I grew up in a family of fabulous singers. But, I am not one of them…
My grandmother traveled with a gospel choir and played as the church pianist for at least 20 years. I grew up watching my mom and aunts sing, too. Their voices are powerful, beautiful and amazing.. They can blow! If we’re friends on social media, you’ve seen photos of my sister, Tonya, who is an opera singer. Watching to her perform always bring a smile to my face that lasts far after her performance is over.
You might be wondering if I can sing. The answer is…meh.
If you happen to pull your car up next to mine in traffic, I guarantee that I’m singing in the car. I am an awesome car singer. The acoustics are wonderful for my marginal vocal ability. If I turn up the radio high enough, I sound exactly like the vocalists in the song. If I turn off the radio and keep singing, just be happy that my windows are up.
In my 20’s I struggled with my less-than-super singing. Since I was from a singing family, having an okay singing voice wasn’t good enough when everyone around me sounded so great.
To increase my confidence, I took voice lessons in my mid-20’s. I felt better when I sang on my ensemble church worship team. But as soon as I had to sing on my own, my confidence faltered and my voice always fell flat. I often wanted to run off the stage and hide. Oh, how I used to beat myself up! Why couldn’t I keep my confidence?
Do you ever struggle with your confidence?
I love it when women tell me their dreams. Some women desire certain job or career title. I get frequent emails from women who want to write or speak. Having a dream is a good thing! But, what do you do when you dream is undermined by your lack of confidence? Some of us have a Debbie Downer living in the dirty corner of our mind telling us things like:
“You don’t belong…”
“She’s more talented than you…”
“Why do you think that you’re special…”
“If you fail, everyone will laugh…”
Six Words to Say to Yourself
Yesterday, I finished Lynn Cowell’s new Bible study, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakeable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures. Lynn is a speaker and author who writes and speaks to equip mothers with wisdom so that those mamas can raise wiser daughters. Her six-week Bible study featured weekly profiles of six groups of women in the Bible and lessons in Christ-Courage and confidence, like Shiprah and Puah, the two Hebrew women who refused to follow the Pharoah’s order to kill infants like Moses.
One of my favorite moments was studying Deborah, one of Israel’s judges. Not only was she assigned to be God’s spokesperson to Israel, but she’d received a gigantic assignment: to instruct the Israelites during battle. Just to be clear, Deborah was a judge, not a warrior. But, she went because that is what God called her to do.
As I studied her story a few weeks ago, I was pushing to finish my new book, Winning the Worry Battle. It’s been a tough few months writing back-to-back projects, losing my dad, traveling and then moving through the editing process. For the first few weeks of January, I felt like I was fisting-fighting the Debbie Downer in my mind because I was mentally worn out from the past few months of life. What if you flake out and don’t finish? What if your writing isn’t any good? What if no one buys it?
But, as I studied Deborah, she speaks six words that immediately refilled my soul.
In Judges 5, Deborah and Barak sing a song of victory after winning the battle. As they sing over defeating their enemies, Deborah slips in six powerful words. They are tucked into verse 21:
The Kishon River swept them away—
that ancient torrent, the Kishon.
March on with courage, my soul!.
– Judges 5:21
Did you see those precious words: “March on with courage, my soul!”?
I’ve read, remembered and breathed those words at least a hundred times in the past three weeks. There’s are two powerful lessons for us to remember when we’re under pressure and questioning whether we can actually do what God’s called us to do.
First, Deborah knew how to encourage herself when she needed it. Her encouragement fueled her confidence.
Second, if we trust and know what God has called us to do, let’s stop undermining our confidence while we’re doing it.
How can you encourage yourself today?
- Do I even need to say this? Stop calling yourself names like stupid, idiot, worthless or loser! Those names are not helpful and they will hurt your confidence. As I wrote in my Enough Already book, “Beating yourself up won’t change a thing!”
- Learn how to become a rock star at encouraging yourself. Encouraging yourself is not prideful! The Bible is filled with proclamations of God’s everlasting love for us. Even when we mess up, God loves us. Whispering phrases like, “I made a mistake, but I’m not a mistake,” “I can keep going because God will help me” and “I am not alone, God is with me” – these are how we keep our confidence. Can you start saying these phrases to yourself?
So, how does my story end?
After a few years of constant confidence struggles, I finally stopped singing. I’d taken a temporary break to give birth to my now 17-year daughter. By the time I was ready to begin serving at church again, the music team had re-organized and I found a new ministry where God began to lay the foundation for the work that He’s given me to do today.
Once I began following my natural gifts and talents, I found peace. Not only that, but I could learn and grow with so much freedom. Confidence came from being who God called me to be! I love Lynn’s words in the study. She writes, “We each have different gifts, talents and callings. I am simply a woman doing the assignments God gives to me.
Whatever God has called you to do in this season of life matters, my friend. You don’t need to compare yourself to what the women around you are doing because you’ve got your own amazing work to do. Whether you’re raising your children, working your 9-5 or caring for your parents, confidence comes from knowing that you’re doing the best at what God calls you to do.
Creating a conversation around Christ-confidence is such a vital discussion. Check out Lynn’s Bible study by clicking here. You can also listen to my recent podcast with Lynn by clicking the audio player below:
SHARE YOUR STORY: What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned about being a confident woman?