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.
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.
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