If Only, If Only, If Only ...
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)
I chose her register not because her line was short, but because of her smile. The cashier’s beautiful skin and sparkling, dark-colored eyes only added to the light she was shining.
As I scooted my cart to her check-out lane, she said something sweet about my outfit. Soon, we were swapping “sweatpants stories” — the outfits we’re both most comfortable in — she in school and me working from home. Within seconds, our conversation took a turn, landing on the topic of confidence.
Suddenly, her bright eyes lost their twinkle, and in a bit of a whisper, she confided that she wished she’d been more confident a few years ago. Before the opportunity slipped away, I asked, "Did you go through a hard time when you were younger?"
This gorgeous young woman shared how she grew up where there hadn’t been many people who looked like she did. How she was told if only her skin were different, she would be pretty. But … it wasn’t. Then she hesitated, adding, "But I got over it." She handed me my bags and receipt, and our interaction ended.
Heading to my car, I longed to continue our chat. I had so many questions. What happened in her heart during this confidence-crushing time? Did she really just get over it?
Because it will happen again. To all of us. Our confidence will be challenged repeatedly.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you my confidence is challenged almost daily. Unlike the cashier, it’s not because I’ve been put down or slighted. No, my struggle comes from within. My heart- and mind-messages continually work against me: “If only” you had more experience. “If only” you were more gifted, more talented, etc.
"If only … " These words, whether from others or from within ourselves, intensify when we attempt to make our move with God.
Is there a part of you that says me too? Each time you’ve attempted to step in a direction where you feel God’s calling you, your confidence was challenged. Do you have your own set of “if onlys”?
If only I hadn’t made that unwise choice as a teen …
If only I had gone to college …
If only I didn’t marry so young …
If only my marriage would have worked out …
If only I’d done a better job raising my kids …
If only I had gotten my temper under control …
If only I sought treatment …
If only, if only, if only …
And somewhere, in this breakdown, we began to believe we simply didn’t deserve to follow or have our God-instilled desires and dreams fulfilled. What do we do now?
God’s Word reminds us of what’s true. We move forward confidently in Christ, because we know God cares for us.
He sees us.
On days when I’m just going through the motions, dragging myself out of bed, into the perpetual rush of life, my weary self wonders: Do I even matter? Does anyone see me?
Jesus absolutely does, and His care can give us the confidence and strength we need to press forward. We have to impress this truth on our hearts: He cares for us.
Yes, life delivers harsh, painful blows, but we can change those “if-onlys” around.
If only my parents had stayed together, I wouldn’t have experienced that hurt, but now I share my testimony with children going through the same pain. If only we hadn’t moved, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so insecure. But now because we did move, in this new city I’m sharing Jesus with people here.
If only, if only, if only … but God!
Friend, the King of the Universe sees you and calls you worthy. As Matthew 10:29-31 reminds us, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
You have what you need to reframe your “if onlys” and make the move God calls you to make. Let His word fill your confidence gap today.
Lord, I want to move forward. May Your truth that I am worthy empower me to do so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 121:3, “He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.” (NASB)
Lynn Cowell’s new Bible study for women, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakeable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures is ready for pre-order! Click here to get your copy, and unlock exclusive pre-order bonuses!
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
This week, when you sense your confidence being challenged, concentrate on your breathing. With each breath, speak over your heart one way God has been faithful to you. As you breathe in His care, breathe in Christ-confidence. Unshakable confidence in our unshakable God!