Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)
TITLE: The Dilemma of The Self
By Thomas Van Ness
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To be confident in the affairs of ones life is, from the perspective of our society an indicator of a healthy and well functioning individual, it is the mark of a leader. The ability to communicate in a deft way the confidence that one possesses to others is a harbinger of ones abilities to congregate others and inspire them toward a cause or mission. People yearn to be confident and because of this desire, they search diligently for it only to discover all too often, that it is not in their possession. Often, when the journey inward proves unfruitful, the hunt for confidence moves from the inner search to what is outside of the self, namely the surrounding world. The search for confidence in this environment depends upon the feedback, which the environment provides and causes the individual who desires to be confident to adopt and adapt to the opinion of the world concerning them self. As a result, people become obsessed with what they see. This obsession can lead to a compulsive over-examination of the self, and may result in a gain to the cosmetic surgeon who skillfully facilitates this search for this peripherally founded confidence through the sculpting of the body. However, at the conclusion of all things, when all is said and done, when the last stitch has healed and the newly formed individual stands before the mirror to appraise the fruit of their labor and pain, they often discover that they are still empty. The world has seen and applauded their “new me” but confidence still eludes them. The unfortunate fact that slowly begins to form within the conscious thoughts of the individual is that while they may be more physically beautiful, they are often still internally void and, despite their efforts, still supremely unconfident. While this particular example is not representative of a majority of individuals, it does point to a significant part of reality, which we as individuals all face. Just as in this striving to be confident, a focus on the external self can lead ultimately to disappointment, so can a focus on the internal, which is essentially demonstrated in a trusting of ourselves. In fact, what becomes apparent to us as individuals is that we all share the same propensity to fail. The fact that we will fail is undeniable to any person who is truly honest with themselves. We count this propensity to fail as part of our own humanity and therefore, we accept its inevitability and partition away, in our own minds, the inconsistency present in being confident in what is at best unsure. This conundrum, this dilemma of the self, has no real solution that lies within the purview of man because he cannot change his own imperfections, in short he cannot change his own nature. The only solution that is present for man is Christ. It is only through faith in Christ and a reliance on his perfection that man can truly be confident. To be truly confident cannot be based on any natural talent or tendency. Rather, it can only be founded on our faith, which is expressed in our worship and our praise. Paul states in Philippians 3:3 “for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh (NAS)”. Likewise, we who call ourselves Christians realize that to overcome this dilemma of the self, and be truly confident means to trust not in ourselves and in this world, but to trust in Him who delivers, sustains and saves, Christ Jesus.
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