Post Grad Duck #20
I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but there are three or four times throughout my day that my thoughts really seem to…come alive–right before I fall asleep, while I shower, when/if I go for a run, and when I’m driving. I don’t mind this onslaught of thought because sometimes things just seem to click. I come up with ideas or I figure out puzzles I perviously wasn’t able to conquer. What’s so great about these times is that I’m not trying to consciously think–I spend the rest of the day doing that–my thoughts are just free. They can form and flow and deconstruct and create without worry or caution. Now, this is not to say that I live the rest of my life with cautious and hesitant thoughts, but I would definitely argue that they are vastly more calculated.
Why? I’d like to argue it’s because there is a part of me that is afraid of my own confidence. Well, rather, I am afraid of the God given confidence within me.
In two movies that I probably will never get tired of (Akeelah and the Bee & Coach Carter) these words by Marianne Williamson are used:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us it is in everyone and as we let our own light sine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I’ve always liked this quote. I think it’s beautifully written and challenges a part of us that we often like to ignore. I recognize that Williamson’s words are hard to digest because they can seem to go against the brokenness and total depravity we have as humanity. It almost feels like she is praising man and using God as a caveat to do so. But I don’t think that’s it at all. Rather, I think Williamson is arguing that as a child of God, a born again believer, there is a certain confidence and enthusiasm within us that is meant and proposed to be released. As a daughter created by the King, how foolish it is of me to think that I should make myself small and diminish the gifts and talents God has given me, resolving not to glorify Him, out of fear! Williamson’s words are not prideful, they are not heretical, they are confident. There is a recognition in her words, of the power of Christ and the potential of that power within us, His children.
But, the fact of the matter is, confidence and depravity are hard to reconcile. Maybe I should clarify, *personally, my confidence and depravity are hard to reconcile. As I get back into the swing of my job and re-navigate my way around Penn State’s campus, I find this to be true. How can I be both bold and broken?
In our culture, a confident woman often comes along the connotation of a four letter word that I’ll refrain from using at the moment. A confident woman can be rude, abrasive, hard, cold, lacking compassion, ruthless, etc. It is almost as if a confident woman is a threat to society and therefore we cannot have her. No wonder there are so many women, of all cultures, in various roles of stature trying fervently to break down that stereotype. There is a false i”f, then statement”associated with being a confident woman. The result, typically negative.
If I outrun the boys, then I won’t get asked out on a date.
If I ace this test, then I won’t be invited to the party.
If I want a career more than a family, then I don’t have a heart.
If I don’t like to cook and clean and I am okay with it, then I am not really a woman.
If I am outgoing, then I am a flirt (and other girls won’t talk to me).
The list goes on and the quotient is a room filled with beautiful, talented, driven, curious, athletic, intelligent scaredy cats dressed as women.
The problem? Well, I believe there are several, but I think part of it (at least, for me) is the misunderstanding of where I place my confidence.
If I place my confidence solely on my elf and my abilities, then I cower. I become acutely aware of my flaws and believe that I am incapable.
However, If I place my confidence in the God of the universe, the very hands that designed every part of me, the Savior that knit together my talent and ability, then I can make manifest the glory of God that is within me.
My confidence is not my own. I believe that the more I begin to know Jesus Christ, the more my fear of confidence will diminish. To be confident is not synonymous with being prideful. Through the lens of the gospel, my confidence should be evidence of my sanctification because, “I am not in darkness…for I am a child of light” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Jesus commands us to love, to rejoice, to pray without ceasing. He does not ask us to try, no! He tells us to boldly approach His throne and to confidently do His work because it is not through our power, but His that these things can be accomplished.
So, what am I saying? Dear daughter, child of God, walk forward and don’t be afraid to be confident.
thank You for who You are and for the gift of confidence you so graciously give. I thank You that I did not have to earn it, and I pray that You would help me to grow in it and glorify You as I do so.]