Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chapter 3 Ms. Confidence **sigh**

Well it's not Tuesday it's Wednesday, and this was another heart cleansing chapter from this amazing book Behind Those Eyes. I'm enjoying this study so much, and meeting all of you ladies, I can't tell you how much it has impacted my life. I'm so glad I've become a part of the Yes to God Family. Lisa's quotes are in purple.
So when I first read the chapter it hurt me. I only saw and heard condemnation and the lies of the enemy. This is you - your just like those women all show no strength, no real substance; and I almost believed it. Because it was once true. Lisa described this Ms. Confidence like this "Ms. Confidence can be wearing a business suit, a jogging suit, or a bathing suit, but you will definitely know her when you see her. She will be the one who has no problem carrying on a conversation, running the show, or letting you know how confident she is."

I thought that how it was suppose to be. I was completely sold out on the worlds view of the confident woman. Lisa describes it this way, "The idea of making one's own decisions about her body and what to do with it is an idea Ms. Confidence highly esteems. Making decisions about your own body seems like the epitome of confidence. It has become a gender-empowering thing in or society to own our sexuality and form a kind of identity around doing what we want to do." This is what I thought confidence was, and this is where I placed mine.

You see I was always told I was beautiful, I modeled as a teen and in my early 20's (not a world I would ever recommend for a girl) and could get pretty much anything I wanted with the right smile. I relished in the fact that I could walk through a public place and make heads turn. I had the right clothes the right smile and the right body. And by the time I was in my 20's I had it down pact. This is where I placed my confidence, it was lonely and destructive. I thought in order to be loved this was what was expected of me, and when I couldn't hold the attention of my current boyfriend or husband I hated myself. With this behavior I pushed away my close friends as I slowly alienated them so they could not see the real me anymore. This pattern went on for years. When I read this chapter this is what I saw, and honestly I didn't want to do the questions at the end of this chapter.

I sat in my comfy spot, and Brett asked me what was wrong. I told him I was having trouble with the chapter, I don't like what I'm seeing in myself. He then asked me with one of his favorite quotes are you listening to Mt. Sinai - the voice of you shall not or you'll be condemned- or are you listening to Calvary the voice of grace and mercy. So I read the chapter again.
This time I heard something different. I heard yes this is who your once were - but not anymore, I am now your strength, I am now your provider, I am now where you find love and acceptance. I am your Father and you are my child.

True Confidence "is not something merely worn...confidence can't be layered on with our clothes for the day, and it can't be taken off or removed by anyone else when it is truly present." For me true confidence means that people sense a strength in you and are drawn to it, yet there is humility and vulnerability. A willingness to let people see that you are in need but the strength and love you find are in God, and he gives you the ability to reach out to the people he puts in your life to help carry the burden.

God reminded me of a conversation I had right after I gave Him control of my life. I won't give the whole story here but a bit of background. When I was in my 7th month of pregnancy with Brinn, my now ex-husband (her bio-father) came to me and said he no longer wanted to be married, after 7 years. He had met someone else. I felt my world completely fall apart. I lived at the time 3 hours from my family, but I called my sister (she's a believer and had been praying for me for years) and she encouraged me to seek council through a church. So I did, I met a Pastor name Roy Pope who shared why Jesus came, how that could change my life and that my baby and I would be okay, because God would be my husband and her father. I finally heard what so many had told me before and understood that God loved me despite who I'd been and what I'd done, and that day at the age of 34 and 7 months pregnant I gave my life to Jesus. I had immediate peace, and things started changing from that day forward.

Now back to the conversation that God reminded me of. It was a couple weeks or so, and my ex would come by and talk at me. He was very confused, very self centered, and had no idea of what boundaries were. He was going on about how he and his new girlfriend were going to get a place, and then about how bad his job was, all kinds of things. He then said to me "I feel like my life is in complete cayos." I looked at him and said "It is, because you are seeking fulfilment in the wrong places." He stopped completely silent which was amazing for him, and looked at me. He said, "How come you seem so different, you are so calm, aren't you scared about what's going to happen, how your going to live." I just looked at him and said, "Right now we are both standing on the edge of the same cliff about to fall, the difference between you and me is that I know if I fall Jesus is going to catch me, and if you fall you have no one there to save you. I know that the baby and I will be fine that God will provide all we need, I have confidence in the Lord and that's all I need." Of course looking back now I know that was the Holy Spirit giving me those words.

That was it the day that God showed me where my true confidence should be. As Lisa wrote, "True confidence comes from only one source-and inside Source- and it cannot be bought, sold, put on or manufactured." That source in Jesus.
Now obviously, I forget and I sometimes try to put on that outside confidence. Then I remember I'm not a 20 something size 5 with the models body anymore, and thanks to the reminder in this chapter I don't have to be. My looks are not who I am, they've changed over the years up and down in weight, gravity, effects of medicine on my skin, not to mention those lines of experience around the eyes. I definitely don't have the wardrobe anymore, and I've had one husband leave for another woman. So so much for exterior confidence.

The Apostle Paul tells us "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24

When I met my husband Brett, I didn't consider myself much to look at, and I was so engrossed in being a single mom, that I didn't even realize that he'd asked me out, until a couple of days had gone by. Brett tells me that he originally noticed me because he thought I was pretty, but what really drew him towards me was that every time he saw me I was always smiling, and laughing. He knew I'd been through a devastating illness, and he knew I was a single mom, yet he said I was always happy, and he could see a light in me he'd never seen before in anyone before, and he wanted to know more about me and what made me so happy. Confidence in having God as the center of my world it's what Brett saw, and what I want to always show.

As far as be vulnerable, well God has worked on me about that. As a newly divorcing mother of an infant I had to ask for help to get by and to find healing from the divorce. Then 18 months later when my liver failed, I had to ask for help, I couldn't take care of myself, or my daughter. There have been so many area's where God has opened me up and put me in a vulnerable spot. I believe it's his way of teaching me to be confident in Him. Recently it was being able to share about the struggles of our marriage. God started me with a small group of women in a bible study at church, after a few sessions God gave me the nudge I needed to share the pain I was in, and they surrounded me and loved me and covered our family in prayer. They made me feel safe and supported.

Now God has opened up this blog for me, a place to let others see my vulnerability, and my confidence in God. That He can take a broken and hurting life, and make it something beautiful, and now I live for this promise from Jesus.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.
Revelation 21:4-5 NIV

So I share with you the prayer that Lisa shared in the end of the study questions for this chapter:
Dear Lord, we admit that as capable as we may be, we can not be truly confident without the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. . . leading us and directing us in our everyday circumstances. Our desire is that we begin to be transparent before You and those around us, admitting our vulnerabilities and helping others feel the freedom to, in turn, get real.
In Jesus' name. Amen

If you would like to read more about this chapter or the study head over to Lelia's Blog she's leading our study, and you can also read what others are sharing on their blogs. It's also not to late to join us. Also make sure you stop by the authors site Lisa Whittle's blog she's part of our study, and gives us great encouragement and more insight each week.


Liz said...

Oh, Carol! Your story warms my heart because I can hear the love and trust that you have in our Jesus when I read it. I hear your beauty and the confidence you have in Him! Thank you so much for your post and I look forward to reading more.
Love, Liz

Christy said...

What a testimony to God's faithfulness and His pursuit of you!

Thank you for being so real and honest with your story. Yours is a life that was changed!

Lily said...

wow, I am not a religious person but your posts about this book are really hitting me in the gut. I think I'm due for a little soul searching.

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

God is truly so faithful to us...even when...well...we aren't!!!

Thanks for challenging me through your post.

Paula said...

Hi Carol, this is an amazing post! So raw and from the heart. I can hear myself saying some of the words on the page. I can also relate exactly where you're coming from in regard to the difference between your life, post separation, and your ex-husband's life, as that is what it is like for Jasmine's father and I. My life now is so together compared to how his is, and will no doubt be unless he gets Jesus in his life. I only got it together when I let go and let God take over, and I'm thankful for my sweetie for that. Once again, a great post, and I am going to read it again! Love Paula :-)

Leebird said...

Wow, Carol, this is the first time I have read about the journey God has been taking you on. Wow...what a testimony of God being sufficient. I pray that I'd be content in the arms of Christ if all else failed.

Much love, Lee

Anonymous said...

Carol! What a testimony you have! You write from the heart (where have I heard that before!!!) and your post exudes your faith and trust and confidence in Him. I'm off to read it again... Blessings to you. xx

Connie said...

Carol...what a great story you have to share. It's amazing how far we've all come in our lives and I look forward to more amazement as we follow our Lord Jesus. You are beautiful! Hey...I tagged you for a meme at my blog if you want to play! Connie

Anonymous said...

I completely feel your heart here. I can relate with your words of how you feel-you can just write so much better than I can. I truely feel too that this study, God is using it for me to face and to heal properly from my and my husband's past. I thought that I had it all taken care of but apparently my feelings and emotions are still there-just pushed back. I too hope this heals me the way God wants me to be healed. I didn't realize that I had held onto Ms. Confidence and I don't like her and her reactions to my husband and my life.

Many Blessings to you

Lisa said...

I am so blessed by this post and your heart that so desires to be real. Thank you for being open and honest before God, more than anyone else! He is truly working in your life, and it is obvious.

I love how you read something different when you went back with an open mind and heart. I love how He spoke to you in a different way and you saw...not condemnation... but gratitude and peace over knowing you have recognized the confidence issue for what it is and through God's grace, worked through it. What an awesome testimony!

Keep pursuing truth, friend!
Lisa :)

Regina said...

I love reading your story, it reminds me how faithful God really is. Thanks for being the "V" word. Your honesty will help many women see that it is OK to be who God made us to be. And that He truly does turn ashes to beauty.

LynnSC said...

Hi Carol,

Thanks again for such a heartfelt post. You share straight from your heart. God is faithful!!

Continue to share your testimony... I know that God is using it.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I enjoyed reading this and getting to know you more. I admire you for having an illness and a child yet your husband was able to see you smiling all the time. I think I probably don't smile enough. I seem to have gone into a slump. About six months ago, I could try to feel happy and portray some of that in one-minute spurts. I need to get that back and you've made me begin to ponder that.
Love ya,

Tammy R said...

Your story touched my heart. God has done amazing things in your life,all because you put your trust in Him.

Thank you for letting me get a glimpse of who you are,my friend.

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

You have a beautiful story. Did you ever think it would turn out like this-a beautiful story? That is what is so amazing about God's grace and how He can take so ugly in our life and make it sweet! Thank you for being real-it is very encouraging!

In His Graces~Pamela

Laura said...

What an amazing testimony. I admire your strength and courage so much. Yet, I know that you would say it was Jesus that got you through these things. You are a special lady,Carol. What an awesome example of faith you have give us all.