“Godfidence” is trusting God is in control and that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Godfidence is trusting that all things, even difficult and painful things, can work together for good, if we tune into the Spirit who is at work in us. Godfidence is an essential attitude and approach to life for a person of faith. However, it doesn’t completely replace self-confidence.
A number of years ago, one of my mentors told me: “A good leader has to be able to rely on themself, their wisdom, skills, abilities, experience and training. As a child of God, we must trust God. As a disciple, we must trust the teachings of Jesus, the leading of the Spirit, and the spiritual mentors and coaches God brings into our lives. However, if you want to mature, you need to learn to trust yourself as well.”
I believe Jesus teaches the same. For example, Jesus instructs his followers to be savvy as serpents and pure as doves. Why? Because we need to be able to trust in ourselves and our ability to make wise and good decisions; and to make choices that honour our own growth and well-being, and the good of other people and parts of creation impacted by our choices.
Learning to trust yourself, believe in yourself, be confident in yourself, is an important spiritual practice, one that Christians often overlook or replace with Godfidence. But we need both the savvy serpent and the pure dove in our lives. We need Godfidence and self-confidence.
One of the primary strategies for developing self-confidence is to keep the promises you make to yourself. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you’re going to clean your room, get in shape, finish a project, start going to a therapist or quit an unhealthy habit, make sure you do it. When you routinely fail to follow through on your commitments, you stop believing in yourself. You lose confidence in yourself when you say, “I’ll start tomorrow,” or, “I’ll get on that next week,” but you don’t. You realize you are unreliable, and this leads to all manner of suffering.
Self-confidence is about integrity: “I am who I say I am, I do what I say I will do.” However, it is not arrogant, condescending or proud. It is not comparative. Self-confidence focuses on yourself, not others. It’s not thinking you are better or more productive, successful or committed than others are. It is simply being able to rely on your self to follow through and make wise decisions.
Self-confidence doesn’t mean you won’t fail. In fact, you’ll probably experience more failure. The more self-confident you are, the more you are willing to take risks and fail, because your self-image and self-worth aren’t impacted by failure or rejection. You know failure isn’t permanent; it’s just part of the process that leads to progress.
Life is research and failure is data. It’s discovering another way that doesn’t accomplish the results you are seeking. When you are self-confident, you know you’ll get through failure, you’ll learn and grow through it. In fact, one of the best ways to learn and grow is through failure. It doesn’t frighten you, because you know you can rely on yourself to get back up and try again, or change your goals in light of what you learn through failure.
Another strategy that helps us develop self-confidence is to surround ourselves with people who believe in us. Most of us struggle with a certain amount of self-doubt, no matter how much encouragement and positive reinforcement we received growing up.
A good way to build self-confidence is to find a faith community that encourages and empowers one another. Not all churches are like this, but many are.
My first experience at a Mennonite church, 25 years ago, radically changed my life. One reason for this was that the church community believed in me and repeatedly told me they believed in me.
This was a season of life when I doubted myself. Over time, their belief in me helped me value myself, love myself and trust myself. They convinced me that I was worth believing in.
My hope is that the church continues to be a place that encourages and believes in people, a community that teaches everyone to be Godfident and confident.
Troy Watson (email@example.com) is grateful for the people and churches that believed in him.
Read more Life in the Postmodern Shift columns:
Christ in you
Good Friday and the important travel companion
Solitude and community
She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes