“I’m afraid I’ll break him,” said Tonya as the nurse placed her newborn son into her tentative arms.
“Don’t worry, Tonya,” the nurse replied. “You are everything your son needs.”
Some of us come into motherhood feeling confident in our abilities. We babysat when we were in junior high and high school. Some of us had younger siblings we helped care for. Others are just natural nurturers who transition into motherhood without a hitch.
Many moms, however, struggle with feeling competent for the job. We doubt our abilities. We question if we really have what it takes to raise this child. We reel when we mess up. We condemn ourselves when we lose our patience.
Insecurity Happens When…
Insecurity happens when the voices inside our heads tell us we aren’t enough. I’m not patient enough to be a good mom. I’m not experienced enough to be President of the PTO. I’m not educated enough to be a good homeschooling mom. I’m not brave enough to quit my job and find another. I’m no good at friendships. I’m not smart enough to learn to do that on the computer.
The negative voices that play in our heads keep us feeling “less than” others. Not only that, but they paralyze us from living out our full potential. “I can’t” is more believable than “I can.”
When we are battling the Perfection Infection, insecurity paralyzes us in so many ways. If I want to conquer the clutter in my house, but I want perfection (i.e. I want my house to look like a magazine!), I will likely not even start the job because deep down I know I can’t do it perfectly. Perfectionism is the best friend to procrastination. I love how Marla Cilley, known online as “The Fly Lady,” puts it. She says, “A good enough job done today is better than the perfect job not done tomorrow.” So true!
Insecurity is also a cousin to fear. When we need to step out in courage, insecurity keeps the “what if’s” in front of us. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I say I can do this, but then I find out I really can’t? What if I let her down? What if . . . ? Sometimes we can “what if?” ourselves right into the fetal position!
If insecurity keeps us locked up in doubts, confidence is the key that will unlock the insecurity chains that bind us. Insecurity says, “I can’t.” Confidence says, “I can because God will show me how!”
True confidence is really “God-confidence.” It’s not so much about believing in ourselves as it’s about believing in what God can do through us. It’s changing the message inside our heads from “I can’t” to “God can!” The Bible confirms this in Jeremiah 17:7: “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence” (nlt).
Confidence recognizes a divine design. You and I are created to do life in relationship with the God who created us. His grace covers over our imperfections. When we learn to see ourselves through God’s eyes, we can embrace our imperfections and rest in his love and grace.
Confidence also happens when we celebrate who God made us to be, rather than lament who we aren’t. Insecurity keeps us looking at other women, longing to be who they are: more creative, skinnier, smarter, more patient, a better cook. The list goes on and on. However, confidence happens when we embrace our strengths and our weaknesses. We see them as a fingerprint of who we are designed to be. We find contentment in being who we are, not who we aren’t.
What would this look like in a practical way? Let’s say you’re doing a little internet surfing and you pop over to Pinterest. If you use Pinterest only to gather ideas and keep them organized for easy retrieval, it can be a helpful little website. However, too many of us move from idea gathering to playing that nasty old comparison game. We see so many wonderful ideas and how other women do things and we begin thinking, “I’m a terrible mom because I don’t make my children’s food look like a picture.” Or, “I’m failing because my home is not organized the way it should be.” Insecurity says, “Oh no, I’m not measuring up. I’m not as good a mom as this person is.” Confidence says, “Good for these ladies who share their ideas. I’m glad we’re not all made from the same mold. Those are great ideas, but many of them are not for me. I’m not crafty or artsy, but I’m comfortable in my own unique skin.”
If you want to rid yourself of the Perfection Infection, begin to move from insecurity to confidence. Take your eyes off yourself and put them on God. He will equip you with whatever you need for the relationships and responsibilities given to you. Insecurity is bondage to who we’re not. Confidence is freedom in who we are!