How is it that an average person goes through a day with the dynamic of confidence and insecurity? Just the wording of the sentence is a challenge to me for I am one example of this apparent poles-far-apart conflict… that isn’t. It isn’t conflict because the two seem to bond which, on the surface, would seem contradictory.
My firm convictions of good attitude and higher goals are not the solution. Self-doubt, even frustration, sabotages those two in a heartbeat. When I mention insecurity, I mean it! The Solver to this dilemma is Jesus…in Spirit form. “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God (II Corinthians 3:5).” Our confidence (previous verse) is found in Jesus pointing us toward God.
My problem is that I was studying, practicing, (and at least wishing) that I would become inwardly confident. Yet, confidence in myself continued to be undermined by myself. When I was a teen I bought a pair of socks at Goodells. As I prepared to put them on, I noticed a wandering thread at the opening so I pulled it so as to remove this vagrant sleeper that was hitching a ride on my new sock.
When I pulled that villain of a thread the entire sock unraveled all of the way to the end of the toe. It was like I had just done a most amazing magic trick. Nothing was left but one long useless brown thread. At this point I had a serious quandary. Now my socks really didn’t match!
When we make genuine effort to be self-aggressive and self-assertive there will always be someone or something which will pull our chains and we will unravel… often all of the way to our toes. But life isn’t up to us. We don’t have the knack to make it click. Life is up to Jesus within us. He knows the directions and the dimensions because he personally knows the Creator of even our socks.
When Jesus teaches that “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”, a powerful secret is sneaking upon us from the front. We are being hit with a validity which is truly community-disorienting; even earth-shaking. The very place NO ONE WANTS TO BE is in last place. No one brags about the team that finished last; nor the horse, nor the beauty contestant.
No, first is what we want. In this zone are the bragging rights. It’s what we envision for our kids, for our efforts, for our dreams, and for ourselves. God, in His wisdom, knows we want to be first. Thrillingly, He wants us to experience being first. He isn’t against us; rather for us. But to be authentic in finishing at the top we must strive for last place.
And this bugs us. It feels like some sort of bad day like when our socks don’t match….but much worse. In our finishing last in accomplishment, in argument, in effectiveness, be not discouraged. The fascinating work of God is at hand. It was at the Cross… even when it didn’t look like it.