Saturday, March 29, 2008

In Confidence

Last night I had a dream that has really stuck with me. I had been brought into a room by an old friend of mine who told me he wanted to sit me down and talk to me about something I probably didn't want to hear. "Great," I thought, while trying to look for the quickest escape. But I sat anyway and waited. Finally he came in, sat down, and went into this speech about guys and gals who like each other but never ask each other out...or maybe they finally are together but the guy is too scared to ask her to marry him. After letting it sit there for a minute, I finally asked...
"What does this have to do with me? I asked Wes out for our first date and Wes proposed to me...and we've been married nearly 8 years."
"Mary, why do you think these people didn't have the courage to ask each other out or propose?" he asked in reply.
I sat there for a minute thinking...what was he trying to convey to me? Then I realized what it was.
"They lacked self confidence."
My friend nodded and took my hand as though he knew I would need comfort at that moment. I turned my head away and slightly shook it. He was right. At one point in my life I was very confident...confident enough to ask out a guy I was head over heels crazy in love with...knowing a rejection might follow. Wes was confident enough to propose to me, knowing a "no" could be an answer. I sat there thinking about the ups and downs with confidence I've had over the years and I wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn't come. Instead I felt angry at myself. My friend patted my hand and told me how I was going to get this make over. I was going to get the haircut I've had a few times, but have lately not had the confidence to get it though I've really been wanting it again. I was getting this crazy printed dress and a pair of really funky shoes...things I would have loved but never would have purchased for myself because people who see me like to see me in "safe" things. I absolutely loved the shoes in particular and commented how great they would look with a pair of jeans and my super cool retro Rainbow Brite tshirt (oh yeah, I love that shirt of mine!). My friend said that would be awesome, but right now, I'm wearing it with a new shirt. So I chose this teal colored short sleeve satin shirt that had various designs on it that I can't quite remember. My hair was done, I had my shirt, my jeans, super cool shoes, and big earrings and a chunky bracelet on...I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "so this is where I've been hiding!!" I loved how I looked. Shortly after, I woke up.

The dream has been on my mind all morning. I thought about things I have passed up because I wasn't confident enough to do them. When I was getting new glasses last summer, I spent forever looking at the same three frames. I really wanted these green frames, but I kept thinking about how ridiculous people would think I I sat them back down. Then it was down to a pair of maroon-ish frames or a pair a light brown pair. Wes & I really liked the maroon-ish one, but I eventually settled on the light brown pair, justifying it by said that it will go with more things. I like my frame, but I wasn't confident enough to get either of the other two pairs that I liked even more. But thing is, it's not just my clothes or my glasses. It's so many things in life. I've been invited to join the praise band at church a few times. And each time I'm invited, I sit in the pew watching them as they practice, never once going up to join them. Our music minister asked one time after practice if I was waiting for any particular reason. I knew what he was hinting at and was asking in a delicate way. Why didn't I join them? I told him I just felt awkward and didn't know if he was just asking me to join just to be polite. He told me that he wouldn't have asked if he didn't think I was good enough...that if he knew someone who wanted to join but didn't really have the skill, or still needed lots of practice, he wouldn't ask. So I felt better, but I still doubt myself when it comes to joining them. I sit there in my pew on Sunday mornings thinking "I'm glad I didn't join this week because that song reaches too high for me and I can't figure out where to pick up the harmony." I justify my lack of self confidence.

Why do I do this? I do things because they are safe, not because I necessarily enjoy them. That's not to say I always dress in this funky manner...there are some "safe" clothes I really like. But there's also this part of me that likes what some would consider "weird stuff"...heck, one of my favorite shirts is my Nightmare Before Christmas shirt that I wear along with these big Jack Skellington hoop earrings. For the record, I have never received so many compliments on any clothing item I own more than I have my Nightmare shirt. I feel that if I dress a certain way or do things in a particular manner, more people will accept me and I'll have all these friends, blah blah blah. It's a need for validation. But why can't I validate myself? Why can't I be content in what I like and can do? Why have I lost the self confidence to accept myself? It's ridiculous! I should be praising God for how He made me rather than try to conform myself to how others think I should be.

I'm telling you all this in confidence. Not in the sense it's some secret, but in the sense that I finally realize that there are changes in my life I need to's time to start growing in the confidence God wants me to have.


Jules~ said...

Mary, I am so glad you shared your 'secret'. I want you to know that I understand. I think that more people wrestle with those kinds of feelings than we give credit for. It is just that we don't talk about them because it is know...we think it is not acceptable. What a cycle it all is.
Your cravings, styles, wants, and desires...God made you with those unique things. It is part of the special makeup that makes you
As I learn and grow thru these same thoughts, I am realising that when I have the courage to step out and do those things that have been ringing in my heart to show the true gives the people around me courage and confidence to do the same.
I am sorry if I sound too stong about this. I know it can be hard ot hear heart sometimes when we only newly know one another and it is all in typing. Please know that I am smiling and offering all in friendship....and I can't stand to see a fellow sister beaten down.

Mary said...

Jules, hon, you don't sound too strong at all! In fact, it is extremely comforting and encouraging to me that there is someone else who understands where I'm coming from. And you're right, I think there are many others who feel similarly. It's a hard thing to admit...especially when we get comfortable behind a mask we wear. I really have to work on just being ME, and not the me everyone else wants me to be.

kelly ann said...

Jules told me about your blog and I am glad she did. In Confidence made me smile, because I too have been in that spot of wanted the green glasses per se and going for the safe ones. But I agree with Jules you must find your own style and you own voice before the Lord. I there is one thing I have learned is God wants you to be you. A unique being that he has created.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. I think it probably often has something to do with our faith in God. We need to trust then step out on the water and keep our eyes on the Lord, as he changes us.

Good thoughts and well written.

SandyCarlson said...

I can relate to this in many ways. I have learned over the years that sticking to the Truth is the first and last comfort in all things. Sometimes I need reminding. You are a lovely writer.