Confidence

Let me tell you about my middle school basketball experience.

I sucked.

Seriously. I was the girl who sat on the bench and watched all the good kids play their hearts out. I cheered them on. I handed them their water. I may have even kept the book a time or two. Occasionally, when the team had a large lead, I was allowed to hit the court and pretend I knew what I was doing. I am so thankful my kids take after their dad in the athletic department.

Could I have worked harder? Probably.

Could I have earned a spot on the court? I suppose anything is possible.

But did I want to? Nah…not really. I was on the team because my friends were on the team. They played. I watched.

After that season, I decided I would break off and try the pom-pom squad and eventually landed a spot on the cheerleading squad. I wasn’t great at those either, but I was staying active and trying new things. In the process of these formidable years, I learned…

First, I learned it is good to try new things. I am as clumsy and introverted as one can get. I did not belong on the basketball court or the sidelines. I should have been watching from the student section, but my friends and teachers encouraged me to try out, so I did. It was not easy, especially for someone with no athletic ability, but I knew that even if I didn’t make the team, I would have no regrets simply because I tried. Sometimes saying yes to trying something new is the hardest part…

I also learned to be teachable. My basketball coach always included me in plays and I did my best to learn all things basketball. I was willing to try and I have needed that teachable spirit throughout my entire life. We aren’t born knowing all the things. We aren’t even born with great, magical talent. We discover the talent and nurture it. Sometimes our nurturing leads to a gift. Other times, it leads to a lesson. Thanks to a couple of brilliant high school teachers, I learned the talent I needed to nurture was not athletic in nature. My talent was putting pen to page.

I also learned to be the best cheerleader, er, rather, encourager. I wasn’t the best on the sidelines. My friends could cheer louder, flip better, and jump higher than me. I just followed their lead, smiled, waved my spirit fingers, and enjoyed the ride. As I did, I learned what it meant to be an encourager. I learned to affirm my friends in the things they excelled at – whether that be pumping up a crowd, studying for a big exam, or pursuing life goals. I learned to tell my friends they were pretty and talented and capable and strong – and I learned to do so without a jealous heart. I didn’t want to be them because I was confident in who I was.

And doesn’t it all boil down to confidence?

I had to learn this – and, to be honest, I am still learning. The confidence I am talking about is not self-made confidence. It is not believing you can do whatever it is you want to do because you are strong and capable. Confidence, to me, is believing God gave you specific abilities. That he created you to do something in particular; to be someone specific. Confidence is trusting God to flesh out in you that which he thoughtfully designed for you long before you took your first breath. Confidence is knowing God has a plan and purpose for your life – and it might be a bit different that you think.

Let me take you on a trip down memory lane to explain…

In high school, I thought for sure I would go to school to be a psychologist. I loved to be the person to walk through problems with others. I went to college and started my journey in social work. It was not long before I realized the problems of the world were much greater than the problems of high school girls and I did not finish that journey. My heart ached in class and I knew I could not be the person needed in a crisis. After some fumbling and stumbling, I ended up with a generic business degree, still dabbling in psychology because it was a fascinating world. I was working in retail at the time, where I happily stayed for fifteen years {best job ever}. I used my psychology background often to help my team in a variety of ways and loved the way God meshed both worlds.  

After my retail days were over, I found myself in the strange world of childcare. I can’t say this was my favorite job, but I can say this is where my heart was opened to family ministry. It was because of this world that I pursued my master’s degree. My degree proved somewhat useful as I worked at a small church for a couple of years, and eventually drove me back into the childcare world for a brief time before working as a student advisor in the online education field. After traveling the state and working with students one-on-one, I am now in a sometimes-mind-numbing position doing data entry and helping the counseling team. Don’t take that the wrong way. I love my job. I love serving the counselers. It is just not a job I envisioned I would be doing at this point in my life. I am not sure I ever really defined what I wanted to do after realizing being a psychologist wasn’t it, but I think I was hoping for something a little more challenging and fulfilling. I miss that feeling of accomplishment sometimes.

I am easily frustrated by my hodge-podge of employment. I have always wanted the opportunity to use my knowledge and make an impact. As I think about the roles in each of my jobs, I can’t help but also think of how I could have made an impact if someone would have trusted me enough to let me. My job experiences have brought me many things, but never that feeling one gets when they know they are doing exactly what God wants them to do. Each job I have held had me learning new things. I had to have a teachable spirit and I found myself being an encourager. I needed confidence to succeed as well, but do you know what every job didn’t allow for?

Writing.

Words are my jam. My gift. The talent God graciously gave me. With every job, I had to communicate, and yes, of course, I used words. But each of those jobs took me away from the one true thing that brought me joy. Except…the sometimes-mind-numbing job that I currently hold. In this job, I can get things done quickly, have no work baggage sapping my energy, and I am free to write. I am free to experience that place I have been longing for; that space where I know I belong.

Funny, no?

My greatest desire is to make an impact on the world. I want people to know and love Jesus the way I do – and I thought I could accomplish this as a conduit for Him in a position that would allow me to use my knowledge. But instead, He wants to use my gifts. He wants me to write. To share Him with others through the written word. He has given me the perfect job that pays my bills and opens my schedule so that I can do just that.

I love the way God uses everything – absolutely everything, in our lives. Not one detail is wasted. I can trace each of these jobs and see where God was moving to lead me along the path. Step by step – right to this very moment. Dad was always my biggest fan and encourager. He always asked how my writing was going. He talked me through scene options for my book and helped me when I was stuck. He encouraged me to clear my schedule and pencil in time to write. If he was still here, I might still be procrastinating…

Have you ever connected the dots of life to see God’s fingerprints in all the details? His purpose for each of us is intentional. His calling us is non-negotiable. Our obedience is essential. Will you be confident in following His lead? Don’t let time run out. Walk boldly the path he has set out for you – and be free.

~ D 🙂

This entry was posted in blessings, career, dreams, encouragement, goals, God, growing up, Memories, self worth, spirituality, things that matter, wisdom, women, words for the week, work. Bookmark the permalink.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s