My friend, Lynn Cowell, believes we can find unshakeable confidence despite our fears — and even our failures. In today’s guest post, she shares how our circumstances do not get to dictate our confidence.
No. No. No.
Every email I received said the same thing, using different words. We don’t publish that type of book. We don’t publish writers we don’t know.
We won’t publish you.
Each rejection seeped into my heart. Many days I crawled into bed and cried. Why would God ask me to do something good, yet allow a process that made me feel so bad?
But then I remembered Mary, much wiser than I.
Picture a teenager. She’s engaged to a great guy. Wedding plans are in motion. Life is good. Then suddenly, her happily-ever-after dreams are interrupted by an angel announcing this surprise:
“Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you” (Luke 1:28, MSG).
Flattered? Nope. She was scared! However, the angel assures her, “You have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus” (v. 29-33).
My reaction would have been, What? Pregnant? I’m not married yet! There’s no way! But when Mary received this news, we don’t see fear or doubt. Her response isn’t, “This will be the end of me! What will everyone say about me?” Mary doesn’t ditch her confidence.
Instead, as we find in today’s key verse, her reaction is grounded in faith:
“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38a).
Mary responded with confidence because Mary’s confidence began with her relationship with God.
Not on her reputation. That was outside her control.
Not on a person, like Joseph. For all she knew, he would leave her once he learned she was pregnant.
Not on a place, like her home. Mary actually left town to visit her cousin after she received this news.
Did Mary understand everything God was doing? Unlikely. Or resent what He was doing? Doesn’t appear so. Would others judge her? No doubt they would, but Mary did not allow people’s opinions to prevent her from embracing God’s calling, even if she didn’t completely understand it. The lack of details didn’t impact her confidence in His plans for her life, nor her trust in Him to take care of her.
What is the foundation of our confidence?
There have been times when I’ve based my confidence on others. As a teenager, I based it on a boyfriend’s affection, a coach’s affirmation or my parent’s approval. If one of them failed to give the “Atta girl!” I craved, I saw myself as a failure.
As a mom, I’ve built it on my kids and their performance. When they made a mistake, my confidence was shaken. I’ve based my security on my career and the success I wanted. Success hasn’t always come, although rejection often has.
Has there been a time when circumstances were less than perfect and your confidence was shaken?
I’m learning that unshakable confidence is not built on someone, something or someplace, but on our unshakable God. This confidence is built over time, before confidence-shaking circumstances come. In the difficult times, God has taught me He alone is my firm foundation for rebuilding confidence.
Listen to Suzie and Lynn discuss how to shift our focus from what we cannot change, to what can be changed in us. It’s powerful.
Learn more about Lynn and Make Your Move
Lynn Cowell is the author of several books including her newest study for women, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures.
Lynn and her husband, Greg, have been married for over 30 years and are the parents of three young adults. They enjoy spending time together, especially when it combines the mountains, well-worn sweatshirts, and anything with chocolate and peanut butter.
Connect with Lynn today at www.LynnCowell.com.
Lynn, as I read your words I felt like I was looking in a mirror. Thank you for sharing your truth. I imagine it is many women’s truth…I know it has been mine…still is at times. ❤️
Michele – this is why I wrote Make Your Move – I needed to build a confidence that wouldn’t crumble with each difficult circumstance or failure. I am praying that many women will take this journey with me and the courageous women in God’s word to find a confidence that is truly unshakable!
Hi Lynn! I can’t wait to read your book. Your words are so encouraging today! Thanks for sharing this perspective on Mary’s story.
Thank you so much, Sarah! Merry Christmas!
Lynn, as a life-long people pleaser, I need to hear these words. thank you for being so real. Thank you for sharing. I can hardly wait to read your book.
Hi Amy – that people pleasing piece … Wow is it ever strong! If you happen to watch the video Suz and I did on Facebook Live (you can watch here –
https://www.facebook.com/lynn.m.cowell/videos/2119994518228279/ we talk about moving past words spoken over us. For many of us, this is the root of people-pleasing – fear of rejection of others if we don’t please them.
Jesus has promised us that the Truth – His truth – will set us free. His truth, if we are faithful to pour it in, will set us free of EVERY fear!
Thank you! I have always felt this way. In school I would be belittled or made fun of and missed out on so many opportunities due to lack of confidence. This has followed me into adulthood. I can’t wait to read your book and gain more insight!
Thank you for sharing, Missy! You are not alone. So many of us have been held back because of words spoken over us. No more … right? We are, with the power of the Holy Spirit, moving forward because of the words God is speaking over us and this is what will determine our future!
Lynn, thank you for sharing and being so real. I would like the opportunity to learn how to be confident in spit of myself. I believe there is a calling on my life to reach out to hurting women who have been abuse, but fear and a great deal of it has been stopping me from doing so. ( Lack of Confidence ) I can’t wait to read your book, your words are so real and encouraging. Thank you again, Merry Christmas.
I love this and cant’t wait read your book. I need more confidence. Thank you for all you do!
What is the foundation of our confidence?
Oh Lynn, you shook me on this one. When am I going to once and for all truly grasp where my confidence lies, whose opinion matters most, and that I can do all things
through Christ who strengthens me?
Loved your words and example from the mother of our Lord.
Lynn, these words are so timely for me. I felt let by Him to start a blog and even though it’s only been a week since I launched it, I wonder if I heard Him wrong because of an almost total lack of engagement by those who visit my blog. No comments, not many likes on FB.
You’re right, “confidence is not built on someone, something or someplace, but on our unshakable God.”
As someone who is currently struggling in this area, I needed this today! ❤️ I am so thankful that when I keep my focus on Him that He always sends me the right word at the right time.
God had blessed me with a new job starting in the New Year… I am struggling with self doubt about my capabilities and grasping God’s promises. Thank you for sharing your gift and blessing my morning with your words of encouragement!
It’s 4AM. I’m wide awake contemplating the new year 2018. The current year has been amazing but there is SO much I want to accomplish next year. I’m excited on the one hand but almost intimidated on the other. I will need much confidence as my lifeline to the Lord! Can’t wait to read your book! Thank you!
Encouraging words Lynn, thank you. I suffer from severe chronic pain and have isolated from others, and God. I look forward to reading this book, since I have lost so much confidence in myself due to my circumstances, and in Him.
Your words are echoing my life as its happening now.
Wow. This is what I have been living the past three years. I have had my confidence shaken at work. Make your move. I need that.
My husband and I are self -employed and are currently involved in a lawsuit against us. I am trying to find my confidence in our attorney, our record keeping, etc. when my confidence needs to be found in Jesus alone. Thank you for the reminder of that truth!
I really need confidence. I’m going through a time when I’ve gained weight, I’m 52 and feel like I have a new ache or pain every few weeks, I feel like old friends have just dropped out of my life and I don’t know why. There may be explanations for the friend area; I just feel like it’s something I have done, but it may just be we aren’t geographically close and our lives are just busy with family and daily routines. I do feel like I need confidence in my faith, myself and the fact that I am a good friend. Thanks for this and would love to read the book/watch the DVD set.
I am at a spiritual crossroad in my life and your words truly spoke to me this morning. I suffer from depression and seeking acceptance and approval can be a daunting task on days when you don’t have the confidence or desire to get out of bed. Thank you for reminding me that Godloves me and has my back.
I am dealing with this very thing right now, as the work I’ve done for over 40 years is less and less in demand and those who do want similar services seek out alternative means and un- and under-qualified providers. Yet I have faithfully told God that I am willing to make a change if it is His will. I look forward to this study and will do it whether or not I am the fortunate winner.
What a good word! As I enter into a transition at work, I need my hope and confidence to be deeply rooted in Him!
Thank you for your words. Confidence is something I have struggled with most of my life. You wwotds were so encouraging.
I think we all needed to hear this teaching this morning. I know I need it. Thank you so much for your wisdom Lynn
I know I needed to hear this – thank you for your wisdom Lynn!
This would be a blessing. Too many things and way to personal to post. Obviously, from reading the comments, many ladies could use this encouragement. Thank you for following thru and writing the book.
Thank you for sharing your experience, Lynn. It feels like I too have experienced a season of regular ”no, no, no” in both personal and professional lives but I am yet to develop a mature attitude towards rejection (without turning to be hopeless or bitter) and to lay a firm foundation of confidence in God- despite all the ‘no’-s. I guess I find it particularly confusing when I feel like God leads to a ”yes” in a particular situation, but I still get rejected in the end (by people). It’s becoming increasingly hard to believe in victory after 10 years of this, but I guess this is why I should really develop my maturity and confidence in God.
I see myself purchasing this book. Insecurities have a way of eating away at your confidence and I really need to build that back up. Looking forward to reading this.
Me too Jem Renee!!
Thank you for sharing your experience, Lynn. It feels like I too have been experiencing a season of regular ”no, no, no” in both personal and professional lives but I am yet to develop a mature attitude towards rejection (without turning to be hopeless or bitter) and to lay a firm foundation of confidence in God- despite all the ‘no’-s. I guess I find it particularly confusing when I feel like God indicates a promising ”yes” in a particular situation, but I still get rejected in the end (by people). It’s becoming increasingly hard to believe in victory after 10 years of this, but I guess this is why I should really develop my maturity and confidence in God.
I am often surprised to hear other Christian women struggle with the exact same things I struggle with….somehow I think I am the only one who has problems with confidence & trusting. I so appreciate the honest writings of Proverbs 31 ministry. thank you
Yes, Sherry, it’s so comforting that we can be honest and through God’s grace know that we are not alone. That is why I love Suzie Eller’s Living Free Together FB group. We stand Shoulder to shoulder as imperfect women who love and serve a perfect God!
Sherry – isn’t that just the way the enemy would have it, Sherry? Thinking we are the “different” ones so that we become isolated and alone? We are not alone and it is together that we can defeat the enemy and gain the confidence Christ intends for us to have!
I was having the best years of my life when things started to unravel and I have fallen into despair. Surrounded by sadness and feelings of inadequacy I have pulled away from living and need to find a way to get my life back and start enjoying the many blessings I have. I need my confidence back. I look forward to reading your book and applying the principles within so that I can start living again and counting my blessings not all that is wrong with me.
Sarah, Lifting you up in prayer today as you seek more Godly confidence and allow him to heal the past. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and He will not only heal your past but, through you, help others to heal too!
You are heading in the right direction, Sarah!
I can’t wait to read your book, Lynn-at 61 I am embarrassed to admit those past failures and words of discouragement still follow me today. I NEED a shift in my God confidence so I can follow his plan for my life much more fully!!
Nancy – our Father does not want us to be captive to our failures and words of discouragement spoken over us by others. You are not alone! For the past three weeks, there’s been a war going on in my mind too. But together – with the power of the Holy Spirit – we can and are winning, friend!
Thanks for writing the book and sharing. I can relate to how our circumstance or life situations cannot determine our confidence!
I absolutely love what you’ve written here. It feels like what I have been journaling, as we go through certain trials — and choosing to find the good and surrendering to God’s mold rather than how I think things should be. I really appreciate your faithfulness to create this, Lynn. Thanks so much for having her here, Suzie. Merry Christmas to you both!
Thank you so very much, Meg! Merry Christmas to you as well!
The words this morning truly helped me! My mom just passed away from Alzheimer’s. My confidence was shaken because Mom was my rock and how do I make it without my rock God. Lord did I not take care of her correct way, did I not devote enough time & love and so she developed this is a terrible disease. What would people say, her Mom has Alzheimer’s what’s your family doing. I know even more now, as I sit here with tears in my eyes, my Confidence is built on my unshakable God! I will stay in the word, pray and always talk to him. Looking so forward to reading the book.
Oh Diane! I love reading the victory you are already on your way to grabbing hold of. Keep going, friend!
This would be great for out Celebrate Recovery ladies groups.
I think so too, Cathy! Are you involved in Celebrate Recovery?
This book sounds like it will touch many women who struggle with disappointment in regards to their calling. Rejection is so hard to face and it can certainly kill your confidence if you’re not grounded in your identity with Christ. Blessings to you Lynn! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with us.
I needed this devotion this morning. I have based my confidence on other things rather on my God. I would love to get this study for my Young Mom’s Bible Class that I lead.
Thank you for your words today!
I can’t wait to read this book. I have struggled through several rough and tough years. The challenges aren’t over yet, but God is faithful and keeps sending me encouragement and support, often through Lynn’s writing (along with all the other P31 writers). I know that this new book and study will do more of the same. Thank you for sharing your life and heart with all,of us.
Thank you for your encouragement through your words, Linda! We all need encouragement and support as we move forward in obtaining God’s best for our lives.
Thanks for writing this book and sharing!
“Mary responded with confidence because Mary’s confidence began with her relationship with God.” love this sentiment and how I can apply it to my own life. Thanks to both of you for this post and the opportunity to win a copy of Lynn’s book!
I have been in a funk for about aBout a year now. Feeling depressed about my life and asking God to help with through . I am a believer for I know He has gotten me through tougher times. I struggling with staying or leaving my business . Our. Company is God’s work, but sometimes I feel I am not doing it well. Maybe I’m too old to continue. Maybe He has led me here to show me to stay the course.
Robin – these are important questions you are asking. In James 1:5, God promises us that if we ask, He will give us the wisdom we need. His word can be the exact tool He will use to give us that wisdom. I believe that as you pray and read His word, He will meet you with the answers you need: move, wait or sometimes I’ve found in my life it is simply to get out of His way 🙂
I work at Boise Rescue Mission as a House Manager at Valley Women & Children’s Shelter. I would love to have this tool when I teach chapel. I believe it would be life altering to these women:
Thank you so very much for the important work you do, Twila! You are a difference maker!
Thanks for giving us a chance to win and to learn about confidence.
Having confidence in yourself starts with your confidence in God
Thank you for being willing to open yourself up and share and be vulnerable about your struggles and successes with confidence.
That’s how we grow together, right Leslie? Being real. 🙂
Thanks for sharing today! This was a good message!
I would love this study
I looked at others for my confidence for most of my life. Every failure, ignore, harsh word turned into another try of showing them I was worth. I became a perfectionist who constantly made mistakes and took my inadequacies out on others. I was afraid to let others see me as someone who made a mistake, That meant I was not loveable. I would end up angry at myself for failing again. I would build myself up again and try something else until I would fail again. I was alone, very few friends and felt I could not trust others.
Now, I reach for Jesus. I have learned to love myself even when I am in the middle of a mistake because God loves me an created me for a purpose. But there are days that an old tape will surface.
I am really looking forward to reading this book. Thank you, Lynn Cowell for writing this book and sharing it with us.
Powerful, Lyn! Yes – when we build our confidence on someone, some place or some thing, all too often we will have it taken or stolen from us. On Christ alone; He is the only One we will never lose!
Thank you for sharing. While I believe this I don’t always live this if I’m being honest with myself. I’m much better at encouraging others to go for it and to push through in Christ yet I can let doubt and fear creep in for me. I don’t like to disappoint and therefore perfection is my paralysis if I let it. Ministering to blended families is truly a labor of love as there is a lot of push back from many different sides. I stay strong and press on in Him. I am committed to raising girls who seek His peace while not giving away their peace to please others. Thanks for sharing your heart. Look forward to your book and study. – Heather
I absolutely love what you are teaching your girls, Heather. “Seek His peace while not giving away their peace to please others.” He has this peace for us all … even us mamas. 🙂
This study is really needed it.
Maybe my lack of confidence in who I am is hindering my ability to determine what my purpose is in this phase of life? Would love to explore this further!
Wow, what perfect timing for me. My confidence has been shaken by not getting job interviews after returning to the workforce from staying home. So I finally get a job offer today for a job in my trained skills and my confidence is still shaken. Not confident because I haven’t done it soooo long. As women I believe we put too much pressure on ourselves. Hope I win.Thank you.
I think we all feel insecure as women in this day and age. Everywhere we look it is all about being younger, prettier, skinnier the list goes on and on. We need to be reminded that our security comes from the Lord. Thank you for writing a book about this subject.
This was very good. Lately I haven’t had a lot of confidence in my faith or my self. Thank you for reminding me that I need only be confident in God and nothing else matters if I’m right with Him.
Wonderful words to my soul. I loved the example of 2 types of miracles: instant and layer by layer. Thanks for reminding me to not focus on what I can’t change but on what I can change within me. God Bless!
The verse, “He must increase and I must decrease,” comes to mind. It’s not all about me… He is in control and it’s His show…
Sounds like a book that needs tocome part of my library. And definitely shared with my daughter.
wish comments were editable – should say “needs to become” above
I would love to have this book as we all lack confidence. Definitely a book I can share with others.
This time of season I am lacking confidence in myself in everything. Maybe this is something I should look into for guidance.
I watched the first video online and realized I had nenver thought about how brave the Hebrew midwifes were in standing up to Pharaoh, because he thought they were working for him.
Lynn, thank you. This whole year has been rough….2 surgeries (1 major), recovery and learning my body, my son and step sons life issues, my brothers heart valve transplant, my sisters death one month after cancer diagnosis, and now I’m having a breast biopsy myself. I am trying hard not to let life’s circumstances get me down….but have been failing miserably since my sisters death. This study would be good for myself and some other ladies I know. Thank you for your courage….it inspires me so much!!
I need this, please.
It is hard to be brave. My teenage daughter is in college. She went through traumatic events as a child, and has come a long way. I think she and I both could use this book to help us continue our healing journey.
This year has been really challenging for our family, this book will help me in building my confidence in God again. Thank you.
I’ve been working very hard on changing the core of my beliefs, from confidence in myself and others, to confidence in God. I would love to add the this book to my collection to help build that foundation.
Thank you for the conversation and reminder that my life is like a book full of chapters, that I am growing and learning as I go. The book sounds very interesting.