by Carolyn Lau, 33 years old
On the first day of the School of Witness (SOW), we were asked “what are you thirsting for?” The first thing that came to my mind was confidence. Not having confidence was something I’ve struggled with all my life. My brother did very well in his studies and when my grades were often compared to his, I felt that I always fell short of expectations. I also struggled with my weight and being at the receiving end of jokes affected my self-image.
I instinctively compared myself to others and believed that I had not achieved very much in life and that I will never be good enough. My lack of confidence affected my decision making where I would always hesitate and ask for other’s opinions. Whenever others questioned my decisions, I took them to mean that I was lousy.
Last year at “Emmaus in the City”, I asked for prayers about a career choice. The message for me was to seek first the kingdom of God, that it wasn’t really about choice A or B, but about making God the focus. I went away that night feeling confused; it made sense to me but really, how to seek His Kingdom first? How do I see and hear a God who cannot be seen or heard?
So I began my journey of seeking and that led me to SOW.
Confidence is defined as “the belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something”. At SOW, I realised that that someone is God. I realised to believe and to rely on God meant that I first needed to trust Him and that I did not trust God because I had the wrong impression of Him as one who judges me for things I did or did not do. I realised my experience of being compared and feeling judged made me see God in that way.
At a session on God the Father, I realised that I needed help to see Him as He really is, so that I can see myself for who I am since I am created in God’s image and likeness. As I slowly surrendered control of what I already knew, I experienced a personable and gentle God who speaks directly to me. I had a renewed experience of Him being a Father who knows me better than I know myself, who loves me unconditionally despite what I’ve done or not done and who tells me that it is safe to trust and follow him because He wants the best for me.
I recall a moment where I was sharing about my feelings of inadequacy. My sharing partner asked me to recall the moments where I felt like I could not do anything, and it was who told me that I could not do it. Many times, the answer is “says me”. After this simple exchange, many memories where I resigned myself to not being good and confident enough to make decisions flooded my mind. God then spoke through my sharing partner to tell me that all these negative scripts I placed on myself were obstructing me from seeing who He had made me to be. He told me that I didn’t need to make my life about what I cannot do, but about what He can do through me. He told me that I didn’t need to place my security on the comparisons and approval of others, because I was already good enough for Him.
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All this while, I had drawn around myself a box of what I could not do. At SOW, Jesus told me to allow expansion, to surrender and allow Him to do what I thought was impossible for myself. He expanded my vision of what He could do for me, for I slowly saw myself doing things that I would normally find hard to do, like dancing, journalling and praying over my brothers and sisters. I started to see my journey as unique and incomparable.
My confidence begins with a confidence in Jesus and by trusting that He will continue to add and expand in my life. Of course, worries still come and fill my mind. The difference now is that each time I begin to worry; I know Jesus is inviting me to renew my confidence in Him, and to trust that He will provide, that He will work all things out for my good and for His glory.
My friends, will you allow yourself to trust and allow Jesus to expand what you say about yourself too?
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