Saturday, December 31, 2005

Confidence vs. Negativity

People who know me realize that I pursue life with confidence. That doesn't mean that I have on the figurative rose-colored glasses, thinking everything will be hunky-dory and I will encounter no difficulties. It means that I believe that God will work through me, that He will be faithful to empower me to do everything He has called me to do. Basically, I have confidence in God and His promises. Since He lives in me, confidence infuses my outlook on what I can do.

There is so much negativity in Christendom today! It really distresses me and keeps adding new items to my list of pet peeves. For example, when someone says something negative about himself, you often hear someone else say something like, "Thank you for being honest."

What? How is honesty connected with negativity? Am I not being honest if I say, "I am obedient to God and have walked faithfully in His light"? How many times have you heard a statement like that and then someone replied, "Thank you for being honest." Apparently the majority of Christians have this "I'm a worm" mentality, and it really seems to keep them from being all they can be.

Why am I harping on this now? I think it's because of a topic I read on one of my writers' forums recently. Someone asked us to list two aspects of writing we hate that keep us from being MVP (Most Valuable Player) writers. Well, first of all, the assumption seems to be that no one on the list is or believes he can be an MVP writer. The second problem is this dwelling on the negative. Why not ask, "Those of us who are not already MVP writers should strive to be one. What aspect of your writing are you working on that will propel you into that category?"

You see, I have no problem believing that I am an MVP writer right now. When I was pursuing writing as a career, I was confident that I would become one. Why not? God had called me to be a writer, so I fully expected to become a good one. I always believe in performing at my very best, so why not have confidence that I could perform at a high level? And now that I am a best selling author and my publisher perceives me as their top author, it would be dishonest of me to believe otherwise or to display a false mask. Sure, I know that I still need to strive to be even better, but I will not lower my head and self-deprecate in order to achieve some false idea of humility or "honesty."

True humility is to have a correct view of our standing, as servants to the Almighty God. Without Him we would be nothing. We would not even be able to take a breath. Everything we do or hope to do is enabled by His grace and empowering. Yet, through Him, we can do all things, and it glorifies God when we stand up and tell the world what His power has done in us. This is authentic humilty--real honesty.

I believe that many aspiring writers would be benefit from a more confident outlook. While taking care not to gloss over inadequacies in their writing abilities and ignore their marketing strategies, they need to pursue their goals with complete confidence that it is God who is at work in them to bring about the ends that He has prepared.

So, writers, keep working hard at honing your craft. Take care to pursue relationships in the industry in order to learn the business. Seek to be a servant and help others. These are all essential steps. But I encourage you to keep your head up, knowing that you are children of the King. You are marching out to fulfill His calling, under His orders, and in His power. You are not worms who crawl in the mire, engaging in self-flagellation in order to adhere to a cultural perception of proper "humility."

If you decide to heed this counsel, you will likely be called proud or arrogant. Such accusations will sting. I know. I have felt those barbs many times. But take courage that Jesus endured the same poisoned arrows. He has called us to honor God no matter what, to tell the truth about God's light in us. We are a city set on a hill. Let us not hide our lights under the bushel of dishonest "honesty."


Becky said...

"Dishonest 'honesty.'" Now that's a new one. I see what you're saying and I agree, but there is such a thin veil between taking credit for what God has done and giving God credit for what He has done.

I think pride is The Deadly Sin, from which others stem. (I think I can make a case for that statement but will not hijack your comment area to do so now). Consequently, I am reluctant to wholeheartedly endorse what you're saying, simply because it can be so easily twisted into a rationale for pride, which you indicate has been a false indictment thrown your way. The thing is, we who know pride to be lurking at the door of our hearts must assiduously guard against it.

Then there is the possibility of believing a lie--if God so works through me, then I must be doing just what He wants, when sometimes the truth is, He works His will in spite of me, not because of me.

Which leads to the next pitfall, one you alluded to--satisfaction rather than a pressing on: to know more of Christ, more of my craft, more of the business He's called me to.

So, a hearty, I kind of agree. Hahah.

Happy New Year to you and yours, Bryan.


Clefspeare said...

Your comments to guard our hearts are on the mark. We who believe in living confidently would be wise to always take care to keep a proper balance and always give glory to God.

I agree with you about pride. As you know, I made it the temptation in the seventh circle, Billy's most difficult task. Only true sacrificial love can overcome it. I have seen how insidious and destructive it can be.

I hope people who know me can see that, although I am confident, I rely completely on God and give Him the glory at every opportunity. I remember what life was like before I met Christ. Without Him, I am nothing.

MacPhilly said...

Spot on brother. Unlike Becky I didn't interpret what you were saying as taking credit for what God has done rather than giving credit for what he's done.

And, you're right about that tendency of Christians to have that woe is me worm in the dust mentality. I believe it is due the lack of understanding of what God has really done for them and what he is able to do through them that causes that issue. Keep fighting the fight and sharing your heart as well as his message in your writing. You won't know for sure how many folks you'll help to set free until you get to heaven, but I'm sure there will be many!


BeckyJoie said...

A hearty Amen here! While I think being honest includes both the negative and positive sharing, I also believe it is to be tempered by sharing only what is edifying whether for encouragement or instruction. For instance, I see no problem with sharing human struggles for the sake of showing how your faith is able to overcome the fleshly struggle. But venting and false "self-degredation" is often used by the devil to convince a person or those around them of a sense of humility which is merely a false humility. There is a point where we "take every thought captive" and cast down thoughts which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. I believe, like you, that God wants us to live victorious lives and that He made us in His image to be creators and achievers in this world in the areas for which he gifted us. It is almost either a denial of what God is doing through us or flat out pretending when we refuse to acknowledge that gifting and allow God to bless and multiply it through our obedience and confidence in His leading.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Mr. Davis, this is super encouraging! (I've been reading through your older posts and just had to comment on this one.) Very timely and inspiring... Thank you!

Bryan Davis said...

I'm glad you liked it, Tracey. I think I'll resurrect this on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Sweet! I check your Facebook almost everyday, seeing as I find more frequent updates there than on the blog. So I'll be sure to keep an eye out for this 'resurrected topic'. :)
Speaking of Facebook, I love the picture of Walter's parents! I can't wait until 2014.