Standing Tall

Remember this character from the Jim Carrey movie Liar, Liar? Well I recently saw a real life version of this woman, and I have to tell you; I loved her.
We sat across from each other in a doctor’s waiting room. She was in her mid to late sixties and rocked a bold red lip, large hammered silver dangly earrings, and an animal print blouse. Stylishly unique you might say.
But it was the hair that was the show-stopper. Mostly silver with streaks of black, it was meticulously spiked into a dozen or so sharply pointed triangles in symmetrical rows. It was a work of art even though it seemed dangerous to get too close to her.
I won’t be calling to make a hair appointment to duplicate this look any time soon. It’s not my taste, but even if it were, I’d never have the confidence this woman had in spades.
And that was what I loved about her.
Last year I had similar feelings about another older baby boomer dancing with abandon at a music festival. Let me give you a visual. He wore a faded and tattered Rolling Stones t-shirt from a 1980-something tour, cargo shorts that slipped below his extended belly, dress socks and Birkenstocks. A Led Zeppelin cover band was playing the classic Ramble On and this man danced his heart out. Not an easy song to dance to but he did anyway.
I was entranced. Not by his dance moves mind you, but by how little he cared about what others thought of him. He never once looked around, and was having a blast.
The ability to be who you are in the way that feels most authentic, and without any need for confirmation or approval, is an extremely enviable trait. It reflects a healthy dose of self-confidence that is in-borne, nurtured as a child, cultivated during adulthood or some combination of these.
For me, an exasperating combination of introversion, sensitivity to criticism and perfectionism is a cocktail that often encourages over-thinking and second-guessing. So it’s been a challenge to develop confidence.
Could I wear an over-the-top hairstyle or outfit? Nope. I’d find the stares and any disapproving reactions or comments just too uncomfortable.
Could I dance like the man at the music festival in a public setting? Never. I’d look over my shoulder at every turn, and make adjustments based on reaction. I’m just not a dance-with-abandon kind of gal.
I will say that I’m enjoying more confidence as I get older, and not necessarily because I’ve been cultivating it for so long. With age does come a degree of wisdom and knowledge about what’s really important.
Along with age has also come a deeper faith, with the accompanying realization that what God thinks of me is much more important than what others think of me.
And we all know God cares about a person’s heart and not about outward appearances. He made that clear in the story of David’s anointing as the next King of Israel after Samuel rejected all the older, stronger and more likely choices among his brothers. David, the youngest, smallest and least likely was anointed because God knew David’s heart.
How about you? Where do you stand along the confidence continuum?
Do you hesitate before speaking your mind? Do you survey your audience and calculate the response before taking the risk someone will disagree with you?
Do you ask for the opinions of others before making decisions, afraid to rely on your gut about what to do? Are you relieved when consensus matches your instinct and uncomfortable when it doesn’t?
Do you feel free to dress and move in the world without a care about disapproval?
How do you react when something you say or do is met with disapproval? Do you make changes to fit in or be accepted, or do you bask in your uniqueness regardless of what others think?
Do you harbor any insecurity that’s limiting your ability to live life more fully and freely?
And how about your heart? Are you confident your heart is pleasing to God? Do you trust God completely and have a heart that’s loving, forgiving, compassionate, generous and merciful?
My answers to all these questions certainly aren’t always what I wish they’d be and maybe yours aren’t either. But that’s ok. It just shows us where we still have work to do. Where we still have to cultivate confidence.
I have additional thoughts about confidence I’ll save for future posts, but in the meantime, let’s take stock of our insecurities, and stand tall in knowing we’re all children of a God who loves us.
And that alone should give us plenty of confidence.
Scripture for Reflection
But the LORD told Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the LORD looks into the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3:26
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
Jeremiah 17:7
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

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