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Blueprint for Confidence

Blueprint for Confidence

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” — Hebrews 13:6

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? — Psalm 56:3-4

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. — Proverbs 3:25-26

Women have a self-confidence problem.

They lack the confidence that men seem to have in droves. This lack of confidence, though, isn’t confined to women who walk the corridors of power in Washington or occupy corner offices in corporate America. Indeed, if those women struggle, just imagine what it’s like for the rest of us.

You’ve undoubtedly sensed those disquieting emotions gnawing at the pit of your stomach: The hesitancy to speak up for fear that you’ll embarrass yourself or say something stupid. The reluctance to volunteer for a position because you’re afraid you’ll disappoint. The agonizing distress that someone will poke a hole through your fragile veneer and discover that you are an impostor.

These feelings are inside us all. We just keep them stuffed down where no one can see.

Whether you are

  • white-collar or blue, boardroom or mudroom, skyscraper or barn;
  • spikes or sandals, designer or thrift, petite or plus;
  • pop or hip-hop, salad or steak, Prius or Ram…

Whether you spend your day changing dirty diapers or negotiating corporate deals, chances are you also struggle with insecurities, fears, and self-doubt…

The antonym of confidence is diffidence. You may not have heard that word before. It’s an old-fashioned word that’s largely absent from popular vernacular. Nowadays, most people use the word insecure instead. But diffidence is an important word to know when studying confidence. That’s because confidence and diffidence are mirror opposites of each other.

Confident and diffident both trace back to the Latin verb fidere, which means “to trust.” Both have to do with the amount of trust a person places in someone or something. The word confident adds the intensifying prefix con-, which means “plenty of,” whereas diffident adds the prefix dis-, which means “the absence of.”

Confidence means that someone has plenty of trust.

Diffidence means she has an absence of trust.

Both words have been used since about the fifteenth century and usually with reference to how much trust a person places in him-or herself. Confident people place plenty of trust in themselves. Diffident people don’t. When it comes to their own ability, they lack trust…

Confident women are lionhearted; diffident women are mousy and sheepish. Confident women act in a bold manner; diffident women remain paralyzed by fear. Confident women dare; diffident women don’t. Which type of woman would you rather be?

Um, the confident woman, Captain Obvious.

Of course you want to be a confident woman and not a diffident one! I want to be a confident woman. I want my daughters-in-law and my granddaughters to be confident women. I want my friends to be confident women. I want you to be a confident woman.

The question is, how? How do you transform your can’t-do into a can-do? How do you turn your cowardice into bravery?

Telling a woman who feels diffident to “just be more confident” is like telling an emaciated refugee to “just eat more.” It doesn’t work. The refugee needs to find a safe haven and a good, reliable food source before she can sink her teeth into something that will satisfy her hunger.

We cannot deal with our lack of confidence by simply resolving to be more confident. Looking within—as self-experts advise us to do — is a nonsensical solution. The reason we’re looking for more confidence is that those cupboards are bare.

We’ve discovered that confidence comes from the Latin word which means “plenty of trust” or “firmly trusting.” The concept of trust is central to the Bible’s view of confidence. So central that it uses the words trust and confidence interchangeably.

For example, when Job’s friend, Eliphaz, accused Job of relying on his great wealth rather than relying on God, Job vigorously denied the charge. Job claimed that he had never “made gold [his][his] confidence” (Job 31:24, emphasis added).

Interestingly, in this verse the Christian Standard Bible uses the word confidence where the English Standard Version uses the word trust, and trust where the other version uses the word confidence. Thus, in this second translation, gold is Job’s confidence and fine gold his trust. Why the switcheroo? Did the translator get mixed up? No. The reason for the flip-flop word choice is that the Bible views trust and confidence as the same thing. The Hebrew words in this verse can be translated either way.

Confidence means trust. Trust means confidence.

There’s something else super interesting about Job 31:24. Here, Job used a type of Hebrew poetry called parallelism. That means that the two lines mimic each other. The second line says the exact same thing as the first, albeit in a slightly different way. The parallelism reinforces the fact that making gold your trust and calling it your confidence mean the same thing.

Confidence means trust. Trust means confidence.

The first line in Job 31:24 does use a slightly different Hebrew word for trust/confidence than the second. This is also significant. The word in the first line, kesel, means “trust or confidence.” The word in the second line, mibtah, means “the object of one’s trust or confidence.” Why is this significant? Because it indicates that the Bible views confidence and the object or source of that confidence as inseparably linked…

The Bible’s code for confidence is based on where I actually place my trust and not on my emotions; it doesn’t matter how bold or fearful I may feel.

I may possess all the positive energy and confidence in the world, but if my trust is misplaced, that confidence is foolish and fragile. On the other hand, even when I feel afraid, I can choose to embrace smart, strong confidence. As the psalmist declared,

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. — Psalm. 56:3 CSB

Excerpted with permission from The Right Kind of Confident by Mary A. Kassian, copyright Mary A. Kassian.

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Your Turn

We have a problem. It’s one of confidence. But, when we place our trust in the One who holds the universe in His hands, we don’t have to be insecure and afraid! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily