Years ago, when I was crafting the beginnings of my own personal blog, this was one of the three verses that served as my anthem.
I am confident that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.Psalm 27:13
There are a few reasons why I love this verse.
First, I love unique words that stand in for other more common words. The “land of the living” stands in for our earth, the place in which we live and move and have our being. The land of the living speaks to me because it inspires my imagination. What could it look like to see his goodness in this life? What does it currently look like to see his goodness?
Second, I love the word “confidence” in this context.
Confidence is the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
In Psalm 27, God is inviting us to feel certain about his promises of goodness here on earth. He is telling us we can confidently trust him. God is asking us to look at Him and his reliable qualities and abilities and believe that whatever has happened or is happening, we will see him work it out in his goodness – – in the hear and now, in the land of the living, and not just in eternity.
I feel you sister. Confidence and trust are not easy when we are living out God’s calling over our lives. The truth we are walking feels very upside down in this upside-down world. Let me remind you of the seemingly impossible things you are embracing:
- You surrender what deeply matters to you.
- You practice dying to self in order to live.
- You embrace last in order to be first.
- You willingly carry crosses to express love and sacrifice.
- You experience thorns in your side to comprehend grace.
- You turn the other cheek to honor humility.
- You lay down your life for your friends.
- You willingly choose character over “success”.
- You relate to your Savior as a man of suffering and sorrow as you experience the same in your own life.
Let’s be candid sisters, it makes little rational sense that living this way would build confidence in God’s goodness. An objective read of the above leads to a sort of death by a thousand cuts as my friend Suzanne D would say. Through a spiritual lens, however, this sort of life leads to saving exactly who you are and who you are meant to be.
So, how do we find confidence in the midst of so much laying down of our lives? How do we venture into this often upside down Christian life with confidence in his goodness?
Researchers have found that confidence is not an emotion. It’s a complex pattern of brain activity. Increasing our confidence isn’t about changing how we feel, it’s about changing what we believe. Paraphrase from The Powerful Purpose of Introverts by Holly Gerth
Confidence comes from a bundle of intentional choices. We can change what we believe by choosing to:
- Receive, hear and absorb encouragement from our brothers and sisters.
- Take time in solitude so we can listen to what God has to say
- Spend time reading (or listening to) inspirational books so we can gain courage in our own walk
- Read the word and know that God moves in you just like Esther, David, Matthew, Ruth, Deborah, Mary (all three of them), Hannah and teammates Shiphrah and Puah.
The regular practices of hearing encouragement, listening to God in solitude, gaining courage through other’s walks and reading the truth in the word help us make small shifts. “These small shifts in mindset can trigger a cascade of changes so profound that they test the limits of what seems possible”. McGonial, 2016 as cited in The Powerful Purpose of Introverts, 2020, page 81.
Did you hear that?
A shift in mindset can actually grow your confidence in such a way that you change your view of possible and impossible!
When impossible because possible, it is fair to say your mind has shifted to certainty of God’s truth. Our gaze is upon his qualities and character, and we believe. We have confidence.
Back to the Story of the Blog
Be Confident. Be Bold. Follow Your Calling.
That was the original tagline of my blog.
I fell for the confidence offered in Psalm 27. I began to believe that I would see God’s goodness in the land of the living. Once we believe, we become bold. Most of you would describe me as a kind, gentle spirit with a soothing voice. Even so, I chose the word bold because, once we have confidence of his goodness, we have no choice but to be bold with living out God’s calling over our lives.
I started the blog because women boldly following their calling matters. The thorn in my side is seeing any woman stuck because she believes a lie that tells her what she cannot be or do for God. This leads me to my second anthem verse.
Every woman is God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared for her before the beginning of time.Paraphrase of Ephesians 2:10
Having spent most of my life pursuing friendships and listening intently to the women in my life, I learned to decipher a particular deceitful voice. The voice reflects untruths about her limits. The voice rises from a false belief about limited resources, lack of experience or education or lack of time. The limiting voice sometimes comes from someone she believes has power over her identity and future. That’s the voice that breaks my heart and also makes me bold.
Let’s Talk About Hope
Over the last few years, my core burdens and calling haven’t changed. However, over time, my understanding of hope has.
Like many of you, I have been through seasons where my hope dwindled down to a grain of sand. Life can be deeply burdensome and harsh to the point that your internal self becomes silent. In this way, hope can practically disappear. Yet, the one grain of sand remains by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Like many of you, I also have been through seasons where my faith decreased to a spark; or maybe a smolder is a better description. With my grain of sand and smoldering faith, I kept walking towards renewal by the power of the Holy Spirit. [I grant you permission to laugh out loud while you envision me with my tiny spark and smoldering coal.]
This part is bonus.
This bonus list includes the truths that helped me rebuild my hope and faith, and my confidence in God’s goodness. These truths were hard earned and also make me the woman I am today. As I walked toward renewal, this is what I learned.
- The only thing I have control over is me.
- It’s okay to rely on others. Sometimes that will work out and sometimes it won’t.
- No expectations unless they are based on past experience.
- It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to hit the bull’s eye on the moving targets in my life; not mine.
- Some friends step away as life changes and some stay with you forever. Know the difference.
- The character flaws of other’s are not a reflection of me and it’s okay to be truthful about that.
- Use communication to ask for what I need.
- Other than I love you, my best words to my kids will always be Choose Wisely. It’s up to them, not me.
Where are you at with your hope?
As we grow, hope grows. Psalm 27 doesn’t mention hope. Yet, it is drenched in hope. As we grow in hope, we become confident that we will see God’s goodness in the land of the living. Confidence is fueled by hope.
Where are you at with your hope? Are you in a season where you are barely holding your one grain, or do you have buckets full?
If you are holding one grain, you are in a growing season. Ask yourself: What can I learn here? What knowledge do I seek? Who can help? Scroll back up to the list of four intentional choices to help shift your mindset. God won’t give up on you. He wants you to move from impossible to possible.
If you have buckets full of hope, are you following your calling? Have you defined God’s plan for you in this season? Have you designed a plan? Are you following it?
My blog tag line used to be: Be Confident. Be Bold. Follow Your Calling. I spent two full years of my life helping women define, design and follow their calling. In this new season, my desire is to provide tools for the growth of hope. Hope fuels confidence. Confidence leads you to be bold with your life and to follow your calling.
My tag line now says: Be Confident. Be Bold. Be Hopeful.
I stand by my wish that you will follow your calling. I stand by my passionate burden to see all strongholds fall in your life. I stand by my confidence that you will see his goodness in the land of the living. I stand by my wish for you to be bold with your life. I stand by impossible things. I stand by hope.
- Where are you at with hope? A grain of sand, buckets full or somewhere in between?
- Given your current obstacles or difficult circumstances, what areas do you wish to grow in? Name a few people that can help you grow.
- When considering the path to increasing your confidence in God, which intentional choices will you choose to shift your mindset? Scroll up to the four bullet points to choose.
- What’s your “bonus” list? List your big life lessons of the past five years or ten years or even in the month of September?
- Because I can’t help it and September just ended, name ten things you are grateful for in the month of September. I’ll share mine very soon.
P.S. If you have an idea for my next “HOW TO” blog post, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.