So you're in a conference, a church, or some type of meeting, and the speaker calls for people to stand or raise their hands in response to something. You sit there sweating, heart pounding, mouth going dry, desperately wanting to stand, but feeling paralysed by fear.
Your mind is raging war with itself. Dozens of doubts and fears pop into your mind, swirling around until you feel drowned by your fear. 'What will the others think of you?' a thought will ask. 'What if no one else gets up?' they say to you. You sit there in a confused state of mind, wanting desperately to stand, yet being drowned by the great fear of what others will think, as you enviously watch those around you rising to their feet.
You wish you could be like them. You wish you had the confidence.
Does anyone else ever feel like this, or is it just me? I faced this very same situation this morning at a conference put on for the older girls in my school. The speaker, Carly, had been telling us all that confidence is a choice, a decision you have to make. She'd asked those who felt that they often lacked confidence or were too shy to stand to their feet and be prayed for. In my heart I cried out, 'Yes! That's me!' but my head gave me a dozen reasons to keep myself seated. I sat and fretted for a minute until the last call was made, and with my heart in my throat I slowly rose to my feet.
Although I still felt like I was recovering from a minor heart attack, I began to feel a sense of freedom wash over me, as I realised what Carly had been saying was true - confidence is a choice. In that moment I had made the choice, and it had worked - I'd gotten over my fear of what others would think of me, and chose to be confident.
Later in the afternoon, I went down the road with a team of girls to go and visit some elderly ladies in a nursing home. I was feeling pretty comfortable as I sat at a table with a lady called Gwenda and one of my teachers, because the teacher did all the talking, and all I had to do was smile politely and 'ooh' and 'aaah' over countless pictures of Gwenda's old lounge room or her great-great-grandkids. I was safe inside my comfort zone - that is, until I noticed an old lady on the other side of the room who was all alone, and I felt bad that no one was talking to her.
Definitely lacking confidence, I got out of my seat and made my way over to her. In my head another battle began. My fears told me things like, 'She probably doesn't want your company,' and 'You'll just make things awkward.' Then suddenly I remembered Carly's words. I stood up straighter, pulled my shoulders back, put on a bright and cheery smile, and skipped over, saying, "Hello! I'm Maddy, what's your name?"
You see? I decided to be confident. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I was terrified, but it worked.
For the next hour I chatted away to Rita, a lady who'd only been at the nursing home 3 weeks and didn't have any friends yet. Before going into the nursing home I had asked God to use me to bless someone, and I believe he did.
Later on, back at school, we had a debriefing talk. The teacher asked if anyone wanted to share something of their experience, and everything went silent. Heart beating fast, mouth going dry, I tentatively volunteered.
I then spoke quite freely, (though I don't really remember what I sad, my nervousness seems to have fizzled my memory of that part), sharing with the hundreds of girls sitting there about how I've always lacked confidence, and how Carly's words on choosing to be confident had really spoken to me. When I was finished, everyone sat there clapping for me with big smiles of encouragement.
In that moment, I felt free. I had done it. Stepped WAY out of my comfort zone, and conquered my fear.
So you see, it really is as easy as that. Just CHOOSE to be confident!
Have a great week everyone :)