I’m part of a panel at a women’s event, and those of us on stage are asked, “Do you ever struggle with confidence? It looks like all of you have it together.” I’ve been asked this before, told this before, and it still surprises and startles me. Because I can see my insides. I know my messes and my crazy, my mistakes and my stumbles, how I’ve wrestled with depression and anxiety like wild alligators, how my heart has the scars to prove it.
The woman who gets the microphone first is lovely and confident, outgoing and articulate. By the time it’s my turn, my heart is pounding, I’m sweating, and I feel like I have something in my nose (which always happens when I’m speaking in public). I tell the audience all this and they laugh with me, thankfully.
Then I also say what God has been putting on my heart, what has been saving me from myself, what has been making me stronger and bolder in ways that have been catching me by surprise.
I declare to this group of women and to my imperfect self, “What I’ve been realizing lately is this: the world tells us we need to have self-esteem, but what we really need is holy confidence.”
I’ve especially needed to learn this as an introvert. I battled self-doubt over my ability to make small talk or feel comfortable in groups. But slowly God began to show me I’m created as an introvert, that what I saw as flaws were actually strengths. I listened well, had deep empathy, knew how to champion one person at a time.
Before I spent years studying what it meant to be an introvert, before I became comfortable in my God-given skin, I tried to prove I was enough. Perfect enough. Good enough. Experienced enough. Smart enough. Pretty enough. But it’s only when we come to the place where we can finally say “I’m not enough, but Jesus is” that our hearts get free.
The reality is, despite our strengths and being wonderfully made, we will still sometimes fall short of the expectations of others and ourselves. But it doesn’t matter because our scandalous God, our gracious Savior, declares that we are beloved and chosen and empowered anyway.
“My heart is confident in you, O God” (Psalm 57:7).
Self-esteem says we can do it. Holy confidence says, despite us, God will.
In the moments when I’m still insecure and afraid, when my heart is pounding, my hands are sweating, and it feels like there’s something in my nose, that’s the truth I really need to know.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m not the only one.
This is an excerpt from my brand new book, Introvert by Design: A Guided Journal for Living with New Confidence in Who You’re Created to Be. Find out more and read the first three chapters for free at HolleyGerth.com/Introverts!