Lately being confident has been a real struggle for me. Everyday something seems to chip away little by little at the confidence I have. Those days when I wake up still tired, feeling down, my husband says something critical, my daughter is grouchy, my shower is cold, I spill coffee on my pants, and my car doesn’t start, I feel like giving up and that’s just the morning! Why is life so hard?
With the chilly weather and lack of sunshine this summer lover is no Ray of sunshine. Some days positivity seems like a season that will never come. How do I stay positive and confident when it is the last thing I feel?
I love the song Just Be Held by Casting Crowns. The lyrics read , “if your eyes are on the storm you’ll wonder if I love you still, but if your eyes are on the cross you’ll know I always have and I always will”. I think my problem is that my eyes are on the storms. I worry and get angry and try to control it all. Instead of setting my eyes on the One who has overcome those problems and completely trust in Him. Christ died to set us free. If we are still trying to control the outcome of everything, than we are not living Free.
Control sets up boundaries that say you can’t go here or you can’t go there. Freedom says go, do! When I have my dog under control he is essentially restrained. The reality however is when I am restraining him my hands are busy and I am restrained as well. I might look like I have things under control but I assure you that is not always the case. Sometimes it takes all I have to keep him under control and I am so busy trying to control him I can’t enjoy the walk. Controlling people are often controlled by their own need to control things. (Say that ten times fast.) We are not free to do the things we want to do. This causes us to be ineffective and sometimes paralyzed in moving forward in a positive manner. I have learned the more upset and uptight I become the harder it is to control my dog. However when I relax and act in confidence my dog responds positively.
Consider for a moment the story of Jesus and the paralytic. His friends carried him to Jesus because he was paralyzed. Not only could they not get to Jesus from the doorway they actually had to climb on the roof and make a hole large enough to lower their friend down. Imagine Jesus teaching in the center of a packed room while strange noises begin to erupt from above. At first he continues to teach but the noise becomes more and more distracting. Pieces of sheetrock begin to crumble and fall as the ceiling seems to come alive. Eventually it is so distracting Jesus stops talking altogether and his eyes move to the ceiling, all are watching now as a hole opens and shouts of men can be heard instructing one another as they lower their paralyzed friend to the floor. The Bible says Jesus saw their faith and because of it told the paralyzed man his sins were forgiven! I’m sure that’s not at all what anyone was expecting. His sins are forgiven? If I was one of those friends I probably would have said, “Jesus we carried him all the way here because he’s paralyzed! We cut a hole in the roof so you could heal him. Can’t you see that?” Jesus didn’t give him what everyone was expecting, but he gave him what he needed. Think about this, have you ever felt so down about yourself that you felt paralyzed to change your circumstances? Perhaps a past mistake keeps you from becoming who you want to be? Are you so guilty about the person you’ve been that you don’t think you deserve anything better than what you’ve got? We don’t have to actually be paralyzed to feel paralyzed. Do you know “paralyze” in the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary is defined as, “ to make powerless or ineffective”. Some of us are paralyzed on the inside. Haven’t we all felt powerless or ineffective at some point in our lives? So many times I’ve felt frustrated with the direction of my life. I felt like I had no control, and I tried to control everything. I wasn’t free at all. I was miserable. When Jesus set the paralytic free there was no outward evidence of his change. It’s difficult to believe that something has changed when it doesn’t look any different than it always has. So to prove a point Jesus said “so you will know I have authority over sins, pick up your mat and walk.” The paralytic jumped up and picked up his mat and headed out as the audience stood staring in disbelief. Imagine his silhouette outlined by the setting sun as he reaches the doorway, he jumps up and clicks his heels together with the mat tucked under his arm. Ok, it probably didn’t happen exactly that way. But the point I want to make is that Jesus knows the changes that need to happen are on the inside first. We can’t always change everything that’s going on around us. But we can change our attitude about it. That’s why Christ works from the inside out. Once the inside is transformed, the outside becomes transformed too!
As we become who Christ set us free to become we get to stop trying to control things and trust the One who can handle everything. Having confidence in Christ helps me to feel confident that everything is going to be just the way it should and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, coffee stained pants and all. Remember Jeremiah 29:11 that reads, “For I know the plans I have for you, says The Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has good plans for us. When bad things happen we can know that it’s not Gods plan for us but he can use it for our good. We can have confidence and a positive attitude regardless of our circumstances by making a decision to do so. The feelings will follow eventually. In the meantime, with confidence, tuck Jeremiah 29:11 under your arm and head out, maybe even click your heels together and know your future will be all right.