Sometimes people tell me I should be more confident.

And sometimes I am tempted to get offended.

I think, “I was feeling perfectly fine about myself until you said that! Now I’m questioning myself and feeling increasingly insecure and angry!” But I guess that reaction pretty much exposes the issue right there. If I was fully confident in myself, would those kind of comments even bother me?

I brought it up with my dad this morning during our weekly Skype chat,

and he told me a story about his dissection partners in med school. One would always confidently assert his opinion, the other would meekly suggest his, but the meek guy was usually right. My dad’s pointed out that someone’s outward impression might not match their inward feelings. Just because the meek guy gently suggested his opinion didn’t mean he doubted himself. Maybe people have been misunderstanding me in a similar way.

Another takeaway also strikes me: Empty confidence (i.e. confidently asserting your opinion when you’re wrong) is pretty useless. Confidence isn’t something you should strive for in and of itself. It’s only worth something if it is built on actual ability/knowledge.

Though I feel resentful when people tell me to be more confident

though I am tempted to try to prove myself to them (by completely disregarding their advice or ceasing to seek their opinion, which I realize makes no sense), when it comes down to it, I know all that is foolishness.

It doesn’t actually matter whether people think I have self-confidence or not. What matters is whether I do.

Last weekend, God reminded me, in that way He does, how much He loves me.

The deeper I go into the heart of God, the more I realize it is full of LOVE. He says the things I didn’t even realize I was longing to hear. He knows all my insecurities and fears, but He always treats me so gently! (Except when I need to be snapped out of foolishness.) The things He says to me.. sometimes all I can do is weep.

When I am lacking in self-esteem, there are a lot of voices I may be listening to (Satan, my own negative thoughts, well-meaning friends, mean people), but I know for sure I’m not listening to Him.

When I listen to Him, this is what I know: I may not be the most put-together person, but I have His heart of love. I may not always assert my opinion as confidently as I could, but I am learning to be bold. I may occasionally get lost in my thoughts and look wide-eyed and clueless when someone springs something on me, but that is part of my charm. I may get hurt when my friends criticize me, but that is because I dare to open my heart to them. I may evaluate my abilities and talents harshly, but that is because I am striving for a high standard. I may occasionally doubt myself, but I have full confidence in the One who covers my every weakness and whose love and faith in me continually change me to be better than I was.

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Elizabeth is an American living in South Korea who believes in destiny, miracles, and living life intentionally. She holds to simple faith in a complex world, values the beauty of the everyday, and strives for vulnerability with other imperfect humans. She is always learning, laughing, and finding herself in awe of grace.

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