Faith, Hope, & Love

Where Is Your Confidence?

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 - Our competence comes from God

This morning I was reading in 2 Corinthians and the following verse made me stop and pause, so I wrote it down on my handy 3×5 index card for future reference:

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.     2 Corinthians 3:5

I want to be a writer. Notice I said I want to, not I am.

I’ve only been writing things for over twenty years – either marketing copy or fiction stories. No matter which, the reality is I struggle with believing in myself. My takeaway from this verse is God’s telling me if I believe in him, I need to believe in myself.

After getting the kids off to school, I took a walk and the verse rattled around in my head. But for some reason the key word competence turned into the word confidence (I wonder who put that there?). As I mulled around thoughts about confidence, I knew I needed to come home and look up the word in the dictionary.

I love words. Definitions, synonyms – all of it. I also love seeing connections words have with other words.  So here’s what the website http://www.dictionary.com says about

CONFIDENCE: full trust; belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance:

And I love the example they gave in a sentence: His lack of confidence defeated him.

Is my lack of confidence in my abilities as a writer defeating me?

I think about my writing and the nudges I have had over the past five years and I know without a doubt God wants me to do this, otherwise doors would’ve closed on me long ago. However I’m not fully doing what he wants me to do because I have not had the confidence to just do it.

I’ve been saying for a while now, I would like to write devotionals. I have this strong innate desire to share hope, encouragement and God’s Word with others. What I haven’t been sure about is the how and what. So I haven’t done it, period.

When I took my walk this am something clicked and I couldn’t wait to get back home because I needed to do this right now. God has confidence in me. He has given me the desire. He’s nudging me to do this. Why have I not done this? Why?

I’m afraid – that’s why. What am I so afraid of? Putting myself out there? Looking like an idiot? Is that confidence then? I know I’m not looking for accolades, not looking for stardom. I just want to write and share my heart. But I’ve been too scared to do that.

Then I saw the Synonyms for confidence – 1. faith, reliance, dependence.

And the Antonym – 1. mistrust.

Wow!

In a nutshell, my lack of confidence in myself (lack of faith) and the abilities God has given me (lack of faith, dependence) are holding me back from sharing something he wants me to share.

I’m not really trusting God then, am I? If I have faith, I should have confidence in what he’s asking me to do. And I need to depend on Him when I do it.

So here I am today. Writing a devotional and setting up a specific devotional page on my website. Only God knows what will happen. I just need to have the confidence to do it (already the nagging doubts are creeping in). I must rely on God with the rest.

But wait, there’s more. When I grabbed my Bible to write in the verse, I realized I made a mistake (was it really?) and the word was competence not confidence. Oh no! Do I scrap what I just wrote? Does it even relate? See maybe I shouldn’t be doing this after all. I paused for a moment then decided to look it up:

COMPETENCE: having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc., for some purpose; properly qualified:

And the Synonym: 1. fit, capable, proficient.

No antonym. Interesting. There is no negative/opposite of being competent.  You either are or you are not. I may not be the best writer, but I know I am proficient. So what am I waiting for?

Then I looked at 2 Corinthians 3:4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.

If God has given you skills – you are capable to use them for his glory. You just need to have the confidence through Him to do it. 

What abilities (competence) has God given you?  Where do you put your confidence?  In your own efforts, schedule, skills, voices in your head? Or do you trust God?  Do you have the confidence to put yourself out there with whatever it is?

God has given us all skills. We are all competent in something. Being competent does not need to mean you are the best at something.

Being competent means you are proficient. You can get the job done.

We let our own voices tell us we are not competent because we think we need to be the best or someone does it better than us and we let it affect our confidence which in turn affects what we do.    

Everyone’s path is different and God has one he wants you to follow. He has given you these skills for a reason. You just have to have confidence in Him that He is with you every step of the way.

God believes in you and I believe in you too!

Faith, Hope, & Love

Love & Hope, 1 Corinthians 13:7

Heart Clip Art 55

Depending on the moment, certain bible verses can stand out and speak to us in a new way.  As I work on my overall theme for my writing, I know I want to write about hope. Hope in Jesus and hope in our lives. 

I also want to write about love. Jesus’ love and romantic love. I came across a bible verse that jumped out at me with this exact theme. Then I opened my bible to find it and what I read was completely different.    

It took me a minute and then I remembered there are lots of different translations of the bible. I wanted to find the specific one I saw. So I dug a little deeper and of course, Googled it.  Sure enough the version I was looking for was the NLT (New Life Translation). It reads like this:

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.  1 Corinthians 13:7.

I looked a bit and found a few other translations.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres – NIV

Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – NKJV

I find it interesting the different words that are used to say the same thing and how they speak to us differently at different times. 

I like the idea that in a romantic story a couple who find “true love” have withstood whatever conflict has been thrown at them. They ultimately did not give up on each other and what they have ended up with is something wonderful and special.

I like how this verse can communicate that. 

But after pondering a while on all that, I could see a bigger truth in this statement.

God’s love never gives up

God’s love never loses faith

God’s love is always hopeful

God’s love endures through every circumstance. 

That no matter where you are or where you are going, God loves you. 

Always (NIV version), in Everything (NKJV).  And his love will bear all things. God’s love always protects. God’s love always perseveres. He’s not going to shelter us from things happening.  But his love for us will help us persevere. Through anything.

There’s a peace in that thought.  Something to take root in our hearts.  Because when we are full of HIS Love, then we can love others the way God wants us to.