I walked across the shore of Lake Michigan. It was beautiful. As I approached a curve in the coastline, the only way to avoid water was to walk on broken cement and rocks hugging the landscape. I was alone, with a torn ACL in one knee, and was insecure about my ability to make it across the terrain.
I wanted to get to the other side of the beach. The coastline was too beautiful to be trapped where I was.
I walked cautiously, aware that any slip or misstep would immediately buckle my knee and I’d be unable to get up or to go any further. My strength would be gone.
I had to choose to cautiously, yet confidently, take the risk, or turn around and limit my experience.
I decided to take the risk.
Have you had similar situations in life? Where you have the chance to explore new experiences or opportunities, but you fail to take the risk because your handicaps, weaknesses, and insecurities hold you back?
When you’re confronted with scary, unknown next step options, you feel insecure, minuscule, and ill-equipped.
The fear can paralyze you.
The uncertainly tempts you to shrink back.
You feel vulnerable when you’re not equipped for what’s ahead.
But in order to get there, you have to walk on unsure footing.
If you can identify, you’re in good company, because I’m there with you. I recently felt how ill equipped I am for a task up ahead. But God was faithful, as always, to remind me where confidence comes from, and how to move forward with my best, most secure, foot forward.
- God’s wisdom is greater than man’s. As you submit your plans to God, the Holy Spirit will equip you. 1 Corinthians 1:25 says “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” Or insecure feelings. That’s a promise to hold onto!
- Use the strength you already have. Unsure situations are hard because you feel out of place, insecure, and not equipped. Before you step out on the unsure, rocky places, spend time with people and in places where your confidence is strengthened. Then, take the next step.
- Be as prepared as you can. Research, ask questions, and prepare yourself. While you’ll still feel insecure and unprepared, doing your homework gives you the best opportunity available.
- Extend grace to yourself. In any situation, you don’t come fully knowledgable or experienced. Confidence increases through trial and error. Give yourself grace to not know it all. Then, see every opportunity as a teachable moment.
- Look like you know what you’re doing. An educator I worked with teaches this principle to his special needs kids. Though they have cognitive disabilities, he tells them they’re smart. He teaches them to “look smart” when they go anywhere in the school so they don’t perpetuate the stereotype of being the “dumb” class. While such blatant teaching seems shocking, his students exude a confidence like no other. So can you. Look like you know what you’re doing and people will never know how scared you are.
Anyone can live out the last four principles. But no one, no matter how smart, wealthy, or influential they are, can match the immeasurable knowledge or mystery of God. As believers with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has access to that knowledge and mystery, and can equip you and I for any situation.
Will you join me in trusting Him?
And don’t forget to look smart.