Feeling Confident In Life – Part Two

So, why do we need confidence?  Why do you need confidence in yourself as we saw yesterday from Hebrews 10:35?  “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” 

First of all, it will give you stability in every area of your life. Confidence equals contentment with self; contentment is knowing you have all you need for the present circumstances. This leads to confidence.

Philippians 4:11-13 provides the basis for this thought. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

These verses cannot be separated because there is an absolute relationship between experiencing life’s lows and enjoying its highs. The apostle Paul is resting on the assurance that his strength is in God alone. And, he understood that confidence and contentment gave him stability in every situation he encountered in his tumultuous life. 

Contentment is taking your present situation — whatever obstacles you are facing, whatever limitation you are living with, whatever chronic condition wears you down, whatever has smashed your dreams, whatever factors and circumstances in life tend to push you under — and admitting you don’t like it but never saying, “I can’t cope with it.”

Contentment means you may feel distress, but you may never feel despair. You may feel pressed down, but you may never feel defeated. Paul says there are unlimited resources, and as soon as you say, “I can’t cope, “ you are failing to draw on these resources that Christ has readily, by His loving-kindness, made available to you. Contentment, therefore, is being confident that you measure up to any test you face because Christ has made His strength available within you.

If the first thing confidence does is to stabilize you, the second thing it does is to stretch you. The moment that I have my foundation strong and stable, I am in position to begin stretching. Insecure people and those who lack self-confidence seldom stretch because they are not willing to live on the edge of adventure in life. They are too insecure to risk what they have for what they might achieve and gain if only they let go and stepped out in faith. 

Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” 

Think about a rubber band which is totally useless unless it is stretched. When insecurity and lack of self-confidence keeps us from stretching and growing, we end up with a life that is as unexciting and useless as a limp rubber band. 

We need confidence so that we can be stable in life not allowing neither want or abundance to control our response to daily circumstances and situations. Secondly, confidence allows us to risk stepping out in faith and in the process stretching and growing. 

Transferring this truth to the leadership level we see that confidence helps a leader to believe in other people because they are secure and confident. I mean, don’t we see others as we see ourselves? Show me a leader who believes in other people, and i will show you a leader who has a lot of confidence in their life. An insecure leader, on the other hand, believes neither in themselves nor in others. Insecure people are afraid to risk building up others with compliments, because they are constantly in need of compliments themselves.

A leader with confidence is a leader who brings about positive change in people. People must have affirmation, praise, and encouragement in order to believe in themselves, move forward, and maintain a high-level of excellence in the things they are called to do. Withholding negative or critical comments is not nearly as important as giving positive input through complements and praise. Again, the only people who can do this are those who feel positive about themselves. Work plus praise increases energy, but work without praise drains energy.

If you study the life of Paul, you will note he uses the word “confidence” in three distinct but related ways. Six times Paul refers to confidence in his relationship with Christ, six times to his confidence in himself, and six times he mentions his confidence in relationships with other people. There must be a balance because all three areas are related. Without confidence in Christ we could be tempted to become egocentric and cocky. Without confidence in ourselves we are defeated, powerless Christians. Without confidence in others we are suspicious and untrusting. 

Paul learned this lesson and it made him a successful motivator, leader, and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself. The price tag the world puts on us is just about identical to the one we put on ourselves. Self-confidence is the first prerequisite to doing great things for the Lord and the Kingdom of God. 

Feeling Confident In Life – Part One

Have you ever noticed that some people simply stand out in a crowd? What is it about them that sets them apart and that draws them to your attention? 

    • Their sense of direction — the assurance that they know where they are going?
    • Is it an awareness that they have certain abilities?
    • Maybe it’s because they have good people skills?
    • Is it their sincerity?
    • Their past successes?
    • Their ability to use eye contact and body language?

What do they have that draws people to them and that people appreciate, apparently feel comfortable around, and even want?

I believe it is “confidence!” Self-confidence carries a conviction, a strength, and it draws others to you. It allows you to stand out in a crowd. And, it helps people to feel comfortable around you. But most importantly, confidence allows you to feel comfortable and even relaxed around others. You know who you are. You understand your purpose at this stage in your life. You are good at what you do – having sharpened your talent and learned important skills. You feel strong and secure, self-confident. The result: you live with conviction and as a result others will feel comfortable around you. 

A story I read back in September, 1989 goes like this:

A five-year-old boy was intently working with his crayons at the kitchen table when his mother walked in and questioned what he was doing. Her son replied, “I’m drawing a picture of God.”

“But honey,” she responded, “no one knows what God looks like.”

With great confidence the boy boldly stated, “They will when I’m done.”

I like that sense of self-confidence, boldness, and positiveness. And, believe me, this confidence is powerful. And, confidence is also contagious. 

The writer of Hebrews recognized the value of confidence:

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35)

The author of Hebrews is letting us know that confidence is not set in cement; it’s possible to lose it. And one of the key elements that removes confidence from the way we live life is those that we hang out with. Most people fall into two categories: confidence builders and confidence shakers. If you are unsure of yourself, a confidence shaker can do you in. 

The following story provides a great example of confidence breakdown.

A man lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes, so he read no newspapers. But he sold good hot dogs.

This man put up signs on the highway advertising his wonderful hot dogs. He stood on the side of the road and cried, “Buy a hot dog, mister?” And people bought his hot dogs. He increased his meat and bun orders, and he bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade. He made enough money to put his son through college.

Unfortunately, the son came home from college an educated pessimist. He said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio? Haven’t you been reading the newspaper? There’s a big recession on. The European situation is terrible, and the domestic situation is worse.”

Whereupon the father thought, “Well, my son’s been to college. He reads papers and he listens to the radio; he ought to know.” So the father cut down his meat and bun orders, took down his signs and no longer bothered to stand out on the highways to sell his hot dogs.

Of course, his sales fell overnight. “You’re right, son,” the father said to the boy. “We certainly are in the middle of a big recession.”

Confidence shakers see the negative side of everything. When they get you to buy into it, the very thing that was helping you be successful becomes your downfall. 

Unfortunately, this negative process can and too often does happen in the lives of Christians. We all go through periods of testing, wondering if God really can meet our every need. With a little discouragement from a good confidence shaker, we begin to doubt His ability and our own. This can begin a downward spiral which ends in the pit of failure and frustration. Our confidence has not only been shaken but uprooted.

The positive message from Hebrews 10:35 is that our confidence has a great reward. If we keep and build on it, we will be more than recompensed. Confidence in oneself is the cornerstone to inter-personal success ad healthy relationships that last. It is difficult for those who do not believe in themselves to have much faith in anyone else. Self-confidence breeds confidence in others.

 

How To Have Personal Charisma! – Part Five

There are, in each of our lives, roadblocks to being a person who is known to have charisma. Again, charisma is a trait or quality in our life that can be developed. It is not reserved for those who are extroverts and enjoy being in front of others. The potential to be charismatic lies within each of us, but first we must remove hindrances from the development of this important personality characteristic.

What are some possible obstructions?

    • PRIDE. A prideful person will have a tendency to look down on other people, feeling a sense of superiority. People will not follow or identify with a snobbish personality who is conscious of status and position.
    • INSECURITY. Insecure people are not willing to take a risk. They prefer to remain comfortable and probably, unexciting.
    • MOODINESS. This is an immature quality which is detrimental to personal relationships. Moody people are fickle and, thus, people who cannot be depended upon. Confidence is never built on a person who is subject to sullenness.
    • PERFECTIONISM. Perfectionism is an obsessive need to perform flawlessly. It stifles creativity and freedom and it turns people off and away. Perfectionists can rarely affirm themselves; therefore, it’s very difficult for them to affirm others.
    • OVERSENSITIVITY. Oversensitive people are constantly licking their wounds. They look inward and are not aware of the needs of others. Naturally, people don’t flock around them. 
    • NEGATIVISM. By definition, negativism is the opposite of charisma. A person with a constant negative attitude is depressing to be around. Their personality says no to life in general. Others will avoid a person like that. There is no possibility of being a charismatic leader or friend when no one want to be around you.

Charisma begins at the cross of Jesus Christ. Let’s take a look at Philippians 2:3-11 where we see Paul using the humility of Christ Himself as our pursuit.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

There is no question that Jesus was and is highly exalted. He had charisma. But it began with the deepest of humility. Remember: Charisma is being more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are in making them feel good about you!

In review – Traits of a person with charism…

    • Concern – What they show
    • Help – What they offer
    • Action – What they provide
    • Results – What they produce 
    • Influence – What they do
    • Sensitivity – What they follow
    • Motivation – What they give
    • Affirmation – What they share

How To Have Personal Charisma! – Part Four

We are looking at building personal charisma and thus being someone others would want to be in relationship with and even friends with. We are looking at these personal qualities that we can learn and develop by using the word CHARISMA as an acrostic.So far we have seen:

Concern – The ability to show that you care

Help – The ability to reach out

Action – The ability to make things happen

Result – The ability to produce

Influence – The ability to lead

Sensitivity – The ability to feel and respond

Charismatic people have the ability to be sensitive to changing situations. They are adept at taking advantage of the mood, feeling, and spirit of any situation. Most people have the ability to feel something, but they aren’t sure how to react to it or express it. Charismatic people not only feel it,. But they know how to react and express it.

Charismatic people find a cause; that’s discernment. They also voice a concern; that courage. And they draw a crowd; that’s automatic.

If you are to become more sensitive, you must be willing to take a risk. Take the initiative to find a need and take action. People who are overly sensitive to the point that their feelings are always hurt will withdraw from others and never take a risk.

But the charismatic person will risk getting out of their comfort zone in order to make others feel comfortable.

Motivation – The ability to give hope

The secret of motivating others is providing them with hope. People tend to feel more positive when they are in relationship with someone who brings hope to the surface in their life. Let’s take a look at some Bible people who offered hope (and thus were able to lead others who were drawn to them):

    • Isaiah, speaking of God, said, “I will do something new” (Isaiah 43:19)
    • Jeremiah talked about “…new law in their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33)
    • Jesus spoke about being born again (John 3:3)
    • Paul called a Christian a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
    • John’s vision recorded in Revelation spoke of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1)

Each of these dynamic leaders constantly waved hope before their people.

Do you convey hope or despair to those around you? Learn affirmation skills, problem-solving techniques, ways to verbally encourage others, and convey belief and support in others. 

Affirmation – The ability to build up

Charles Schwab, the successful businessman, said, “I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”

Everyone wants and needs to be affirmed for his or her accomplishments. A little boy playing darts with his father said, “Let’s play darts. I’ll throw and you say, “Wonderful!” That’s what the charismatic person does for others.

We tend to become what the most important person in our life thinks we will become. Think the best, believe the best, express the best in others. Your affirmation will not only make you more attractive to them, but you will help play an important part in their personal development.

How do you affirm others? First we need to feel good about ourselves. Then we can verbally and actively believe in others and expect them to respond positively. People are our only appreciable asset. As Christians, we cannot afford to not affirm them. If I fail to affirm a brother, we both lose.  

So, how do we have personal charisma? We have looked at eight qualities we will need to build into our life and relationships if we hope to be charismatic as a person…

Concern – The ability to show that you care

Help – The ability to reach out

Action – The ability to make things happen

Result – The ability to produce

Influence – The ability to lead

Sensitivity – The ability to feel and respond

Motivation – The ability to give hope

Affirmation – The ability to build up

How To Have Personal Charisma! – Part Two

We are looking at building personal charisma and thus being someone others would want to be in relationship with and even friends with. We are looking at these personal qualities that we can learn and develop by using the word CHARISMA as an acrostic.

Concern – The ability to show that you care

Charismatic people have the ability to show concern for people’s deepest needs and interests. That does not mean that charismatic people are mushy and patronizing, but when you are around them, you sense their interest and care and leave them feeling that they you are important. When you share with them they respond to what you are sharing. They let you know they heard you and understand what you said and, even more importantly, where you are coming from. They even share their thoughts and feelings about what you trusted them with when sharing. 

At any gathering you will find two types of people — those who arrive with an attitude of “Here I am!” And those who possess an attitude of “There you are!” It doesn’t take long to notice that people flock to the “There you are!” people.

So another definition of charisma that is easy to understand and grasp (again I learned this  from someone who was a great mentor) is: “Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are in making them feel good about you.” In other words, don’t try to sell other people on you, try to sell them on themselves.

If you need to develop greater concern for others in your life, increase your exposure to hurting people. We see Jesus’ sense of concern in Matthew 9:35-38 (italics added):

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had (felt) compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

Here is the sequence: Jesus went, saw, felt, and cared. It’s only when we go and expose ourselves to various situations that we will see enough to develop the concern necessary to move us to action.

It’s difficult to become motivated to help people without first seeing and feeling their needs. The secret is to spend time with them. Only when you go and see will you feel and do. Only as you enter into their world and let their needs, words, and feelings enter into your heart will you begin to develop charisma. 

Help – The ability to reach out

Put simply, charismatic people are helpers. They get involved in people’s lives and respond to others. They are out there to see others become fully who God created them to be. To be the “best you that you can be” is their motto towards others.  They want people to mature and grow. They have the gift of grace. In fact, the Greek word for gift is “charisma” meaning “gift of grace.” God has freely bestowed upon us spiritual gifts because of His grace toward us.

In Romans 12:6 we read about this further: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them (exercise them) accordingly…” And we see in Ephesians 4:11-12, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

Notice in both references the emphasis on the variety of gifts and their purpose in the Kingdom. It is always for other people, never for self. There is no charisma in seclusion. You can’t walk into a room and have charisma by yourself!

People have problems and life issues. Many are like the beleaguered guy who, in desperation, when to a psychiatrist for help. He told the doctor, “Every time I get my act together, the curtain falls down.” He needed more than mercy and concern; he needed help. You will find that if you are adept at solving problems (offering help), that will guarantee a following forever. But if you want to develop solid, in-depth friendships or a loyal following (clientele, church members) you will need charisma. More than helping, you will need to be warm and transparent and even, at times, vulnerable. In other words, you will need to be real and have a personality that is attractive and that makes people feel at ease and at home when with you. .

What can you do to help people with their problems? First of all, encourage them to face their problem. Too often people would rather flee them, fight them, or forget them.

Second, encourage them to solve their problems. Don’t fix the problems for them. Teach them to fit them for themselves. Use the following acrostic to teach yourself to help people with difficulties.

T – Tell them it takes time.

E – Expose yourself to their problems in order to relate to the person’s situation

A – Assure them of your confidence in them

C – Creatively help them to see for themselves how to deal with their problems

H – Offer hope to them through the process

How To Have Personal Charisma! – Part One

I am an introvert. When I take tests that are meant to reveal your personality and how you function as a person I am an extreme introvert. As a result I have had to learn how to live as an extrovert because the majority of the world is extroverted. And, because I needed to develop the personal characteristics and relational qualities that would encourage others to want to have a personal relationship with me. I needed to study and then develop the character and personality traits that draw others to me. 

This is not something just introverts need to do. Every one of us needs to develop those qualities which cause people to be drawn to us and cause them to want to relate or become friends. If you don’t take the time to learn about and develop these qualities your will live a lonely life and one that is most likely an inch deep and a mile wide. Your relationships will all be fairly meaningless and very much on the surface of life. 

The word that summarizes all of this is “charisma.” Not everyone is born with charisma. But everyone can develop this quality that makes the difference between being a loner and being popular. It makes the difference between being an acquaintance and being a good friend. It is certainly the quality needed to become a leader in whatever area you are working or ministering. 

Charisma can be a difficult subject to grapple with because most people think it is a mystical, elusive, undefinable quality that you either have or don’t have. However, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary has given several definitions to charisma, and this is the one we will use:

Charisma is a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm.

I would interchange or add the word “friendship” where you just read “leadership” and add the word “personal” where it states “popular”

My definition of charisma: A personal quality of friendship (leadership) arousing personal (popular) loyalty or enthusiasm 

Each one of us has certain abilities that will increase the charisma of our personality. You don’t have to make a strained effort to become something that is not comfortable with your basic nature. However, if your desire is to become a people person and have good, life-long friends, then you need to develop an appealing personality that causes others to respond to you.

Using the word CHARISMA as an acrostic, we can define the outstanding characteristics of a charismatic person who people want to follow and be friends with. I learned this from several books and a mentor from many years ago. 

Concern

Help

Action

Results

Influence

Sensitivity

Motivation

Affirmation

Keep in mind that these traits are not simply inborn; they are attainable by anyone who cares about other people and wants to develop his or her relational skills. 

Let’s look at each characteristic in CHARISMA in a little more depth.