of your mission to instill confidence in those around you. My desire is to instill confidence in you so you can talk to people about your faith. I want you to be able to step out of your comfort zones. When asked to be a Sunday School teacher, you will accept and see where the Lord leads. When you see a challenge before you, I pray for you to realize that God has never failed you yet. Step out. Even if there’s a failure, you learn from it. I pray that in your life, failure is never a bad thing. Don’t let the failure go to waste. Learn from it and build your confidence.