Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Confident Heart

Here's my first ebook, read on my kindle ~ "A Confident Heart", by Renee Swope

This book really speaks a lot about what most women struggle with ~ insecurities, self doubt, comparison, guilt... etc etc... *you know what I am talking about~*

Though - I know, people hardly believe when I say "I have no confidence". I don't know either sometimes how to explain my "no confidence" - 'coz seriously, you won't see it >.< and this book helped me to see the root of the problems that I never realized have been there for a long time~!

So, girls - I am gonna stop talking now, you just read the excerpt!

"The only way we’ll have a confident heart as if we move beyond knowing about God to knowing and relying on Him - to depending on His Word with our whole heart, mind and soul." - Renee Swope -

Self-doubt blocks the promise of God’s power and truth to change us from the inside out so that we can live with a confident heart.

Doubt keeps us from believing things can get better. Doubt convinces us that it’s not worth the effort.

It is a rare soul indeed who has been sought after for who she is—not because of what she can do, or what others can gain from her, but simply for herself . . . so what are we to conclude? Often we conclude that there is nothing in our hearts worth knowing. Whoever and whatever this mystery called I must be, it cannot be much. John Eldredge and Brent Curtis[1]

It can be hard to let people know how we’re really doing. We don’t want to be high maintenance, right? We surely don’t want people to see the peeling paint of our imperfections or the rotting attitudes in the wood boards of our minds. It’s embarrassing for people to see our flaws and failures, so we work hard to look like we’re doing fine from a distance.

Sometimes I think we tell people we’re fine even when we’re not, because we want to be fine. Or we hope that by saying we are fine, eventually we will be. Other times we act like we’re fine because others expect us to be.

Being honest about who we are and how we are doing is especially risky when it comes to our insecurities. We fear that if people know we doubt ourselves, they’ll start doubting us too.

Pretending leads to hiding and isolation. What we need is someone who will pursue us and accept us even though we’re flawed. Yet most of us doubt anyone would ever stick with us if we let them get too close. So we put up walls and hide our struggles, even from God, hoping we’ll convince Him and everyone else that we’re fine. Eventually, though, we find ourselves in the shadows of doubt, convinced that we aren’t worth knowing or pursuing. Slowly we begin to believe we have to be perfect to be loved and accepted.

Oh how I longed for someone to see past the exterior fa├žade and look into the secret places of my heart. I wanted to be known and loved for who I was. Yet if I let my guard down, I was afraid someone would say I was too sensitive or too serious…. Even though I was surrounded by people, my insecurities convinced me I was all alone.

Jesus met Sam in one of the loneliest parts of her day. In the same way, He is there waiting for us in the midst of our imperfect lives, when our pain and failures confirm our self-doubts. He is there waiting for us when we’re going through the motions, aware of what needs to be done but unaware of how we’re going to do it. He is there on those mornings when we can’t stop criticizing ourselves for blowing it the day before; when we go to work and wonder why we’re even there.

You don’t have to pretend things are fine when they aren’t. He knows what is going on in your thoughts. Nothing could keep Him from wanting to be with you. He invites you to come to Him to receive the perfect love He offers—love that casts out fear, love that is patient and kind, love that keeps no record of wrongs.

But if we only live on the surface with God, we’ll never experience the intimacy we long for or the acceptance and security He offers. Instead of just making our lives easier, God wants us to come up close and experience Him and all that He has for us. He knows that our problems won’t be solved and our confidence won’t be found through simply getting more stuff done. Instead, He invites us to slow down and talk to Him about our day and the desires of our hearts, asking Him to show us the reasons for our doubts and insecurities. He wants us to go below the surface by asking Him to show us why we want what we want. Then we can ask Him if what we want is really what we need.

In the same way, Jesus wants to help you see what is going on in your heart and what you are struggling with that is eroding your security and confidence. If you were sitting with Jesus today, what do you think He’d want to talk about? Perhaps your heart needs to be set free from pretending and perfectionism. Are you longing for others’ approval and wonder why you can never get enough?

Jesus is the only one who can meet our deepest needs to be accepted and delighted in simply because of who we are. We can offer nothing but our presence, and he will desire us just the same.

A personal relationship with God sets us free to be all we were created to be. As children of God we were designed to find our identity, our significance, and our confidence in Him.

The only way we’ll have a confident heart as if we move beyond knowing about God to knowing and relying on Him - to depending on His Word with our whole heart, mind and soul.

When I feel insecure, insignificant, or unloved, remind me of Your perfect love that has the power to cast out my fear.

Our plans (me and my ex boyfriend) of a future together crumbled under the pressure of me expecting him to be all that I needed, and him wanting freedom to be who he wanted. I had been crazy about him – a little too crazy.

You’ve been trying to earn your value in everything you’ve done. But you will never ding the love you for in anyone or anything but ME. I AM the unconditional love you are looking for.

Until our hearts find complete security and significance in God’s unconditional love, we will never be satisfied.

Those of us who struggles with insecurity and find ourselves in the shadow of doubt often get there because we are seeking our validation in people’s opinions, our worth in accomplishments, and our identity in excessive commitments. It can only go on for so long before something breaks. We either get tired and quit trying, or we push ourselves to the point of burnout because we don’t know how to set boundaries.

God put a longing for unfailing love in our hearts because He knew it would lead us back to Him. Only God’s unfailing love will fill and fulfill the desires of our hearts. It is the deepest thirst of our souls. Until God’s love is enough, nothing else will be.

For instance, if we focus on our job (or our marriage) al the time, thinking about how we are doing at work (or home) and what our boss (or husband) thinks about us, we start to find our worth in our performance, and our job (or marriage) can become something we worship. If we are doing well, we feel fulfilled. If we are not doing well, we feel empty and like we have less worth.

Salvation is one-time decision, but finding satisfaction in Christ and living in the security of His promises is a daily process.

Jesus wants us to invite Him to look into the well of our hearts each day and show us what, who and where we are looking to be filled and fulfilled. As we allow Jesus to fill and fulfill us instead, the Holy Spirit quenches our spiritual thirst. We find our satisfaction in Him and begin to live with a sense of contentment and confidence based on the unchanging promise of who we are and what we have in Christ.

We become secure as we know and rely on His love more and more. It is a moment by moment, day by day experience where we process our thoughts, emotions, and decisions with God, positioning our hearts to let His perspective redefine ours.

A confident heart is found in a woman who knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is loved no matter what. Lasting security comes when we bring the empty well of our hearts to Jesus and ask Him to fill and fulfill us with the security of His unfailing love.

"Faith looks back and draws courage; hope looks ahead and keeps desire alive." -John Eldredge and Brent Curtis-

Many of us have been completely knocked off our feet and wondered if we would ever have the strength to get back up again.

Yet getting back up again is often where we find our strength.

God also showed me I needed to find my security and hope in Him alone by letting Him be the Father I longed for. I needed to grieve some of the things I wanted that I would never have. I also needed to invite God into those hurting places so He could bind up my broken heart and set me free from captivity to my fear that I would never have a happy ending.

His power is perfected in the broken places we consider to be our greatest weaknesses – our most vulnerable emotions we don’t want anyone to know about. In those hiding places, God calls us out of captivity. When we’re willing to let Him, He brings hope for our future despite the pain of our past.

God’s plans for us are found when we surrender ours and seek His each day. God’s plans unfold each time we come to Him, talk to Him, and really believe He’s listening. Learning to live in the security of God’s promises is a daily journey of dependence.

We find ourselves in the shadow of doubt many times because our thoughts are mostly about ourselves; how we’re performing and what others are thinking about us.

When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. We leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what He is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people’s opinions.

“You can’t put your hope in a man, you can only put your hope in God. A man’s love will always disappoint you.”

Paul warns us that those who “measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves” are not wise (2 Cor 10:12). Our struggle with comparison will always leave us feeling like we’re lacking something. We try to do more and be more, but it’s never enough. We still feel insecure and wonder what’s wrong with us.

What I need to change is the way I talk to myself. Because every time I say, “What’s wrong with me?” I plant a seed of doubt and convince myself more and more that something is wrong with me.

That is not what God wants me to say to myself, and it’s not what He wants you to say to yourself either. However, we have an enemy who loves to cast the shadow of self-doubt over us and get us to focus on all that is wrong with us (real or perceived), instead anything that is right with us.

“The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity.” Dr. Neil T. Anderson

Trying to get our “good enough” outside of God’s promises and provision will always create insecurity and obstruct our relationship with Him and with other people.

The truth is, we are all “wrecked up”, but we are loved with reckless abandon by the King of Glory. We may be rejected by man, but we are accepted and adored by our Maker. We may be betrayed and cast aside, but we are chosen and redeemed by our Heavenly Father.

We also have an enemy who is completely against us. He is jealous of God’s glory in us and threatened by the beauty that lies within the heart of a woman whose identity is secure. That is why he attacks our confidence. He knows if he can paralyze us with self-doubt and insecurity we will never live up to the full potential of who we are and what we have in Christ.

Now, we don’t need to be afraid of our enemy. The One who is in us is greater than the one who is against us. However, we do need to be aware of his schemes and ready to stand against them.

Although people’s preferences will change, God’s desire for us won’t. Others might not think we’re good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don’t desire us anymore, God most certainly does! The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and it’s His goodliness that makes us good enough!

Comparison leaves us insecure, confused, and discontent. My friend Genia summed it up well when she told me, “Every time I compare myself with someone else, I can never measure up because I am comparing my insides with their outsides.” She is so right. We compare how we feel inadequate on the inside with someone who looks like they have it all together on the outside. Then we try to polish our outsides, hoping that will make us feel better on the inside, but it never does.

Comparison causes us to compete with each other, but no one wins. God never intended for us to compete with each other; He wants us to complete one another, celebrating and encouraging each other’s strengths while discovering who He created us to be.

God deliberately gave you the personality He wanted you to have so He could impact certain people through your life.

We all have strengths, and when surrendered to Christ, we become more like Him as we become more like our true selves.

When we are faithful with the little things, God entrusts us with more and we get to share in the joy of fulfilling His purposes. We are stewards responsible for all God has entrusted to us, no matter how significant or insignificant our gifts seem.

I surrender my personality, heart’s desires, abilities, spiritual gifts, and experiences to Your purposes. I delight myself in You, Lord, trusting You to shape desires of my heart to match Yours.

Grace is the security of knowing God’s love is guaranteed for us because we trust in Christ.

When I say, “I feel so weak.” God says, “I’ll give you power.”

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

When I say, “I feel so alone.” God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deut 31:6)