Sunday, 19 June 2011

Feeling Confident To Be Me...

My IRL friends and my family may disagree, but my problem is that I suffer from a lack of confidence. When it comes to offering advice, sharing ideas, and mixing in certain circles, I sometimes tend to be more silent than loud. I do wonder if it's because I come from a family of people that cherish their alone (defragging) time, or if it's from too much 'foot in mouth' disease. I do wonder if it's a learned thing, this tendency to be shy and not speak up. Or is it something that has been ingrained into me from being around outspoken people too much? One thing I do know, however, is that I have had to learn to speak up.

I was not always inwardly shy and insecure. I say "inwardly shy" because I have taught myself to overcome this shyness and be the opposite. Prior to moving to Brisbane and separating from my ex-husband, I had confidence in myself, my abilities and my life. I asked a lot of questions and never shied away from being around people I didn't know. But after relocating to Brisbane in 1996, coupled with working as a receptionist to a very flamboyant and somewhat narcissistic man, and also not knowing anyone, my self esteem was significantly affected. The nail in the proverbial confidence coffin was when my ex-husband decided that he no longer wanted to be married. Separated, lonely and living a long way from my family ... well, you can guess how I felt.

While contemplating what I'd write in this post and how I would expand on my confidence issue, a thought crossed my mind on how I've literally had to start my adult life three times. (Yes, it was God, I know!) Now, by starting life again, I am referring to the fact that while I am 41 years of age, I don't feel it. My body knows that I'm forty-one, but my heart, mind and soul don't. Let me explain.

My 'first adult life' started at 20 when I married my ex-husband. My 'second adult life' started at 28 after we had separated and were waiting to get divorced, which is when I met my daughter's father. My 'third adult life' started at 36 after my daughter was born and I decided that I could no longer live with her dad. Hence, I'm now five years into my 'third adult life'.

I feel that this explanation is the most apt for how I feel about being a 41 year old single parent of a seven year old daughter. I don't feel old enough to be forty-one! It's crazy. But it's also an apt explanation as to why I see other women my age and wonder why I don't have it "all together" like they do. Ha! Realistically though, I do know that behind the scenes they surely don't! That's the reassurance that God has given me over the last few years; that every woman - no matter what their life has been like - has issues and hasn't always seemed like she's had it "all together".

And that's the beauty of a life with God; that He knows that, He wants us to know that, and most importantly, He wants us to know that it's OK. We don't have to have it "all together". It's OK to feel like you're not forty-one. It's OK. Period.

But where do we get our confidence from if it's OK to not have it "all together"?

Our confidence comes from God.

One of the more significant lessons I've learned over the last year is that I cannot do life without God. I did try once or twice, and from reading my relationship history above you can tell that I did a fine job of it too! Not! But there was a purpose in all this. God knew what He was doing by letting me do my own thing and mess up my life. He was strengthening me and preparing me for today. For being a 41 year old single parent of a seven year old daughter.

He allowed me to go to rock bottom in my relationships, in my mental state and in my spiritual well-being. He was there watching me - I knew as I could always feel Him - but He let me make my own choices. He let me get to the point where I had no other choice but to call out to Him and ask Him to take me back. He allowed me to ask His forgiveness, and to ask Him - most humbly - to give me another chance.

And He did. He offered me grace. He taught me, slowly, that it's OK to admit you were wrong and start over.

I read a quote by Priscilla Shirer the other day that says, "Sometimes your greatest message is the mess of your life." God needed me to lose confidence in the person I was so that I could become confident in the person I am now - the real me. The woman He pre-destined me to be. When I look at my life - the relationship problems, being a single parent, the nervous breakdowns I've suffered in the last two years, and more - I'm just amazed.

I am amazed by His goodness, grace, mercy and love. And most of all, I’m amazed by His confidence in me! Thank You Lord.


  1. Great post, Paula. Love it. Here's to walking in the light of his amazing grace!

  2. Thank you for sharing your post! And I want you to know my dear that every one of us in some way have felt those feelings. Look at Moses when the Lord called Him to deliver the people Moses said I can't do this, my speech is not proper, I feel inaduquate but God knows what is on the inside of us and he knows that He will get the glory out of a person who feels messed up more then out of a person who knows what they are doing. So I say to you put this confidence in you which is the same in Christ Jesus, that you can do all things through Christ Jesus and that you are very special in His eyes and He calls you wonderful a royal priesthood.

    you keep remembering all those things in the bible which Jesus said you are and let them become the fabric of your heart and believe those words. You are special no matter what, and when it is time for you to speak it will be the Holy Spirit who will speak through you not you speaking. AMEN

  3. Paula, you said: "One of the more significant lessons I've learned over the last year is that I cannot do life without God."

    Me too!!!! I'm not there yet... but, God is working on me. I struggle to completely surrender... I believe it's a trust issue for me. In God's timing it'll all fall into place... It always does! =D

  4. I completely understand how you feel. I'm 36 and feel as if I haven't even started down the path of what I'm meant to be doing yet. I have very little confidence in some areas and they are debilitating really. I have worked out that the current 'crisis' is being allowed by God because I'm holding back on my trust in him. Gotta figure out how to deepen that trust.

  5. Hi Paula. I'm 42, married since 19 and I sometimes feel more messed up now than before. I think your journey has been a brave one and if at the end of the day - you know that without God, it could have been soooo much worse - then you have triumphed. I think trials come and go, the learning is in reacting to them differently. That is the huge learning curve for me - to behave as I have learnt from the last trial, in the next trial!
    Never give up!
    God bless