Moving with Confidence, if not Certainty

Recently, I listened to a talk where the topic focused on those moments in our lives where we must act with self-assurance, despite being uncertain as to whether things will work. Talk about a re-booting theme o’ the day! I was all ears…While the pastor was discussing faith, when he asked each of us to think of a moment where we experienced something similar, the first thing that popped into my head was those initial, intimate moments with someone new, but there are plenty of G-rated examples that would qualify, too. Let’s face it: confidence is sexy. Confidence is deeply reassuring. Confidence provides the wellspring of motivation for us to plow ahead, even when we don’t totally know what we’re doing.

Never mind that sometimes our confidence is misplaced. When I think about this concept in totality, what makes the difference is whether the source of our confidence is something we control or if it’s dependent on the actions of another. Because when we feel confident about what somebody else is gonna do, we can get into trouble. Being confident (and dependent) on the actions of another is a fast route to disappointment, but feeling confident in ourselves is what makes all the difference between achieving our goals and falling short.

Re-booting our lives is an expression of faith. Faith in ourselves. Faith in the fact that we are here to do something meaningful. Faith in our ability to get back up on our feet. All of this requires courage—same goes for confidence—we cannot carry ourselves with confidence if we lack courage. But having courage and confidence doesn’t mean we won’t still get it wrong. Because we do. We may even carry a scar or two that reminds us of those times things went awry. But getting it wrong brings with it the hope that maybe the next time, we’ll do it smarter, better, or faster. Getting it wrong may mean that next time we’ll be more patient, less judgmental, or more forgiving. We’ll know that the next time a similar challenge arises, we’ll handle it better…

Sounds a lot like confidence to me.

As someone whose temperament is more oriented towards defining matters in black or white, I’ve had to learn the hard way how to incorporate more colors into my palette of judgment. Doing so doesn’t reflect the great equivocation that is assaulting society today, rather this more nuanced approach has evolved as I have made mistakes and learned from them. As much as I know, and as confident as I am about many matters, I am no longer certain. These days, I appreciate the stark truth that there’s probably far more to any situation than I realize—especially when I can’t understand why people are making the choices they are. This adage applies as much to my own life, as it does to others. I don’t fully understand why certain things were so important to me, or why I made some of the choices I did, or what any of it says about me as a person. I’m not certain. But, what I do have as a result of this re-booting process is a whole lot more confidence in who I am. I am confident that I can handle it, even if I don’t know what “it” may be or if my performance may “measure up” to whatever unfathomable standards I have determined as satisfactory. (Don’t you hate it when you play judge, jury, and defendant all at once?)

For instance, in terms of re-booting my own life’s direction and focus, the more I practice my writing, the more energy, enthusiasm, and ideas I have. I have confidence that this is what I am meant to do. But I don’t have certainty that my efforts will pay off. I have no idea about that. I have no idea if it’s of value to anyone other than me. But I am confident about my direction.

How about you? What is it that you are trying to re-boot about yourself? Have you reached a point in your life where you are confident about who you are? Do you know what it is you are meant to do, even if you can’t be certain about where it will take you?

Where is your faith?

Circling back to my initial point, I want you to recall a moment when you felt really confident about yourself. Or, to make it less threatening, let’s think about somebody else whose confidence you admire. Think about how attractive you find them, how reassured you feel in their presence, how happy you are to be near them. It feels good, right? You trust that they can do what they set out to do. What a relief…

This is what you need to do for yourself. This is what re-booting can do for you, even if you’re unsure where you’ll land.

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