Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Confidence and Conviction




No one likes conflict, but I wanted to get it over with.
The time had come.  
I'd made my plans, planned carefully, and resolved to do this the right way.

I wrote an appropriate and respectful correspondence and fully anticipated getting a respectful reply.
Except that I didn't.

What I got was someone who, instead of being professional, uttered insults thinly veiled in sugary sweet flattery - the kind you know right away don't contain an ounce of sincerity.

What I got, was someone well versed in twisting words, twisting MY words into complete fallacies.




What I did in response was nothing.

I decided not to argue so I sat there and I took it.  I acknowledged that I heard what she was saying.  I even thanked her for her time and advice (though of course, I hadn't solicited it).

You see, I believe in life, you have to pick your battles.  This wasn't a competition, after all -  not a win/lose situation.  So I thought...until I walked away feeling like a loser. 

A conversation that I walked into with confidence, despite my dread, had just taken a turn for the worse.  I'd let someone else steal that confidence. 
I was doubting my decision.

My resolve to do things the right way - the way I felt convicted to carry them out - had been completely overridden.  This decision that was best for me, my family, and everyone involved had just been stomped all over.

A person who had never taken the time to get to know me, had just conquered my words with hers.  She chose to use flowery words and sort-of-compliments to disguise the message that really intended to demoralize me and any plans I thought I'd made.





In a recent Bible Study, I'd been reading and studying about "The Best Yes; Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands."  The goal being to determine the difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God.  I loved this study for so many reasons! I dog-eared almost every other page as I was reading it...underlined some words in pencil...highlighted others in yellow.  

One section that spoke volumes to me, was this:

*How do I learn not to let the awkward disappointments of others keep me from my Best Yes appointments with God?
     "It's not a matter of gaining more confidence.  It's a matter of being more certain of our convictions.  Confidence is being more certain of our abilities.  Conviction is being more certain of God's instructions.
     I'm not talking about the way we sometimes use the word conviction as a verb - I'm convicted to wear longer shorts or I'm convicted to have more consistent quiet times. The kind of conviction I'm referring to is a noun - a firm, foundational belief."

And shortly after, she references Joshua 1:7-9, NIV
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”



You see,  I'd come to that conversation both confident and convicted.  The conviction came first, actually.  A firm, foundational belief that God had intended for me to make this change for myself and my family.  And though I was confident in that conviction and my abilities to convey that conviction, I almost lost them both.

Because I chose not to speak up {in my mind, I asked, what was it going to prove anyway?}, I almost let her words dismantle both my confidence and my conviction in a few short minutes.
Not only that, I heard her speak down to me and say things about me that simply weren't true.  And I almost believed her.

I had to spend some time that afternoon with a dear friend who told me, honestly, what I already knew - that this person was wrong about me and she had no right to say those things to me.
I had to spend some time reminding myself who I was and whose I was.

I reminded myself over and over that I am a child of God.  That I know the truth about myself and my reasons and that her words were not the truth.  I reminded myself of the process I used to arrive at my convictions and then my confidence about my convictions.  

I found these verses helpful and I hope you will too:

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 54:17 (NIV) 
no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.
 

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)  
The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”




The next time you find yourself feeling like a loser, beat up, or stomped on, remind yourself WHO you are and WHOSE you are.  

HE will strengthen
 you, help you, and uphold you with His righteous hand.  

YOUR heritage is that no weapon formed against you will prevail and that you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
HE, the Lord, a mighty warrior, is with YOU. He takes great delight in YOU and rejoices over YOU with singing!

Let those words sink in, friends! 
HE rejoices over you with singing!

Isn't that an amazing love? 
In Christ, you and I are victors, champions, and raised up despite what anyone else says about us.
Be convicted of that and be confident in it.
 

{*paraphrased and excerpted from Lysa TerKeurst's "The Best Yes," page 147-148}

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