Hebrews 4:16 Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16. Why this verse? Because that is where I find my confidence: in God alone. I want to talk to you this morning about confidence and reassure you that if you aren’t feeling confident, you are not alone! We all go through periods when we do not feel like we have it all together, and there are probably many times that we feel alone. Life is tough. I write daily because I feel an urgency from the Lord to share His word, and I pray that some of what I say may be a blessing to someone today and perhaps give someone the confidence and courage they are seeking.
Today, I want to take you back to the days of my youth. Indulge me for just a moment. Imagine this: There was a girl in school who was very skinny and gangly, gawky, and nerdy. She didn’t have much of a figure, she was flat chested, and had no curves at all…well you get the picture. This girl also had to wear thick glasses because she couldn’t see well. She was practically blind. The glasses were as thick as those old glass coke bottles. To make matters even worse, she had a terrible overbite. When I say overbite, I mean a a serious overbite. She covered her mouth when she spoke. She would have crawled under a building or wished that the earth would swallow her up rather than stand in front of a crowded room to speak to people. Do you have a picture of her in your minds eye? Let’s fast forward almost 40 years. That gawky, nerdy, girl is now this woman who is sitting at my kitchen table full of confidence writing these words as I prepare my mind and heart for my busy work day. This confidence has come to me very gradually through the years. My chest is still flat. I’m still not much to look at. I now have to wear reading glasses to read as my eyes have grown old. I have ridiculously curly hair that I often have to color to hide the gray. Yep, I’m still a work in progress, but by God’s grace, I come before you with confidence!
When I was in high school, I thought that high school was the whole world. High school is awesome for the popular kids, the ones who are great at sports, the ones who are excelling, but it’s not always a fun place to be. It wasn’t fun for me at all. So what changed? How did I go from being a shy wall flower to become the blooming idiot before you today? Let me share a few secrets with you. My dream in high school was to become a nurse or a writer. When I graduated high school, I wanted to go to nursing school, but that meant I had to take a speech class. I wasn’t ready for that. Instead I went to work for a couple of years, basically it was because I was scared to death to take speech class and make speeches. I gradually began taking night classes, yes…including speech, and I excelled in those classes. I’ve always been blessed with good grades, and I have always been determined to do my best no matter what I am trying to do. I was accepted into nursing school, and graduated valedictorian of my class, but then…because God has jokes…I had to make a speech at graduation…in front of a whole gymnasium full of people…I literally thought I was going to pee my pants. But I did not, and I made the speech and survived!
After graduating nursing school and acquiring a job, I found my smile. I met an awesome orthodontist who corrected my overbite by using a combination of braces and oral surgery to break my jaw and screw it back together. It seems I had what is called a hypoplastic mandible. That means that the bones of my jaw didn’t develop fully. The treatment was to break my jaw, bring it forward to the proper place, and then put 3 titanium screws in each jaw. It was an awful procedure, but I finally found my smile. No more hiding behind my hand to speak to people. I started smiling more than ever. I ditched the glasses for contacts, and later Lasik surgery. I corrected some of the outer things that I was self-conscious about, but was that really necessary? I think I can answer that with an emphatic NO! Yes, it made me feel better about the outer me, but as I’ve grown older, I realize that the outer me isn’t nearly as important as the inner me. Society urges us to focus on looks, but some of the most beautiful people I have ever met may be considered the ugliest by the standards of society because real, true beauty lies within.
I gave my life to Christ when I was 13 years old, and I never regretted that decision for a moment. I have, however, made many mistakes through the years. I’ve not lived a perfect life, and I’ve not even lived up to my full potential as a strong Christian woman. But looking back, I see God’s hand over every single aspect of my life: the good times and the bad times. Even those days when I felt horribly awkward in high school, God had a plan. He knew then that one day I would be sharing my story with you to encourage you.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you.” Jeremiah 1:5
“But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30
Wait what??? God knew me before I was even formed in my mother’s womb, and He knows how many hairs are on my head? Have you ever tried to count the hairs on your head? It’s just about impossible. But the Bible says that God knows me that well. All I can say when I think of that is “Wow, I must be pretty important to God.” God made me, and He made each one of you, and God doesn’t make junk! When I started to really understand this, I began to have more confidence in myself and much more faith in God. Every year that passes, I grow stronger in my faith and in doing so, I gain more self-confidence. I am after all the daughter of the King, and I wear my crown proudly! Let me just share how God has worked in my life through the years.
After nursing school, I decided I would become a nurse practitioner. I applied for the Acute Care NP program, but God knew that wasn’t for me and opened the door for me to be accepted into the Family NP program. As a family nurse practitioner, I am able to care for entire families. I am able to minister to them, pray with them, and pray for them. God has even opened doors to place me in the right clinic at the right time and held my hand gently as I struggled through difficult days and loss and grief. I have been practicing for more than 20 years now, and I could spend all day long telling you how I’ve been blessed in my career.
But wait…there’s more! I’ve been on two international mission trips in the last few years. First to Peru, and then to the Dominican Republic. I ache for those who are suffering and are lost. Isaiah 6:8 says “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me.’” When I read that verse, it touches my heart, and I realize that I am not doing enough to reach others. I asked God to use that book to open doors for me to share more about Him. God then allowed me to publish three books and to begin this daily devotional blog.
Now back to how I went from gawky teenager to confident old lady: for me, it was my learning to place complete and utter faith in Christ. And when I finally learned to do this, everything just fell into place. How do you gain more self-confidence? First of all, you have to determine what lies you are telling yourself. What makes you feel bad about yourself? Make a list of the flaws that you think that you have and the lies that you have been telling yourself, and then at the bottom of that list, write in all capital letters: God doesn’t make junk! You must then reject this negative thinking. Replace these lies that you tell yourself with truth:
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139.:14
You are precious to God. Isaiah 43.4
You have been cared about since conception. Isaiah 46:3
You are God’s child which means you are the son or daughter of the King. John 1:12.
You are Jesus’ friend. John 15:15
So, according to this, you are all wonderfully created, precious, known and loved by God, and you are a prince or a princess! It is time to celebrate YOU. God made you, uniquely, wonderfully, and there is no carbon copy of you. Let that crown sparkle! Now what? The infamous and wise Dr. Seuss once said, “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go…” He also said, “Today you are YOU, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” It’s time to realize that you are made just as God planned it, and even if you can’t see the end of the story right now, it’s not to late to start writing the book.
We all come from different backgrounds. We each have had your own struggles. I urge you to lift one another up. Encourage one another, and in doing so, you will find encouragement, and ultimately courage. Choose your friends carefully. Surround yourself with positive people who seek good, and not evil. Surround yourself with people who are loving and kind. It’s a proven fact that if you spend all of your time with negative people, you also become negative. Stay positive, stay strong, and “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.” Our confidence comes from God alone. Once we realize that, everything else simply falls into place. You were created for a purpose, and that purpose is to glorify our God. You are the daughter or son of the King. Live like the princess or prince He intended for you to be! God created you, and God doesn’t make junk!