Confidence. I guess I would consider myself to be a confident person in most situations. Certainly not all. In fact, I'm often surprised at the situations when my lack of confidence sneaks up on me.
How about you? Do you think of yourself as confident? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being low and 10 being high, where would you plot your confidence level?
Now consider this definition of confidence from Ohio State University psychology professor, Richard Petty: “Confidence is the stuff that turns thought into action.” If this is the measure of confidence, how do you score?
That’s the line that got me. Am I confident enough to take action on what I think? To speak up when I have an idea or an objection? When I see an injustice I want to remedy, a problem I want to solve, or a stranger I want to help? That’s a penetrating way to measure confidence.
As I consider confidence through this lens, I do think about my mission three years ago to start Sustainable Faith Indy. At times the thought-turned-to-action felt like pushing an enormous rock up a hill. It was so hard and required perseverance and patience (of which I didn’t have an inordinate supply). At many points I felt like giving up and I questioned whether I had what it took to do what I wanted to do.
Yet, something inside me wouldn’t let me go. It was a yearning, an ache to labor for a dream that had captured my heart. Was that confidence? I wanted to start a retreat center in an urban neighborhood in Indianapolis and offer hospitality to harried souls who needed a place to come away, be still and re-pair. My heart was so full of desire and my prayers unrelenting. And somehow one step led to the next until thoughts-turned-to-action-turned-to-gold.
I certainly felt what I thought was a lack of confidence throughout the process. I would dance with the voice inside me that told me I should “play it safe.” “There was too much at risk.” After all, I grew up in an era where women were taught to live in dependence on a man, not lead their man. This vision was my vision, not David’s. Yet he recognized that for most of our marriage I had followed him and now it was his turn to follow me. And he did. Now after three years, we wake up most days, pinch ourselves, and offer a prayer of gratitude for this new adventure that’s become our life.
We meet a lot of people today who have the desire to make changes in their lives but lack the confidence to turn their thoughts into actions. Some seem overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. Others are paralyzed by the fear of failing. Still others just don’t know how to develop a workable plan to set things in motion.
If any of these describe you—if you lack confidence to know how to turn your ideas into actions—I have two recommendations.
1.First of all, buy and read Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-given Dream. It is unique book that will walk you through the stages and steps of birthing your dream.
2.Second, come to the Dream Incubator Workshop on Saturday, October 24th. David and I would love to host you at Sustainable Faith Indy and lead you and other participants through a valuable process of discerning the essence of your God-given dream. Take action. Register Now!
Don’t allow a lack of confidence to keep you from incubating your dream!”