DO others appear full of self-confidence while we are afraid that we will not measure up to the demands made on us? A lack of confidence is rooted in the belief that the outward, material sense of things, including a limited view of our own identity, is irreversible truth. The mortal self we believe to be our identity, beginning with birth and ending with death, seems a combination of successes and failures, perhaps more often the latter. If we believe that we are imperfect mortals, we will believe that failures are at times inevitable and that this is a realistic approach to life. Yet this concept does not help us to face life's problems with a deep and abiding confidence. It doesn't promote trust in the one God or an understanding of Him, which we all must ultimately cultivate. It doesn't give us a true sense of man as God's very image.
Is there a way out of this morass of confidence crises? Surely God doesn't mean for us to just muddle through.
In Christ Jesus' life we can find a pattern of supreme, unassailable confidence. He had a complete and absolute trust in God, because he understood God as the only true Parent, the source of all genuine power and activity, and man as the immortal reflection of this divine source of all good. In his own words, ``The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.''1
Above and beyond all Jesus' words, however, were his deeds. These were the actions of a man whose life was a complete expression of trust in God's omnipresent goodness and love.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and a devoted follower of Christ Jesus, found through her experience that she could never look anywhere but to God for confident living. Through her deep, searching prayer, her careful study of the Bible-- especially of Jesus' life--and her growing confidence in God, she found how to heal the sick through spiritual means, in the way taught by the Master, and she established the worldwide Church of Christ, Scientist. Learning to depend totally on God, Mrs. Eddy overcame timidity and fear of personal inability. To quote her own words, ``The Discoverer of this Science could tell you of timidity, of self-distrust, of friendlessness, toil, agonies, and victories under which she needed miraculous vision to sustain her, when taking the first footsteps in this Science.''2
When I began training as a teacher, I was very new to the study of Christian Science. One day I confided to a friend that I longed for more self-confidence. This was something I felt had been acutely lacking in my experience since childhood. This fear of personal inability was gently brushed aside by my friend, who told me to be God-confident.
Since then, by endeavoring to turn my thoughts away from the material view of situations as fixed reality and to look to God as Love, in whom there is no place for fear of failure, I have been able to quiet the false sense of personal ability or lack of ability. A growing confidence that I have a divine right to reflect God's qualities at all times has been a vital help when teaching deprived students in inner-city areas. And coming more and more to understand that all, in their true selfhood, are the expression of the one infinite Mind, God, I have been able to bring unwilling students to the point of willingness to learn. Also I have been able to help less confident students feel capable of learning.
As I have turned to God's power and intelligence to guide my thoughts, speech, and actions, I have developed more confidence in Him and in myself as His offspring. Many challenges, which I would never have dared to face without the strength achieved through daily study of Christian Science, have been successfully dealt with. This statement by Mrs. Eddy from the Christian Science textbook has often encouraged me: ``The confidence inspired by Science lies in the fact that Truth is real and error is unreal.''3
The more we learn about the great goodness of our perfect Parent, God, and of man as God's image, the more we will recognize how natural it is to feel confidence in our God-given abilities. Fear of failure will begin to slip away, and we will give God the glory.
1John 5:19. 2Rudimental Divine Science, p. 17. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 368. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! . . . Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. Psalms 8:1,4,6