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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: Confident
By Nathan Perkins


One of the most commonly promoted ideas about being confident is that a person will accomplish the most if they “believe in themselves.” It sounds great! But it doesn’t work because this concept is faulty on several levels.

If it is the “ones self” that is doing the believing in that “ones self” then nothing can truly be gained by the believing. This kind of idea used to be called “pulling yourself up by your own boot straps.”

Another problem with this view of what it means to be confident is that it turns a person inward. Being turned inward weakens a person instead of strengthening them. Humans were designed by God to be in communion with other humans. The idea that believing in one’s self can make a person more capable excludes that very important factor of this aspect of human design.

The third problem is how the idea of “believing in ones self” is, in reality, a form of idolatry. It is contrary to God’s law.

It was philosopher Rene’ Desctrates who in the early 1600 said “I think therefore I am”. This foundation of his philosophy has shaped Western thought leading to the concept of “believing in one’s self” as a way to boost confidence.

The philosophy, as prominent as it has become, ignores the existence of a creator. It ignores the more important issue of where do the thoughts and the thinking self come from?

To “believe in ones self” is to ignore the reason for the existence of the self or the existence of a perpetuator of selfhood. It ignores that there is anything more then self. That problem alone deems the concept of “believing in ones self” as an impotent ideology.

Logicians would find it to be circular in reasoning. Mathematicians would calculate that “self” plus belief in “self” could only equal “self”. It is one plus the same equaling only one. A theologian would suggest that to leave out the infinite, that is God, is to leave out the whole of the “self’s” potential.

We may have this concept of “believing in one self” as the prominent ideology about confidence, because the promoters of the idea see the “lack of confidence” problem and finds no real solution. They, use circular reasoning, bad math, and faulty theology to suggest a solution.

There is certainly a need for people to have a deeper level of confidence that will promise a fuller level of productivity and self assurance. I’m afraid that the use of this “believe in yourself” method has arisen out of a disregard for the truth of an existing creator. This truth presents a reasonable solution.

Without a creator, a greater level of confidence is only a mirage. “Believing in ones self”, in its logistical, mathematical and theological failures is no solutions to a person’s need for more confidence.

It is the apostle Paul who wrote “in our weakness his (Christ’s) strength is revealed in us.” John the Baptist said “I must become less and he (Christ) must become more.” These are examples of people with great confidence. It was not that they had a “belief in themselves.” They placed their confidence in the Lord.

Also consider the lives of confidence leading to productivity in more recent history. I am impressed with Fanny Crosby who, despite being blind, wrote her song “Blessed Assurance” which shows that her confidence was found in Christ’s presence in her life. It was not a belief in “her own self”, it was a belief in God that gave her confidence. She confidently wrote hundreds of popular hymns.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, while in prison for living his faith, wrote often about his faith in God. He also taught students of his to focus on “The Word of God as the Word of truth for a world in turmoil.” His confidence was in Christ and the word of God.

Logically, God is more then an individual. He is infinite and a belief in the infinite is a belief that can make a difference in a person’s confidence.

Mathematically, the individual plus a belief in God equals much more then the individual and that means much more confidence for that person.

Theologically, if God “is” and a person believes that He “is” that breads confidence in the believer.

Confidence is not about “believing in one’s self.” Confidence is about believing in God, who is the Creator of all that a person is and all that a person can be.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/13/07
Good thoughts on the topic. I especially like the specific examples you gave of people who had confidence in the Lord in spite of their troubles.
Janice Cartwright07/14/07
Like the adage, "God helps those who help themselves" the idea that self-confidence is a worthy goal has become almost foundational to post-modern thought. The points of your essay are clear and the topic was evident throughout.
Lynda Schultz 07/15/07
This is a great essay — a bit of editing and you'll have something to sell, as well as tell. For example, near the end I think you meant "breeds" rather than "breads" and it should be René Descartes. Good work.