My Lack of Self-Confidence is the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me

Lacking Confidence

I get the impression people think I’m self-confident. I’m not.

At least, I don’t have confidence in myself when it comes to being able to do what’s right. Quite the contrary. Going by my track record I am confident that I will often do what’s wrong, both in words spoken or unspoken and in actions known or unknown.

I know me. And if you knew the things I think and say and do as well as I know these things, you’d understand why I have little confidence in myself.

Perhaps you see yourself the same way.

Losing Confidence

The book of Nehemiah tells the story of the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile. The Israelites had been conquered, stripped of their wealth and carried off to faraway captivity by a cruel king. But as years went on a new king and kingdom came to power, one God used to restore his people. Nehemiah, one of the exiles and an advisor to this new king, led a group of his people back to Jerusalem.

On arrival, he saw the sorry state of the city. It was still in ruins, and foreigners who moved into the area after the Israelites were banished wanted to keep it that way. Nehemiah and the people pressed on despite opposition – including death threats and political intrigue – and completed the restoration of the city walls.

And their enemies? The enemies lost their confidence.

So the wall was completed … in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. (Nehemiah 6:15-16.)

I can understand why, if their confidence was merely in themselves. After all, note where Nehemiah and the Israelites got their help from.

Gaining Confidence

Confidence must be hard to come by.

People speak of building confidence, instilling confidence and losing confidence, giving the impression that confidence is hard-won and slippery to hold onto. It’s as if confidence were your responsibility.

In a way, it is. You have a responsibility to confidence itself.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrews 10:35.)

What is this confidence you are to hold onto? It is the Lord God, your Savior.

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13.)

It is also confidence in the work he has done and is doing in you for the sake of his gospel of good news.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:4-6.)

One aspect of this good news about Jesus and his work in you is that the confidence is not of your own making. You don’t have to come up with one stitch of confidence. It is a product of God’s righteousness, not of your own will.

The fruit of [the Lord’s] righteousness will be peace;
    its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. (Isaiah 32:17.)

This is God’s blessing for his people.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7.)

This confidence in God is a gift from him. This is the confidence you are not to throw away, the confidence that will be richly rewarded as you continue in your life in God, as that verse above from Hebrews promises.

He is the One you need never lose confidence in. He is the One you can be eternally confident of.


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17 Responses to My Lack of Self-Confidence is the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me

  1. So agree with this. God gets the glory.

  2. I couldn’t help but think of those lyrics from The Sound of Music: “I have confidence in confidence alone/Besides which, you see, I have confidence in me!” Maria gives herself a musical pep talk to convince herself that she can succeed and all will be well — but there’s nothing beyond herself (well, other than sunshine and rain) to have confidence IN. So I like how you explain it here: that confidence — like faith, and hope, and so many other things essential to our Christian life — is a gift from God and is focused on God.

  3. Laura says:

    Great post Tim, and it reminds me of themes of my book: Positively Powerless. We need God-confidence, not self-confidence.

    • Tim says:

      God-confidence is a great way to put it, Laura.

      • Laura says:

        To give credit, I got it from The Message rendering of 1 Cor 10:11-12. Excerpt from my book:

        “True power is found in a Christ-centered life. I appreciate how The Message words 1 Corinthians 10:11-12, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident…You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate
        God-confidence.” Our goal should not be self-confidence, but confidence in Christ and what Christ can do in our life.”

  4. Gwen Jorgensen says:

    This is good. I also wonder, if sometimes we go ahead and unconsciously have confidence in the very gifts or abilities God gave us, and forget their source. I’ve had confidence slip sometimes in the midst of a performance or something I may have done a thousand times. Also, does God sometimes shut one thing in our life off, to build our confidence in His ability to reveal abilities, or growth that we’ve never seen in ourselves before?

    You’ve got me ruminating on the day to day practicalities of overall confidence in Christ, and his abilities to complete His work in our daily lives.

    • Tim says:

      When it comes to remembering the source I think of the passage that asks, “What do you have that you have not been given? “

  5. ezerkenegedo says:

    Better to be confident in our wise, mighty and loving God than my own limited self. The problem is, as a human, I like the idea of being all those things only God is and having confidence in self. There is a too often battle of seeking my own glory or His it seems. But He is faithful to finish the work He has begun! Phew!

  6. “He is the One you can be eternally confident of.”
    Indeed, “mon âme se confie en Dieu,” Psaume 62.
    Because when God is all you’ve got, He is all you need.

  7. Opa Bear says:

    Spot on, Tim. Self-confidence is confidence in something that sooner rather than later is going to give way.

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