Monday, August 15, 2011

She Likes Me...She Likes Me Not

What is this proverbial inability to remain confident in Christ in me and who I am in Christ?

Girls, I know you know what I 'm talking about.

Things are fine and then suddenly, out of nowhere, something happens and we feel rejected, disappointed, let down, discouraged, deflated, unworthy...not enough. We forget to Whom we belong.

Why do we (I) look to other things to make us feel important, give credibility to and validate who we are?  For example...the number of facebook friends or twitter followers or blog subscribers. Or why is it so easy to feel neglected or left out when someone doesn't meet our expectations or fulfill certain unwritten rules of friendship?

I have to (and hate to) admit, I notice the number of followers on my facebook writer page and blog, especially since recently trying to learn about building a platform, increasing traffic and expanding reach. Somehow this is supposed to confirm my calling or validate that I am a real writer? I feel a certain accomplishment when I have snagged a new face or added a new name to my audience or friend list. Someone likes me. But what happens when that number decreases? Someone doesn't like me anymore? I immediately wonder who and why and what did I say or do that could have offended someone. Silly, especially reading the words now.

A common trap set to complicate our journey. A root of rejection from our past. Insecurities and fears of being unloved and misunderstood. Pressure to perform and succeed and be something some one else thinks we should be. Envy and jealousy causing us to look at what others have or do or are...and what we don't have, can't do and are not. Lies that whisper we are not good enough and cannot measure up.

Yesterday I took advantage of being in bed all day with strep and read some inspiring blogs. Jean from Healthy Spirituality spoke to my heart. She said, "Lord, I always think some of your spiritual giants - Abraham, Moses, David - were born with deep faith....yet in today's reading, Abraham first believed in your promise, then his faith grew."  Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger and in this he brought glory to God (Romans 4:20).

It is in our believing God's promises that our faith is strengthened. Abraham, like us, was born with the potential and ability to believe and become what he was created to be...he was not born complete. He had choices to make and voids to fill. Moses, too,had to decide where to put his confidence. He had to choose even in the midst of  his doubts and fears and insecurities. Traveling an imperfect and messy journey, he often paused to give ear to what he was not capable of doing, what others could do better and at times gave in to weaknesses begging to be recognized. But ultimately he chose to believe what God said and promised to do.

We, too, have to make that choice. No matter how messy or imperfect our journey may be, God has a plan and has promised that He will be with us. He has also promised to provide the tools and equipment we need not just to finish the tasks before us but to finish our race well.

He longs to heal our wounds and fill those empty places crammed with things that will never satisfy.

It doesn't matter how many "likes" we have (except technically for those of us pursuing publication it does matter in that sense), how many events we are invited to or not, how many times our words are rejected or at how many venues we are asked (or not asked) to speak. Our circumstances, trials or hurts do not define us but they can serve as a prod to push us closer to God, refining us and molding us into a vessel that will bring Him honor and glory.

We are daughters of the King. He loves us unconditionally and perfectly. He thinks good thoughts toward us. He chose us.

Let us put our confidence in the One who will never let us down. The One who never changes. The One who empowers us to love and speak and write anyway.

Let us choose to believe His promises, increase our faith and bring glory to Him.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man...(Psalm 118:8).

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught (Proverb 3:26).

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26).

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1a).

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrew 11:1).

Linking with Jen at Finding Heaven Today...(Jen's link will go live at 8 PM Monday)

and counting gifts with Ann V.

#36-45 of counting my gifts, unending...

36 quiet moments to bask in God's presence and study the Word

37 unexpected opportunities to grow

38 our family of five

39 unconditional, perfect love

40 great fathers in the faith who have gone before us

41 refining, even when it hurts

42 raindrops on a sun scorched land

43 food on our table

44 laughter in our home

45 grace which abounds

18 friends had this to say:

Stacy said...

When it comes to "walking in confidence" to fulfill God's call on my life, I have (and I hate) to admit, I'm about as wishy washy as they come.

"Let us put our confidence in the One who will never let us down. The One who never changes. The One who empowers us to love and speak and write anyway."

Amen, Sister! Thanks for the pep talk! (and the honesty...even if your honesty does tend to get a wee bit too close to my heart.) Do you think we might be related????? ;)

Blessings on your week-

Rambling Heather said...

This is beautiful! I needed to come here and read this today. My confidence has been faltering lately and my faith tried. Thank you for encouraging me to keep up the good fight.

Heather Ablondi said...

Great post. I have always struggled with comparing myself to other women - left over baggage from an activity I used to be involved in. I am finding that I have to continually remind myself that this life is not a competition and that we are all on the same team. Thank you for confirming what God has been speaking to my heart.

kendal said...

i have to admit, i get hung up in the number of comments i get....i love your list!

Brandee Shafer said...

Ok, so this is what helps me when I feel like I'm nobody: I remember that nobody is anybody. I mean, take President Obama. Perhaps everyone in the U.S. knows his name. But does everyone in every other country know his name? (I doubt it. I mean, I'm not afraid to admit my ignorance and admit: I don't know the names of other countries' presidents.) And how many people in this country will know the name "Obama" in one hundred years? Outside of the blogger friends I've made in the last 9 months, my friends don't seem to know who (the phenomenal) Ann Voskamp is. It's all fleeting. Nothing matters except what we do for Him. And--when we push for success--are we doing that for Him? Or for ourselves? I appreciate your thoughts here. They (obviously) stir up some thoughts, on my part.

Shannon Milholland said...

Shelly, this is so true. My confidence can vacilate moment to moment, day to day. For me the difference is where my eyes are. When they are fixed on Christ, I can't look around...

Jen said...

I seem to go through waves -- I care, I don't care, I care, I don't care. I seem to be okay until...someone unsubscribes. And then I go through what you wrote about! I've also been thinking about the numbers thing, the platform thing -- how quickly it turns into obsession. And really? With what should I be obsessed? If anything, it's Jesus and not a number. Great post, Shell!

Katharine said...

Wonderful post! I smiled when I read it, becasue I could have written it! I'm stopping by from SGD and praying that your week is full of walking in confidence and belonging!

Shanda said...

This is the second post I have read today about putting our confidence in the Lord. I know God is speaking to my heart as I have been lacking confidence regarding a study I am leading this week. Thank you for all the scriptures reminding me that my confidence lies in Him.

Ross said...

I think we all need to look at our confidence in our faith. I am going through an illness. There are days where I lack the confidence that I should have.

Kelli Williams Wommack said...

Shelly, isn't it just like God to speak to our hearts about similar things at the same time! thanks for commenting on my recent post about the whole social media craze obsession pit! After a lot of confession, I am now seeking more balance, a greater sense of purpose, and above all, HIS unconditional love and presence. we are kindred hearts, my friend. Stay true to your calling!

Joywriter said...

Hi, Shelly, I stopped by from SDG. This is the sort of post that I need to print out and hang above my desk: it speaks to my feelings as a woman, a Christian, a writer... Thank you, thank you for your encouragement!

Kathryn Ross said...

Shelly - you're hitting the nail on the head! Am in this very place as I try to detox from a tough school y year - and get ready for a new one - that starts for me in one week! Kids return the week after! Egad! I've never felt so ill equipped. But, now the Lord has a place in me to shine!

Jean Wise said...

such a well expressed post. You really captured my heart, Thanks for mentioning my blog. I appreciate the plug!

Also the reminder of some wonderful bible verses to cling to in our down times.

I feel like I am traveling with a soul sister.

Anonymous said...

This was so very well said. I have been feeling like I am a fish out of water. Who am I trying to help with my blog and who am I trying to reach. Am I focusing on what God wants this blog to be or what I believe my readers want to read. Thanks for reminding me that it's not a numbers game if Jesus is at the head of it.

Pamela said...

Amy's blog was about making an inspiration file. I already do and this blog is going right in there. Oh, why do I have so much trouble with this confidence thing? I'll have to bring this up and read it often!

Stephanie Clayton said...

Girl I hear you! My new motto is Renee's "Don't throw away your confidence" although I have had to salvage it from the trash can several times this past week, LOL!

amanda said...

Confidence and humility ... sometimes it seems hard to find the balance where Christ wants us to walk. But you're right, it begins with keeping our eyes on Him.