Reality Reflection: Confidence

Today’s topic is one that most of us struggle with at one point in time or another: confidence. I heard on the radio today that confidence is one of the things that people check for when they meet new people.  Do you do a confidence check when you meet someone new?  Depending on the type of confidence they have you may feel overwhelmed, impressed, excited or even underwhelmed by them.

The confidence I want to talk about today is really based around people having a lack of confidence.  I talked with a consultant this week who had a simple but complete website and seemed like a nice person.  When I got him on the phone he didn’t really remember the emails we exchanged, reminded me several times about his lack of professional recognition (licensing/degrees etc.) even after I had already informed him that I wasn’t necessarily looking for anyone like that, didn’t seem confident about his ability to help me and it really put me off to wanting to work with him.

I’m not someone who leads with overwhelming confidence but I do believe in myself and my abilities.  If I tell you that I can’t assist you it’s not because I don’t have skills and capabilities, it’s because we’re not a good fit or you need other kinds of assistance than I’m able to or willing to offer.  I believe in who I am and what I can do, and won’t try to convince you I can or can’t offer assistance because I don’t fit in a society-approved box.

Confidence isn’t about always being right, being perfect, or having all the answers.  Confidence is about believing in yourself, who you are, what you’re capable of doing (even if it’s with the help of others), and believing in being able to make a positive difference on the future.  You don’t have to live up to the letter of the world’s law, you can make your own rules.  But if you choose to make your own rules and walk your own path, move forward with confidence in your ability to do so, don’t apologize for choosing to be different.

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The Look and Feel of Health

One of the things we struggle with when it comes to health is other people’s definitions of health that we think have to apply to our lives. We think that we have to look like supermodels or fitness buffs. We think that we have to be taking all the top supplements or following the trendy diets. We think that beauty looks like whatever the magazines and social sites say is popular. The reality is that while we probably all could look like those people or follow the current most popular advice, most of us shouldn’t. We’re all created with similar bodies from a very basic appearance perspective, but that’s about where it ends because we all have different food requirements, physical capabilities and tastes which differentiate us from many other people. I don’t do well with a lot of meat, gluten or sugar in my diet, I prefer walks and the elliptical, and don’t really like flashy looks, but you may be the exact opposite.

And that’s more than OK.

The good news is that God says there’s a lot more to life than just how we look, and there’s a lot more to health than it too. No, we shouldn’t be sickly or trash our bodies or appearances, but healthy for each of us is different when it comes down to the details. Health is about looking and feeling good inside and out, in ways that we feel confident and honor the body, mind and life that God has given us.

Just because you don’t eat, look or dress like a superstar doesn’t mean that you’re not an amazing or healthy person. Make the right choices for your life in the food you eat, the daily exercise you get, the clothes you wear and what you feed your mind too.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”” 1 Samuel 16:7

Waiting Confidently for God

Sometimes it’s hard to see how God will work through your situation or how He’ll help you get out of it.  Sometimes there’s an easy answer like to be healed of the illness, but other times it’s not a black and white situation that you face.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s more to life than the pain and sadness that we face whenever we put on the TV or open a newspaper or news site.  It’s not easy to be confident in things when the world tells you you’re not good enough or not enough period.

But time and again in the Bible are shared reassurances that it will be OK.  It’s clear that we’ve always needed reassurance and encouragement, this isn’t anything new.  But now we do have the Bible to turn to and people from around the world who we can connect with who have experienced similar things or are just able to be there for us without judgment.

But back to the Bible, how do we know it will be OK?  How did they (the writers) know it would be OK?  Did they know something we don’t know?  I don’t think they did honestly.  Some of them had super deep connections with God, but so do some of us.  God did do some really big miracles for the people of Bible times but we can see God in so many little ways every day.

I think part of the difference was in how much faith they had.  In many ways we’ve been tainted by our world and all the very evident problems in it thanks to the internet and connectedness of our world.  So it’s become much more challenging for us to keep the faith that it will all work out when there’s so much that doesn’t work out.

But I have to agree with them, I do have faith that it will all work out.  I have faith that our connectedness will be a tool to build our faith and gives us the strength to believe that God does have a plan for our lives and does have a good future planned for all who believe.  Are you confident in the plan God has for your life?

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Psalm 17:13-14

Secrets and Sharing

This week I’ve been thinking about how well we know people.  Some of us are really secretive and don’t like to share anything, others of us seem to share our whole lives with the world.  But with the media today how much of what we see is real and how much is marketing, right?  Sometimes we’ll think we know someone really well only to find out we really don’t know them at all!  And other times we know people so well we can predict their words and actions.

It can be really intimidating to us when people know us.  Why? Because when they know us that well they can call us out on our BS and procrastination and bad habits.  It’s not fun to be called out on that stuff, even if it is necessary sometimes.  So because we fear being called out some of us try to stay away from others as much as possible or build fake relationships.  I call them fake not because the people aren’t real, but because you’re not being real with the people.

However, one of the best decisions you can make, one that’s ultimately essential to your health and sanity, is to have at least one person you can be completely honest and open with, without fear of judgement.  Personally, I believe that honesty is one of the best policies.  If we’re not honest with the people in our lives, soon we won’t be honest with ourselves.

Each day we’ve got a choice whether we’re going to open up to the people in our lives or if we’re going to hide who we are and how unique, special and interesting we are.  Don’t be afraid of your quirks or getting close, instead learn how to make the most of the time you have with the people you love.

“I don’t have any fear of intimacy, but rather thrive on it, which is rare in a public person.” Jack Nicholson

I Believe in Success

What you believe about yourself is one of the greatest indications of how successful you can be.  If you believe you can be successful you’ll have the motivation, the focus, the drive and the willingness to do what it will take to accomplish your goals.  If you don’t believe you have the abilities, the confidence, the means or are worth being successful you won’t get there.   Success means different things to each of us, some of us will find success in a monetary value, others in a family one, and others in making a difference in the world, so the definition of success isn’t what we’ll talk about today, but that I believe you have the ability to be successful, we all do.

Every day I see things in the news that are an unbelievable waste of time, from random crimes and large scale unprovoked violence, to physical abuse and cyber bullying.  They’re a waste of time because if life is all about the result that you achieve, the success you achieve, the success you achieve from any of these actions isn’t going to get you more than a passing rush and won’t make the world a better place for future generations.   I believe that everyone has something of value they can contribute to the daily workings of the world or to the future world.  It’s their choice, it’s your choice, what kind of future is created.

I believe in you.  I believe that you have abilities that are needed in the world, whether that’s in raising the next president, discovering a medical breakthrough, creating a business that gives people jobs, or just making someone else smile.  We won’t all believe the same thing or agree on everything, that’s the beauty of each of us being different.  The one thing we should all agree on is that we each have value and the potential to make an amazing difference in the world.  It’s unfortunate that there are so many people around the world who refuse to see or tap into that belief.  Take time this weekend to check your beliefs.  Are your beliefs holding back your success?

“We are what we believe we are.” CS Lewis

I Believe in Love

With this new month we’ve got 4 new weeks of 7 days each to learn and, as this month’s theme indicates, to love! This month we’ll be talking about two very important love topics: loving others and loving yourself. I believe that one is essential to the development and health of the other; if you can’t love others you will struggle with loving yourself and if you can’t love yourself you’ll struggle with loving others.

Monday we started off the month talking about discouragement. If you haven’t experienced discouragement in your life up to this point you’re either living in another world, not in touch with reality or have 50 First Dates type amnesia. So I’ll assume that you’ve experienced discouragement, just like I have, at some point in time or another during your life.

What we seem to forget when we get wrapped up in disappointments and failed love stories is that we’re in complete control over what we do with our future. We can continue to dwell on the bad stuff, or we can learn to not make those mistakes again.  Or we can think about what we would rather do in the future.

A future that we’re in control of, a life that we enjoy, a romance for the ages really starts with one thing: belief in yourself. If you don’t believe that you’re capable of loving, capable of creating an amazing future for yourself, capable of making a difference in the world, you’ll probably live the mediocre life that too many around the world do.

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of mediocrity. Will you join me this month in learning to live and love with all that we are?

“I am the captain of my ship and master of my fate. I believe in myself. I believe in the hands that work, in the brains that think, and in the hearts that love.” Richard Branson

The Chance of Change

Life is a journey.  It’s one that I’m getting more excited about each day as I progress on this journey.  I’m not sure what I really expected from 2014 but it’s been a year that has revealed a lot about myself, who I am and what I need in life, as well as even a glimpse about what my future could hold.  The biggest things that it’s taught me is how much I really know about myself, how stupid it is to try to deny who we are, and how necessary to life change is.

Change is a topic I talk about frequently because it impacts so much of our lives.  The challenge we face with change is that we’re not always ready to move in the direction  change is sending us, or we’re comfortable enough with our life that we don’t really feel the need for change, even if there is one.  Unfortunately our resistance to change will only make us miserable.  The reason you are miserable or depressed today could be because you’re resisting the change rather than because change is happening.

It’s not easy to admit you were wrong, that you need certain things in your life, or that you’re ready for change.  Sometimes the expectation of who you are with other people can be enough to keep you trapped where you are rather than grasping life by the horns.  But life is meant to be lived.

What if instead of change being a challenge it was a chance?  A chance to be free to be who you were meant to be? A chance to be the powerful and capable person I know you are?  The person who admits their needs and talents without shame and embraces being supported and supportive of those around them?  What if it wasn’t a weakness to admit that you aren’t all knowing, all capable and all powerful, but actually a strength?

This weekend I challenge you to take some time to take a good hard look at your life and make sure that you’re really living life to the fullest, and if not what things you’ll let into your life or let go of to get there.

“It’s hard to let new stuff in. And whether that admits a weakness, I don’t know.” Martin Scorsese