I want to live boldly. Bravely. Courageously.
I want to be confident in my own skin, wearing my own personality rather than a mask, not letting those insecurities that disguise themselves as voices in my head hold me back from sharing, serving, helping, befriending, enjoying, creating.
I want a life that’s full of faith, stepping and leaping with courage and confidence, even into the hard stuff, messy, uncomfortable stuff of life, just believing that God’s got this, and He’s got me.
And yet, there is a small part of me that isn’t so sure I want that, a little whisper of doubt about living in faith. Because oddly enough, living boldly, bravely, and courageously is actually kind of scary.
Taking a step of faith is stepping into the unknown. It wouldn’t be a step of faith if it wasn’t. All those What ifs? can cause our faith to waver.
What if I fail?
What if I get hurt?
What if I find myself alone?
What if I let someone down?
What if I run out of money?
What if I’m uncomfortable?
What if I’m not really good enough, capable enough, spiritual enough?
What if people don’t understand?
What if I’m abandoned, rejected, betrayed?
That bold life starts to look awfully scary. We want to step out, but we stand back instead, because all the questions can’t be answered, and we don’t like the unknown.
But when it comes to cultivating the confidence to step out in faith, there is just question we have to settle: Where is my faith?
Am I placing my faith in God? Am I trusting Him to provide, to protect, to be present? Am I believing that His plan is perfect?
The confidence to take that step of faith begins with the choice of where we will place our faith. Trusting in God brings the confidence to leap, because we trust that He will catch us and not let us down.
We see this choice of faith made by a young women who got an unexpected visit from an angel and unbelievable calling from God. In making that choice of where she would place her faith, she took a step of faith.
You might have already guessed that I am talking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. The beginning of Mary’s story is told in Luke 1:26-38. There is nothing special to note about Mary. She is simply described as being a virgin who is engaged to a man named Joseph. Yet when the angel appears, she is met with these words:
When Mary heard this greeting, she was troubled and confused about it. The New Living Translation says she was disturbed and “tried to think of what the angel could mean.” (v. 29)
Seeing an angel would’ve been a shock, but Mary’s reaction implies she was troubled over more than just the appearance of a heavenly being. It was the words the angel spoke that caused her confusion.
She probably wondered the same things many of us would have if we were greeted in such a way. Highly favored? You must have the wrong woman. There’s nothing special about plain, ordinary me. There’s nothing in me that warrants favor or attention.
But as the conversation continues, Mary realizes that she indeed has found favor with God, and that He has chosen her to bear His Son, the One who would be Savior to all. His Spirit would come upon her and His power would envelope her, and she would become pregnant without ever having lain with a man.
Mary now had a choice. In this situation that most of us would find hard and scary, that could so quickly become messy and uncomfortable, that would require many leaps of faith, Mary had to choose where her faith would be placed. Would she trust God?
What would people think when Mary told about this visit and her pregnancy became evident? Most probably wouldn’t believe her. After all, there was nothing about her that made her seem the obvious candidate for the mother of the Messiah. She wasn’t a queen. She wasn’t rich. She wasn’t wise. She was just an ordinary girl.
At this time, adultery was punishable by death. That was the worst case scenario. The best case scenario would be her fiancé calling off the engagement, and her being cast out and ostracized as a disreputable woman.
Mary’s future was safe and secure. She was engaged to be married. She would be fulfilling her duty as a woman of that time. Every thing was going as it should. But if she chose to step out in faith, she could lose her fiancé, her reputation, her life as she knew it… maybe even her very life.
What if my fiancé rejects me?
What if people don’t believe me?
What if I’m cast out of my home?
What if I have to raise this Child alone?
What if I’m really not favored, but am really a failure?
What if God finds out that He picked the wrong woman, that I’m not as good or capable as I should be?
Despite all this, Mary chose to believe the promise that God would be with her. The conversation ends with her making a declaration of submission and faith:
Mary didn’t have the confidence to step out in faith because she knew how everything would turn out, she didn’t have the confidence to step out in faith because she was some sort of super-saint, she didn’t have the confidence to step out in faith because she was promised things would be easy and comfortable.
Mary had the confidence to step out in faith because she had placed her faith in God. She chose to submit to the Lord and live as His servant, and this submission brought confidence to do what He had called her to do.
Mary’s journey from here would be full of many ups and downs; giving birth in a stable, receiving valuable gifts from Magi, fleeing to Egypt, watching her Son grow in wisdom, witnessing Jesus’ teachings and miracles, witnessing His gruesome death on the cross, seeing Him risen to life.
Through it all Mary saw God’s Word, the Word she had chosen to follow in faith, fulfilled. A life full a faith is a life of fulfillment. God takes the plain, ordinary, and nothing-special, and brings about the fulfillment of His beautiful, extraordinary, and oh-so-special plan and promises.
Taking a step of faith is stepping into the unknown, but it is not stepping into the uncertain. We may not know what the future holds, but we can be certain that God holds our future, and that He holds us, and that He will protect, provide, and be present through all the hard, messy, and uncomfortable, bringing about His prefect and pleasing plan for us.
Confidence isn’t about being fearless. Confidence is about having faith in the One who is faithful, and taking the leap into His loving arms.
The post Cultivating Confidence Part 3: The Confidence to Step Out first appeared on The Overflowing