Encouragement Comes from Conveying Confidence
What does it mean to have “confidence” in some one else? I checked out the American Heritage Dictionary and found that the definition for confidence means to “have trust or faith in a person or thing.”
Have you ever had a friend, parent or teacher who had “confidence” in you? Of course you have! Maybe you remember a time from your childhood when you were learning the lines for a school play–when you were feeling overwhelmed and ready to give up. Your Mom, or perhaps a friend, kept saying things like, “You can do it! Don’t give up. You’re going to be so good! Keep trying. I believe in you!”
And so, you did keep on and they were RIGHT! You did great!
These people, whoever they were, conveyed confidence in you and you were encouraged to keep on working until you succeeded.
Conveying confidence in another–what does that look like?
I am the recipient of having a long line of people in my life who had confidence in my abilities, and who conveyed that confidence to me in ways that I could receive. Because they did, I have achieved far more than I perhaps would have without their encouragement.
One such person was a woman named Miriam. She is a godly woman about 5 years older than me. When we first met she had just left a prominent staff position with a large North American church, in order to become a missionary with the same organization my husband and I belonged to. Her official title was Director of Women’s Ministries. She was responsible for pioneering the BEE (Biblical Education by Extension) Women’s Ministries program, for our work in the Iron Curtain countries of Eastern Europe. (This was during the 1980’s and 1990’s era). Miriam developed a team of missionary women to travel and teach the pastor’s wives in these restricted-access countries. In my opinion, Miriam was a lady to look up to!
One day, Miriam asked me if I would like to be part of the Women’s Ministries team. At first I was surprised that she would even want me on her team. Then—I was elated! Later, my insecurity surfaced and I felt totally unqualified to teach women in these restricted countries. I turned her down flat.
You see, my personal experience, at that time, was primarily that of being a housewife, mother of four, a Sunday school teacher–and yes–a missionary. Being swamped with all these responsibilities, I did not consider myself to be a public speaker, or even a very good Bible teacher–except with children!
When I expressed my hesitations, Miriam smiled and commented that she had observed me on several occasions, and I had much to share with the women of Eastern Europe.
So, she gave me my first assignment.
- She helped me to work on the lessons I would be teaching.
- She stood on the sidelines and cheered me on.
- When I tried my wings, she was there to coach me.
Sometimes I crashed and lost a few feathers, but she was always there reminding me, “I believe in you, Linda. You can do this! The women in Eastern Europe will love you!”
That first seminar in Romania was awesome! It ignited within me a desire to teach women that still burns in my heart to this very day! I’ve come a long way since then. Thank you, Miriam!
Miriam became a“confidence builder” in my life.
As I think about Miriam and her influence in my life, I see how far the impact of her mentoring has gone. I also recognize the impact others have had in my life since those days in the ’80’s and 90’s in Europe. Many fine men, and (mostly) women, have added to my self-concept in definite ways. They still encourage me through memories of their trust and faith in my abilities and talents.
You see, these people were instrumental in releasing confidence in me—in my abilities and talents—far beyond what I could envision or believe on my own. They worked their magic by encouraging me to be all I could be. And I rose to their expectations!
The Apostle Paul voices this same kind of confidence in Timothy, his young protégé, in 2 Timothy 1, by reminding him of a few facts. He reminded Timothy that he was a man of sincere (authentic) faith, a faith that began in his mother, Eunice and his grandmother, Lois.
Paul reminded him that he, Paul, had also imparted to him a special gift through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the laying on of his own hands ((2 Tim.1:6). He encouraged Timothy to fan the flame of his devotion and let it burn brightly for the Lord; exercising the gifts of ministering that God and given him.
Paul conveyed his trust and faith in Timothy’s abilities because he knew that God had not given Timothy a spirit of timidity and fear, but one of power (furnished by God’s Holy Spirit that was active in his life), of love and self-discipline—all of which Paul had been a witness. He charged him to carry out the ministry the Lord had empowered to do.
Paul was grooming Timothy to put on the mantle of leadership in the early church—and he was using the same tools we have available to us today to bring out the best in Timothy. He was using the tool of encouragement by “conveying confidence” in this young man and his abilities.
Encouragement . . . Releases Confidence
How do we do this?
It’s simpler than you think! Here are five key ways one can use to convey and release confidence in others. Try putting at least one of these keys into practice this week. You won’t be sorry!
- Key # 1: Affirm others with the scriptures: This comes by knowing what God’s Word says about who we are and what we can do in Christ.
- Key # 2: Notice godly qualities in another and acknowledge them aloud to that person. Be specific. Do this often!
- Key # 3: Stand beside them during their self-doubt and refuse to leave until they try whatever it is they are afraid to do. Coach from the sidelines, conveying your confidence in them. Go with them, if need be! Do it with them!
- Key # 4: Believe in them for what they can’t see in themselves. Some of us have a lifetime of negative self-talk to overcome. Having a ‘confidence-builder’ in our life can make all the difference in building new, positive self-talk!
- Key # 5: Convey a “try, try again” attitude. Encourage by being an example of never giving up!Many people quit when they fail once or twice. Some are too fearful to try even once! Your example will build courage.
Paul urged Timothy to let his gift flourish by fanning it—like a pile of coals nearly ready to go out–Paul admonished Timothy to fan his gift–until it burst into flame! (2 Tim.1:6) I love this imagery!
What gift has God given to you? What would it look like in full flame? What passion do you have in your heart, but have been afraid to step out and do it? What would it look like if you fanned it into full flame?
What have your ‘confidence builders’ been saying to you? They are the encourage-ers God has placed in your life–just so YOU could develop the confidence to do the good works he has prepared for you to do! Now, go do it!
Thank you for taking time to read this post. I hope something in it, has ignited within you a desire to ‘become a confidence builder’ in someone’s life. (Perhaps you already are!) OR perhaps you have come to realize the great line of ‘confidence-builders’ God has already placed in your life! If so I am blessed and encouraged. Take time to let them know what a blessing they’ve been to you.
Come back next week for the next part on this series on encouragement.
If you would like to see what more of what God’s Word says about the topic of encouragement, I have written a Bible Study entitled, A Letter of Encouragement: A Study of 2 Timothy. To obtain weekly installments of this Bible study, free of charge, simply click on (or copy & paste) the following link: http://www.lindakbridges.com/free-printables/ into your browser.
Please feel free to use this Bible study with your study group or pass it on to someone who may need God’s encouragement! My only stipulation is that you give credit to the author–(it is copyrighted material). If you like it—please ‘like’ me on my blog post so that I will know! Thank you.
Have a blessed week!