People who know me realize that I pursue life with confidence. That doesn’t mean that I have on the figurative rose-colored glasses. I don’t think everything will always be hunky-dory or that I will never encounter difficulties.
Confidence means that I believe God will work through me, that He will be faithful to empower me to do everything He has called me to do. I have confidence in God and His promises. Since He lives in me, confidence infuses my outlook regarding what I am able to do.
I have noticed a lot of negative personal outlooks in our culture that have become fashionable. For example, when someone says something negative about himself, you often hear someone else say something like, “Thank you for being honest.” Or when a speaker confesses an evil act in his life, frequently one hearer will say to the other, “At least he’s being honest.”
How is honesty connected with a statement of negativity? Am I not being honest if I say, “I wrote a great chapter in my book today”? How many times have you heard a statement like that and then someone replied, “Thank you for being honest.” It is rare.
A few years ago I read a disturbing post on a writers’ forum. Someone asked readers to list two aspects of writing that keep them from being MVP (Most Valuable Player) writers. First, the assumption is that no one believes he can be an MVP writer. The second problem is the question’s dwelling on the negative. Why not ask, “Those of us who are not already MVP writers should strive to be. What aspect of your writing are you working on that will propel you into that category?”
I have no problem believing that I am an MVP writer right now. When I was pursuing writing as a career, I was confident that I would become one. Why not? God had called me to be a writer, so I fully expected to become a good one. I always believe in performing at my very best, so why not have confidence that I can and will perform at a high level?
Now that I am a best-selling author and my publisher perceives me as their top author, it would be dishonest of me to believe otherwise or to display a false mask. Of course I know that I still need to strive to be even better, but I will not lower my head and self-deprecate in order to achieve a false sense of humility.
True humility is to have a correct view of our standing–servants to the Almighty God. Without Him we would be nothing. We would not even be able to take a breath. Everything we do or hope to do is enabled by His grace and empowering. Yet, through Him, we can do all things, and it glorifies God when we stand up and tell the world what His power has accomplished in us. This is authentic humilty–true honesty.
A truly honest person is willing to state his abilities as well as what he lacks. For example, I am highly skilled in analyzing the written word, but I am terrible at most activities that require creating with my hands. Both of these are honest statements, and we would do well to feel free to share truths about ourselves so that others can learn from our skills and perhaps help us where we lack.
Many aspiring writers would benefit from a more confident outlook. While taking care not to gloss over inadequacies in their writing abilities and ignore prudent marketing strategies, they need to pursue their goals with complete confidence that it is God who is at work in them to bring about the ends that He desires.
So, writers, keep working hard at honing your craft. Take care to pursue relationships in the industry in order to learn the business. Seek to be a servant and help others. These are all essential steps. In all these things keep your head up. If you are a Christian, you are a child of the King. You are marching to fulfill His calling, under His orders, and in His power. You are not worms who crawl in the mire, engaging in self-flagellation in order to adhere to a popularly accepted self view.
If you heed this counsel, you will likely be called proud or arrogant. Such accusations will sting. I know. I have felt those barbs many times. Confidence is not popular. But take courage that Jesus endured the same poisoned arrows. He has called us to honor God no matter what, to tell the truth about God’s light in us. We are a city set on a hill. Let us not hide our lights under the bushel of dishonest “honesty.”