Tuesday, July 30, 2013

When We Lose Confidence

When is it, exactly, in our lifetime when we start to lose our self confidence?  When is it that we start to feel self conscious?  When is it that we start to lose sight of what makes us come alive, and rather choose to act in a way that we feel “safe” in the eyes of those around us?

Just a few weeks ago, I realized that my oldest child, a mere 6 ½ years old, is starting to feel less than adequate in some areas.  And my heart broke in a whole new way.

Twice a week, we try to quick clean the whole house.  It’s amazing how quickly things around here can clutter up and get grimy!  To make it fun, we play some upbeat tunes, set a timer, and see if we can finish cleaning the room in the allotted time.  It’s become our favorite way to get our chores done, and I’m often asked on non-cleaning days if we could “just do timer cleaning on just one room, pleeeeaaaase!” 

Once the timer is set, and our playlist is queued up, dust rags, vacuums and mops join the chorus of many voices singing, little fists pumping in the air.  Yes, cleaning day over here is wild and loud, but we don’t mind getting our chores done!

Just a few weeks ago, as I sprayed everyone’s dust rags during one of our favorite cleaning songs, I noticed one less voice joining our chorus.  There stood my oldest, cleaning, but clearly feeling awkward, restraining himself from joining in our family fun. 

I took him aside to see what the matter was, thinking he wasn’t feeling well or that perhaps he had something else on his mind.  I didn’t expect him to say, “Mom, it’s just that I don’t sing as well as you or Noah, so I thought I wouldn’t be a bother and not sing at all.”  Of course, my first response was, “Honey, of course you’re as good as us!  You should still sing!”  His little brother was listening and also rushed into the scene, attempting to encourage big brother and tell him he sings beautifully. 

Later that day, my dear son said he wanted to talk.  “I know I’m not as good as you are at singing.  I also know that I am good at other things.  I just don’t want to do the things I’m not good at anymore.” 

Time to be honest:  as much as I absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, LOVE to hear my son sing, it’s true that he’s not going to be recording a Billboard hit in his future.  But my heart was to encourage him not to quit.  Singing is praising, and the Lord only requires us to make a joyful noise, not a perfectly harmonic noise.  Besides, who is to say who is good and who is better?  And furthermore, who says that you can’t improve if you just keep trying?

These are all the things that were whirling through my head, but all that came out of my mouth was “for now let me pray about this and we’ll talk later.”  Thank you Lord for teaching me a little restraint!  The more I thought about it, the more I realized, our choice to restrain ourselves, sometimes resulting in fear, comes from our inability to realize who we were created to be.  The truth is, we were each designed specifically by the Creator of the Universe, who chose to place stars in the sky, give me my curly hair, and give my son the voice He gave him (which by the way is one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard in my life).

I realized that I am just now entering into a season of knowing who I am, and not in the sense of what I want to be or do with my life.  No, in being who I am unapologetically.  In knowing that my sense of humor is a gift, and that my intelligence is not a bad thing.  In feeling comfortable in my own skin and with my own voice. In passionately following things He placed in my heart with no excuses, no restraint.  I will not be the best at anything I do.  There is always going to be someone more creative, more proficient, smarter, more organized.  And I have let that silly truth stop me in my tracks so many times.  But my Creator has made me exactly who I am, and has told me in 2 Timothy 1:7 that I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. 

And the more I prayed about what to tell my son, I realized that I would be supportive no matter what he chooses, as long as he walks along in the confidence that God intended for him.  There are other ways to praise, and he is my one who reads and loves the Word.  He speaks truth over each one of us.  I know that he desires a relationship with the living God, rather than religion.  But still, he is 6.  He has a lot to learn, develop, and practice.  So we sat down and examined some Scripture together to figure this one out.  Here’s a sampling of what we discussed:

1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness in to his wonderful light.”  (emphasis added)

Psalm 139:13-16
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

1 Samuel 16:7
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’”
Matthew 5:13-14
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

1 Peter 2:5
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

I looked at his little face and told him how precious he was not just to me and our family, but to His King who made him just the way he is.  As his smile spread across his face, it seemed like a light bulb came on.  He apologized for not singing…indeed, he wants to sing…and dance…and play instruments…this boy was a fountain once we tapped into him!  I reminded him he doesn’t sing for us, but for His King…I think he gets it now.  He’s been singing louder and longer ever since, even writing some of his own songs.  I cannot help but ask myself what if we never talked this one through?  What would have happened to this passion that I see in him now?

When do we lose our confidence?  When is it that we abandon what is in our hearts for something that is seemingly acceptable? 

When we lose sight of who we are living and breathing for.  When we choose to please the created rather than the Creator.  When we have enough self awareness to finally learn what sacrifice might be.  But in sacrificing what others think of us, we rest in a place of true joy, walking in confidence, and becoming the person we were destined to become.

Here are some of my boy’s latest worship lyrics:

            God, you are my King,
            The best King,
            The only King.
            You are more powerful than anything.
            You are my King.
            You are my King.

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