Thursday, July 18, 2013


   I've been thinking about confidence lately. I have seen tiny jobs seem gigantic for want of confidence. I have experienced the pain of losing confidence and floundering where I should have been succeeding, or at least should have been just fine. Often when I feel underwater, I realize that what is missing is not resources, not help, not even strength, but confidence.
   We have a new dog, which gives me empathy for new parents- it's amazing how adding a life, even that of an old, mellow dog, tinges every new decision. The first night with our dog we fairly panicked, ordered an expensive baby gate, and worried that our cats would never forgive us or feel safe in their own homes. Soon, we took her up to my sisters' house and the difference in confidence was palpable. My sister exudes a calmness with dogs that comes from knowing she'll be able to handle whatever comes up. It reminded me to snap out of my un-confidence and relax.
   On a white water rafting trip with my youth group many years ago, I had two lovely high school girls in my car on the long ride home. They were marveling about our rafting guide, who was probably only a year or two older than they were at the time. They said "I could never be that confident" but I reminded them that one was a singer of solos, and the other accompanied her school choir on piano in concerts- I said "I bet if you put that girl in front of a crowd and asked her to sing, she'd freak out!"
   Confidence is about knowing you have what it takes to do what is needed. In ministry, my confidence came (and then came back) from knowing that God had chosen me to take this road, had moved me in new directions I never could have imagined, had gifted me specifically to do what other people could never do. I remind myself that God has anointed me for the work I'm doing (an image we don't talk about much in the Catholic Church). When I remember that, it feels better than thinking I have to invent some gift in the face of troubles- I just have to rely on what's been given me.
   Wisdom is earned, but confidence... confidence comes from taking steps, trusting, leaping and surviving.

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