Importance of Confidence
Why do people say that confidence is so important for teenagers?
Confidence plays a huge role in the lives of teenagers. It sure is important in mine in many ways. Whether it's in sports, academics, or social situations, I find that having confidence in myself is vital. Let's look at some examples.
I am a baseball player and enjoyed playing for the school team at my school in St. Louis, Missouri. We were not very good, but we all had a blast and improved greatly. I recall one time when we were playing a larger school with a team consisting of gigantic players with facial hair. Although this team was just another middle school team like so many others we had faced, they were intimidating. I watched my teammates lose confidence in themselves, and it only got worse when we realized that the starting pitcher was the son of a Major League pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. This kid was terrifying. I could tell that my teammates had given up before we even stepped onto the field. Because of this, we lost the game. We did not even need to play at all, since the players' lack of confidence eliminated all hope of winning.1 Since then, I have learned that confidence is necessary to succeed. Being confident makes you comfortable, and once you are comfortable, you can perform to your peak and beyond.
To succeed in academics, we need confidence almost every second of every class. Confidence does not mean that you don't study at all for a big test and then show up confident in class the next day, expecting to earn an A on the test. Confidence emerges when we take the proper steps towards success. I like to study hard and efficiently, then take tests confidently, knowing that I have fulfilled my obligated task of studying well. With preparation, confidence comes naturally and genuinely. Isaiah tells us that "in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" (30:15). True strength comes from the confidence that you earn and from trusting in God.
In social settings, confidence is also vital. If you are confident that you won't make a fool of yourself or say something in a way that you didn't intend to, then you will be comfortable.2 With confidence comes comfort, and with comfort comes ease. Being at ease in a social environment makes it much easier to have fun without worrying about doing something dumb. If you're confident, you're not going to be concerned about talking to that girl. Being confident is the key to comfort in a seemingly difficult situation. Confidence has helped me immensely in all that I do.
Jesus sure had confidence when he allowed himself to be put up on the cross. He knew he would be back, or else he would have just disappeared and appeared somewhere else that was safe -- like he had done before. He also walked on the water, and that requires a ton of courage and confidence.3 There are countless examples of Biblical figures being confident, and we should strive to be like them in that respect.
Tim Butterfield, high school freshman
1Hearing the story about feeling defeated by the size of the opposing team reminds me of two Bible stories that ended up very differently. Confidence made all the difference.
- When Moses sent out 12 men to scout out the Promised Land, all but Joshua and Caleb let their fear of the size of the people who inhabited the land keep them from acting. The 10 men reasoned that they couldn’t win a battle: “And there we saw the giants . . . and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Num. 13:31-33). Their lack of confidence kept them from entering the Promised Land. So, they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Joshua and Caleb’s trust and confidence in God enabled them to survive and enter the Promised Land.
- The other story is about David and Goliath. No one wanted to fight Goliath because he was so huge. Only David had the confidence to go up against this giant. David even refused to use the armor and weapons Saul offered him because he had not “proved” them; he didn’t have confidence in them (I Sam. 17:39). Instead, he had confidence in God and his God-given abilities. So, he killed Goliath “with a sling and with a stone” and saved the Israelites (I Sam. 17:50).
2Moses didn't think he could talk to the Pharaoh or to the children of Israel when God told him to lead His people out of Egypt. You know what God's response was? God said, "I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say" (Ex. 4:12). Knowing that God is going to tell us what to say is certainly enough to give us confidence to speak.
3Jesus definitely had confidence in God when he walked on the water. His confidence allowed him to rise above laws of gravity, weight, etc. that tell us we can't walk on water. I've always been amazed, though, at the interaction between Peter and Jesus. Peter had more confidence than most of us do because he walked on the sea over to Jesus. When he lost his confidence in God and got scared, he started sinking. Jesus' response has always made me think. Rather than compliment Peter for walking those few steps, Jesus saved him from sinking and said, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matt. 14:31). Jesus was really trying to get Peter to understand the importance of absolute faith and confidence in God. It's so important for us to build our confidence in God, not in ourselves, so that we, too, can do whatever it is we need to do with a sense of ease, power, and strength.