Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Confidence Confession

Hi.

My name is Krista, and I suffer with severe confidence issues.

And BEWARE.

This blog is about to get a bit, uh, deep.

This isn't a normal blog I'd post. It's deeply personal and explores an issue that I'm just now fully grasping. But I know I'm not alone in my struggle, so I'm hoping by spewing MY journey onto paper (or in this case, screen...), I can maybe help someone else who struggles with the same thing.

From a really early age, I had ZERO confidence in myself. Specifically about my appearance. I was a little overweight. I had horrifically ugly glasses. I had a large gap between my two front teeth. And I had extremely oily hair so my mother made me get it cut... thus making me look like a boy to some.

It was not pleasant times.

This was compounded by the fact that (and they may dispute this but...) I had two very pretty and popular older sisters whom I was in awe of.

The one thing I had halfway going for me was that I was smart. I did great in school and I enjoyed it. It came easy to me. And I loved to read, and I loved to write.

I grasped on to those things and held them tight. They were my lifeline. At some point, I almost stopped caring about how I looked. I'd try to put on makeup when my sisters made me, and at times would have this burst of caring about myself. But honestly? If I didn't try, I didn't have to feel bad about being ugly. And if I tried a little, I could still feel a little good about myself, but there was always this little voice saying, "Nothing you can do will make you pretty, Krista. And no body likes you. NO BODY."

Let me stop and just say this. I KNOW THAT BEAUTY IS NOT ABOUT THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE.

I get that in my head and teach my own sweet girls that.

But a young girl's heart and self-esteem says something totally different. There is a deep rooted desire to look pleasing to people's eyes, and to a point, that is okay. It's natural and normal. But when it gets distorted, it can be dangerous.

And as a side note... when you tell a girl that, "But Jesus thinks you're beautiful, he looks on the INSIDE and that's what counts...." it honestly doesn't help a whole lot. In fact, it can make it much, much, much worse. In HER mind (read: my mind when I was younger) you're saying, "I know that you're ugly, sweetie, but thankfully God looks at your heart and ignores your ugly outside."

And self-confidence issues in that area spread to other areas as well. It is the beginning, but not the end.

But that's a topic for another day.

If you take my struggles as a young girl, couple that with moving around a billion times and changing schools multiple times, including a move out of state at the age of 16 which I was very bitter about... you get a young woman who had severe confidence issues.

And I think what I did was cling very tightly to the few things I DID have confidence in. For me, it ended up being my job. Working and doing WELL validated me for the first time. Well, for the second time. Marrying my sweet husband who thought I was incredibly beautiful and loved me exactly how I was, was the first time. But even then, I've still had many crying sessions with him throughout the years when I was convinced that he was lying.

But when I worked, I did GOOD. I got promotions and fantastic performance reviews. People came for me to help because my specialty was "fixing" things that were broken.

At times, I got chastised because my confidence in my job came off as arrogance. And maybe a bit I was, because it was the one thing I had. The one thing I could hang my hat on because everything else about myself I thought was horribly flawed.

My writing is one of those not-so-confident things.

When my book came out, I obsessed over numbers. Was it selling well? Did everyone hate it?? Did they see the few words that a copy editor and I didn't catch and think I'm a total complete idiot??? Will I EVER sell another book? It was an excruciating exercise for me to promote my book. Not one that I complained about... but just difficult. I was putting my heart out there for people to readily stomp on at will. NOT EASY for a girl that struggles with being confident.

Going to conference last month, I prayed very hard that God would give me a theme. That in all my down time, He would teach me what I needed to hear right now. Because I desperately needed to hear something.

These are the two things I heard:


1.) Focus on ME. I've got this, Krista.

and


2.) Be confident and courageous.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.


Psalm 71:5
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.


When I first got to Indianapolis for conference, I was to meet with my agent at 4:00. Not a lot of time since we didn't get in until after 3!


I came down to the lobby to meet her after putting my luggage away, and honestly? I was a ball of nerves. I knew I should be confident, but I was not.

And that is really very silly. This is my AGENT. The person I should have this great rapport with and be able to be myself with, as it's our both common goal and interest for me to sell more books. But I was terrified. What if she told me I was a failure as a client? That she wanted nothing more to do with me?

And what did my sweet Jesus do?

He sent me Pepper.

My sweet sweet alleycat Pepper took one look at terrified Krista, hugged me, and prayed for me a bold, confident prayer.

Oh goodness.

I needed that bold confident prayer.

And you know what? My meeting with my agent went great. We have some good next steps and ideas of things to do between now and "selling" that next book.

And while I know I failed miserably on several attempts, God gave me numerous opportunities to be "confident and courageous" throughout weekend.

I'm also embracing the fact that I am who I am. The fact that I struggle with confidence issues is part of who I am. It's my makeup at the moment. I've tried so hard to "overcome" it but am realizing that even in trying to overcome it, I feel even more bogged down because I'm focusing more on ME.

And there in lies what God has been trying to teach me lately.

Instead of focusing on ME, I need to focus on JESUS. I need to rest in a God who will give me strength and surround me with people who will help bolster me to be the confident bride of Christ he has called me to be.

I am not alone.

I am loved.

GOD is my confidence, and in Him I will trust.

6 comments:

Caroline Starr Rose said...

This is beautiful, Krista. Thank you so much for being vulnerable and real with us.

Anonymous said...

You are AMAZING!!!

:)Shannon

The mom of 4 monkeys! said...

I know EXACTLY how that feels! My husband and I have been married for 12 years and together for 19 yet I still often feel like he's gonna figure out at some point that he "settled" and could do so much better. (That's hard to say out loud) I saw a woman who used to be my best friend and we haven't talked in a few years. She got healthy and thin and I still feel she stopped talking to me because I didn't. :( I left the store feeling so crappy about myself, as I often do. Sometimes it feels like I'm the only one that feels this way. It can feel so lonely.
Thanks for writing this! It helped!

Melissa Tagg said...

Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL post, Krista. :)

Elizabeth Camden said...

What a moving post, Krista. I wonder if struggling with these things has given you more compassion and kindness. I truly believe we are sent challenges like this for a reason. You are made EXACTLY as God intended for you to be. You've got a lot on your plate, and perhaps facing challenges earlier in your life is what has given you the strength, fortitude, and compassion to handle it all.

Cindy Camp said...

Wonderful reminder to those of us who struggle with self-esteem issues despite recognizing how valuable we are to our Father. It is a "thorn in the flesh" that keeps us focused on Him--after we cry and shake a bit first!