Confidence for sale low resHave you ever known a smart, capable woman who has a good reputation, but no matter what she accomplishes, her confidence remains low and her fears remain high? Only her closest friends and colleagues may know this because she often behaves in bold ways that are not associated with low self-esteem.

Maybe this description fits you. If so, it’s a safe bet that you’ll eventually get tired of this trait. You’ll say “Enough. I can’t be/think this way anymore. Because I don’t have time for that—and I don’t like the way it makes me feel.”

Why am I writing about this? Because I am so ready to be over the low-confidence thing! I’ve been studying the origins of confidence, hoping to banish the mentality that leads to self-doubt and fear. That led me to the ultimate personal development book—the Bible.

I dig the way Joyce Meyer mines scripture to reveal the final word—God’s word—on how and why we should be confident. In her book, The Confident Woman, Meyer shares some biblical gems that looks at confidence through God’s lens.

I’m not a preacher, but Joyce Meyer is. For that reason, this may sound a little preachy, especially to readers who don’t consider themselves Christians. Regardless of your religious stance, certain universal truths herein still apply.

Remember, I digested this book for myself, but I’m sharing it because I’m certain that I’m not the only one who needs to be reminded.

Believe what God says about you—not what other people say. God doesn’t make junk. It’s a popular saying because it’s true. He made us, and it’s a fact that everything he made is good. That nullifies all negative opinions of you. Investing in what others say about you is a sure way to get your confidence quotient out of whack and dependent on the good opinions of others.

Bask in God’s love. Fully receive that love and you will naturally love yourself and build healthy, loving relationships with other people. People say and do crazy, hurtful things when they feel unloved or afraid. Loved people say and do amazing, empowering, life-changing things for the sake of the world. Exciting, right?

Reject fear. Fear is an evil force that keeps us from developing fully as human beings, especially when it becomes a habit. Want to be delightful in God’s eyes? Live in faith. Refusing to be fearful allows you to bear your gifts boldly and try new things without worrying about failure, pain and what others think.

Choose God’s thinking over your feelings. I don’t know how your mind works, but mine is full of vanities and emotions. Happily, we don’t have to walk in the vanity of our own minds, governed by feelings that are fleeting and unpredictable. How can anyone build a bold spirit if they are governed by feelings—especially feelings of fear? We’re given a direct command not to fear. When we are not intentional about what fills our minds, when we don’t renew ourselves with God’s thinking, we’re just schlepping along, aimlessly following whatever feelings or thoughts we’re prone to have as humans. This is not a good foundation for confidence.

Being positive or negative is a choice. It is a way of thinking, speaking and acting.Practice being positive. Gloomy people oppose the theory of positivity on the grounds that it isn’t realistic, but notice how positive God is. What could be more affirmative than the biblical message that all things work together for your good when you live in faith? When you expect the best to happen and believe the best about other people, it has a way of changing reality. Living in a state of negative expectations, worry and disappointment can take us very far off the path of being like Christ.

Stop comparing. In a Facebook world, we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others—a form of lust that can either drain confidence or cause us to strive too fervently for acclaim and superiority. (There’s a growing body of research to support this point. Here’s a story in the New Yorker about one study.) Ultimately, this cycle of comparison keeps us from accepting ourselves as God-created people, made to be just who we are. Too many of us believe that we fall short of some idealized version of a woman. God did not make us to be automatons. Our differences are an expression of his creativity.

Be yourself. Everything in our culture urges us to have more than we have, be more than we are and do more than we do. You can’t help but change and improve when you follow God, but the goal is to become more like yourself so you can help fulfill God’s will. It thwarts God’s work when we try to be someone we aren’t. How can we expect God to support such efforts? There is no good reason to try to be like someone else—unless, of course, that someone is teaching you how to use and develop your God-given talents and traits better. Christ wasn’t trying to be someone else. He was busy doing God’s will for him.

I’m a sucker for a good self-help book, and I hope that I can apply some of the biblical lessons emphasized in this book. The older I get, the more I value words that are eternally true. I didn’t cite scripture for all these ideas, but you’ll find each point abundantly supported by Bible verses in  The Confident Woman. Meyer’s words are inspiration for becoming the epitome of yourself—vintage you.

Of course, for most people, self-esteem is always work in progress—never a final destination, as Caroline Casey’s TED talk reveals.

I suspect some women conflate confidence with arrogance as a byproduct of how our culture views gender. How can you be meek, humble and remain confident? Let me hear your thoughts.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.