Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Category: confidence (page 1 of 2)

The Secret to Finding True Strength

I’ve never thought of myself as a strong woman. I’m not too physically strong, and I’m definitely emotionally sensitive. People have often seen me as delicate, which is a wonderful feminine quality the Lord gave me.

However, the way I view strength started to change the week my Grandpa was dying in the hospital. He fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a brain bleed. He was in a coma, and passed away after four grueling days.

My aunt and I were in the hospital hallway when she told me that I was strong. Somehow, I managed to keep calm in the chaos. I helped whenever I could and was always there to hold my grandpa’s hand.

Inside, I just wanted to curl up and forget this nightmare was even happening.

Truthfully, the only way I was strong enough for this was through my faith. And that’s when I realized that if I wanted to become strong, I had to seek something beyond myself.

The Pride of Our Strength 

As human beings, we tend to hide behind our strengths. We take pride in being physically strong, or emotionally tough. We revel in our intellectual strengths or our resourcefulness.

Our human strengths are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they should be celebrated. God has given all of us unique abilities and strengths. For some, it’s easier to see what they excel at, while others carry a more quiet strength.

The problem isn’t with our strengths, but when we hide behind them. When the focus in on being the strong one, sometimes we lose vulnerability. And without vulnerability, we lose the ability to let people in.

Not only does a lack of vulnerability shut others out, but it also prevents us from intimacy with God. Christianity is more than just a religion, it’s a relationship with a Savior who wants to transform our hearts.

When we hide behind our strengths, we become prideful. Pride prevents us from seeing our sin and repenting.

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23 NIV)

The only way we can let go of our pride and become vulnerable with Jesus is when we come out from hiding behind our strengths.

Out of Hiding

The problem with coming out of hiding is that it exposes our weaknesses. I know, that’s a word none of us like to hear. Weakness is associated with failure and not being good enough. These are the deepest fears of most individuals, so why would we want to expose them?

The thing about Jesus is that He wants our weaknesses. He wants us to let Him into our ugly parts and sinful messes. He already knows them anyway, so why are we hiding?

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8 NIV)

Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we’ve been trying to hide from God. Instead of coming to Him for help when we mess up or rebel, we run and hide, which only makes our failures worse.

Everyone has weaknesses, and none of us are without sin (1 John 1:8). When we hide ourselves from Jesus, we miss out on the opportunity to have a relationship with our Lord that is full of love and freedom.

The Power of Weakness

Our human strength is weak in comparison to the strength of God. Although we may give off the appearance of having it all together, eventually our weaknesses catch up with us.

But what if I told you that the secret to your greatest strength is found in your weaknesses? You would probably think I’m crazy, but this truth isn’t from me. It’s from God.

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The Secret to Finding True Strength

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

When we let go of the lie that we are strong enough to handle everything life throws our way, we make room for the Holy Spirit to display the power of God in our lives.

Letting go of our pride and choosing Jesus as our strength gives us a supernatural ability we could only dream of. This strength has nothing to do with our own abilities, but the endless ability of God to work miracles in us and through us.

The strengths God gives us are not even about us. Although we all want to feel capable and self-confident, there’s something so freeing about giving Jesus all the glory.

As daughters of God, our strength should be one of beauty, quietness, meekness, and humility. Our strength should reflect the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, a gift the world can never take away.


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What Godly Confidence Really Looks Like

Nothing can squelch self-confidence like having health issues. Having physical limitations and not being like everyone else is hard. And it’s something I’ve struggled with for the last six years.

Although God has done tremendous healing in me and blessed me with excellent healthcare, there are still moments of struggle. One thing I choose not to do is drive. I have POTS and vertigo, which make driving uncomfortable.

I have some visual sensory issues and great anxiety with driving, and this has affected my confidence in significant ways. Not only is not being able to drive inconvenient, but it’s also a little embarrassing when you’re almost 24 years old and graduating from college. But it’s still my choice–at least for now.

The world preaches for us to have self-confidence, but what happens when that fails us? What happens when we screw up, or when the person we trusted wholeheartedly lets us down?

What I’ve learned over the past six years is that in order to have a lasting confidence, you must be rooted in God-confidence. Read on to find out what Godly confidence truly looks like.

Running to God

Where do you run to when you feel weak? Where do you turn to in times of trouble? As human beings, we tend to seek others for comfort and familiarity. This isn’t bad, as God created us to be relational people.

However, when we completely depend on others to make us feel good about ourselves, we turn into people-pleasers who can lean towards perfectionism.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! (Isaiah 49:15 NIV)

The thing is, people will let us down. Even those closest to us can wound us deeply, but the Lord never will. Jesus is always there for us and goes before us. Even though it may feel like we are alone, He never abandons us.

When we realize that we can always turn to God and that He is our refuge in times of trouble and pain, we develop strong confidence when life gets rocky.

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Godly Confidence

Confidence is rooted in trust. When we trust in the Lord, we know that our confidence will never be shaken.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2 NIV)

Listening to God

It’s almost impossible to feel confident when people make you feel like you aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. But I’ve come to realize that this will happen again and again.

Satan can even warp the words of those who love us to make us believe lies about ourselves. So who do we trust? Do we place our confidence in the words of others, hoping to hear nothing but positive things? Or do we turn elsewhere?

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)

A truly confident woman roots herself in the Word of God. The Bible will always be true and relevant to our lives, no matter how much time passes.

Just look at my past posts! Everything I write is based on what the Word of God says. He says we are loved, valued, redeemed, and set free. We have purpose. Anyone who tells you otherwise is going against the truth.

Instead of believing the lies of the world, root yourself in scripture. Your confidence will grow as you begin to speak the truth over your life.

Remembering God

When we feel like life isn’t going our way, it can zap the confidence right out of us. I know I hate feeling like I’ve lost control, but the truth is, it was never in my grasp to begin with.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NIV)

Although we should have plans and goals for our lives, we need to remember that God is sovereign. When we forget that He is on the throne of our lives–and of the whole universe–then we start depending on ourselves.

We cannot create the perfect life for ourselves. Things happen that are beyond our control, and that can actually be for the better. Although I don’t always like having a chronic illness, my healing journey has increased my faith and led me closer to God and to people in ways I couldn’t imagine.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

When we surrender our dreams and our will over to the God of all creation, we can rest peacefully and confidently knowing that we will be taken care of.

Jesus has called us into a great life. Yes, that does come with pain and struggle since we live in a fallen world. But it also comes with abundant blessings that can only come from confidence in God’s faithfulness.

I know that self-confidence will never last in the long run. The only true source of eternal confidence comes from running to God, soaking up His Word, and remembering that He is always faithful.

This, lovely one, is true confidence.


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What Failure Taught Me About Surrender

Ever have one of those days when your thoughts seem to be haunting you? Lately, those days have been frequent for me.

I feel as though God has been working on me about confidence and my identity in Christ, but my own mind likes to self-sabotage.

Life is changing rapidly for me, as I am finishing college and will be getting a real “adult” job. The class and internship work is piling up, and now I know what my friends meant by the term senioritis.

All of this is a recipe for stress and opportunity, and that also means failure.

And I hate failing. I really hate failing.

As a perfectionist, I struggle with anxiety and self-esteem issues. But I know I’m not alone. There are so many people out there who struggle with anxiety and depression.

As I’ve been praying to God about all of this, there is one word He has laid on my heart.

Surrender.

Surrender is the key to freedom, and it is also transforming. If you’re struggling with negative or haunting thoughts, then I urge you to keep reading about what surrender has taught me.

Surrendering Our Broken Pieces

I’ve been a serious Christian for a few years now, and I always thought that surrender just meant giving all of my plans and dreams to the Lord–to let Him have control of my future.

But surrender is so much more than that.

Yes, we should surrender our plans and our desires to the Lord. His plans are better than anything we could ever dream of. And when we trust in God, He will lead us on the most amazing journey ever.

But there’s a lot more to surrender than just giving up the good parts of our lives.

Pain, shame, sin, and fear. These are the things the enemy wants us to hold onto. This is how the devil keeps us in bondage.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV)

When Jesus took up the cross and died for our sins, He also bore all of our shame and pain. All of the things that haunt us and hold us back from a great life are things He died to free us from.

Christ died to nail our broken pieces to the cross. And He left an empty grave behind in order to fill the emptiness in our lives.

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The Transformation of Surrender

When we get stuck in our pain or fears, then we get wrapped up in ourselves. We start to feel bad about our lives, and then an evil menace seeps into our hearts.

Pride.

I know that when I have a bad day and think of all the mistakes I’ve made, I miss out on opportunities to do good things for others.

When we get too wrapped up in ourselves, then we cannot fully serve the Lord. It’s the enemy’s trap, but we have the keys to freedom.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

When we choose to follow Christ, we become new creations! We can surrender our pain and mistakes and choose to live a new life with God.

None of us are perfect, and that is why Jesus died for us. This is what Easter is all about. The blood of Jesus covers us, and His grace is bigger than any of our mistakes.

Each new day with God is a fresh start, and we can always choose to move forward in victory.

But it all starts with surrender.


Thanks for reading! I hope you have a blessed Good Friday and Easter. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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You May Not Be Worthy, but You Are Valued

I scroll through Instagram, glancing at the images when I see the increasingly popular hashtag attached to inspirational Christian posts.

#worthy

The concept of worthiness is popular in makeup commercials and diet ads. And that makes sense, of course. Self-care and beauty products tell us we’re worth it because a hardworking woman deserves such things. However, this is a worldly standard, not a Biblical one. When it comes to salvation, we must face a harsh truth.

We are not worthy–not even close.

But we are valued.

Worthy of Nothing

What’s the difference between having worth and being valued? Well, for the spiritual purpose of this post, worthiness is counted as holiness. Throughout history, man has been elevating himself even above God in terms of worth.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned (Romans 5:12 NIV)

Well, that’s not a feel good Bible verse to highlight. But that’s reality. We’re all sinners deserving of death. Perhaps it might not seem that way to most of us. After all, there are some pretty messed up people out there. All you have to do is watch the news.

But don’t let your pride fool you, lovely one. We all sin. It starts with lust, greed, hatred, and rebellion. It sneaks up slowly. It’s inescapable. And despite what the world says, there are no amount of works we can do to save ourselves.

So why on earth am I preaching this fire and brimstone? Well, lovely one, without darkness, we could not understand light. Without pain and ugliness, we could never know healing and beauty.

We could never fathom how valued we are by God, even in the midst of our unworthiness.

 Valued to The Cross

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18 NIV)

It’s one of the most famous passages of the Bible, yet the meaning never ceases to amaze me. In our natural sinful state, we stand condemned.

But God, out of love for His children who have rebelled, decided to sacrifice His perfect Son Jesus Christ, so that we might be saved.

Why did God do this for humanity when we are so unworthy? Because He saw value in us. We may not be worthy of God’s perfect holiness, but He considers us valuable enough to die for!

Jesus paid it all image

 

God came down as a man to reach out to you in all of your imperfections and struggles. He came down to stretch out a loving, tender hand to you. He did this because He values you, lovely one.

We can choose to place our value in many things in this world. Our looks, money, success, or relationships. However, our true value can only come from the one who created us–body and soul.

Perhaps I’m not the “worthy” queen of Instagram. But that’s okay, I don’t have to be. We don’t have to pretend to be perfect and holy, because Jesus values us enough to make us holy through His death on the cross.

Jesus paid it all, and that’s worth more than anything this world has to offer.

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1 NIV)


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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The Problem with Perfectionism

I was eating lunch with my mom on a beautiful Saturday afternoon when I broke down. The pressures had been building up all week–school, friends, family, writing. Even everyday things or my own thoughts made me feel like I was about to crack.

No matter what, I couldn’t shake the thought out of my head that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t talented, smart, or pretty enough. I place so many unrealistic expectations on myself that I would never put on anyone else. It’s what fueled my struggle with an eating disorder when I was younger.

But I know I’m not alone in this struggle, lovely one. The problem is perfectionism and it needs to be unraveled and seen for what it truly is–the need for something greater than ourselves.

The Lie of Perfectionism  

I have yet to meet a perfect person. I’ve met people who seem perfect or who share doctored up photos of a perfect life on social media (I’m guilty of it too).

But when you actually get to know someone and break through their mask, you see that this person is a human being–filled with struggles, sin, fears, and hurt.

During Biblical times, there were groups of people called Pharisees who kept up the appearance of perfection with a bunch of rules and regulations. Meanwhile, they were shaming everyone around them while letting sin reign in their hearts. Jesus called them out on this.

‘ “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.’ (Matthew 23:27-28 NIV)

If Jesus were walking in the flesh today, He would see a lot of Christians who look like these “whitewashed” tombs. We can pretend to be perfect to others. Maybe we can even fool ourselves into thinking we have our lives together. But God sees us for who we really are. We can’t hide from Him.

Perfectionism vs. Authenticity

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9 NIV)

God doesn’t want a “perfect looking” son or daughter. He wants our real, authentic selves. The Bible reminds us that none of us are without sin–no matter how much good we do. No one is perfect.

Repentance is all about bringing your authentic self to God–humbly and sincerely. It’s about letting go of our sin and shame, because it was already destroyed when Jesus died on the cross.

If we could be perfect on our own, then we wouldn’t need a savior. We need to stop striving and accept the free gift that Christ paid the price to give us.

Perfect Grace 

The most dangerous thing about perfectionism is that it keeps us focused on ourselves for too long. When you live your life for Jesus, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about His glory.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

Even the great apostle Paul wasn’t perfect. He dealt with issues just like the rest of us. But instead of punishing himself for not being good enough, he turned to the only one who is good enough.

Jesus is God, and He is also the only perfect person to walk the earth (John 1:14). When we surrender our weaknesses to Him, we give Him the proper place in our lives as Lord and Savior.

This is called grace. 

Perfectionism-Jesus is enough

Christ is not glorified in our self-righteousness or worldly success. It is only when we are broken and weak that people can truly see the Savior work in us.

I’ll admit that surrendering to grace is still a struggle for me. It was on that lunch date with my mom that I finally came to the end of myself.

I realized something so important, that in fact, it’s the basis of salvation. I am not good enough. But Jesus is more than good enough, and He will always be enough for me.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Connect with me on Instagram @fearfullywonderfullyme

**I’m on Twitter!** Follow me @Emily_Susanne1

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