Let’s talk about confidence.
Confidence is an assurance in or on something. “The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something.”
It is the cousin of faith and the older brother of belief.
To do something with sureness and conviction is to do something with confidence.
For example, believing your set-up and shot will work, or trusting your coach when he reminds you of the game plan moments before the match.
Confidence isn’t cocky, but is based in reality and truth.
For Christian athletes we often deal with a paradox: were told as athletes to be confident, but as christians to be humble. Often the confusion can lead us to treat humility as silence when others applaud us, and confidence as what is often misunderstood to be cocky or pompous by others who may not know otherwise.
Confidence and Humility aren’t opposed, but in fact work together.
There is a way to be both humble and confident…so how does an athlete maintain balance? We’ll look at a few ways to be confident as athletes, as believers, and how Christian athletes, coaches, and teams Should look at confidence.
Let’s dive in.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”
– Henry Ford
Confident Walking – Walk Good (bredren)
How you walk says a lot about who you are and about how you’re feeling.
I want you to think for a moment about someone who appears confident. What do they look like? How do they walk? Is their head high and shoulders back? Is there a smile on their face?
And what about someone who maybe just had a heartbreaking loss, what do they walk like?
How you walk, wrestle, and move can say more about you than your words might ever get a chance too.
So I ask you to think about this carefully: What does walking around knowing God is on your side look like?
Psalm 27:1 reads, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?”
In wrestling that confidence translates to everything from how you walk onto the mat to how you wrestle. It looks like getting to ‘your stuff’ and believing it’ll work.
For the believer, it is faith in the God who knows us and our sin and temptation, fear and evil, and still is for us. The Coach who will never leave our corner and guides us to victory in this life – even over death – because He won the victory on the Cross.
Key Point: Walk with confidence, and carry yourself well; you’ve got God on your side.
Confident Talking – “Can I brag on my my Lord?”
What comes to mind when you think of bragging?
Before we answer that, let’s refresh humility. We talked about in our previous post on winning with humility how ‘humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less’.
So how can you be confident and humble, let alone do so while bragging?
Apostle Paul gives us a great example of ‘humble bragging’ in 1 Corinthians 2:3-5. Addressing the Church at Corinth in a letter, Paul has a chance to use his status as an apostle to convince them that he is a big deal. He could talk about all the places he’s been and how God has given him authority, but instead does none of these.
He talks about his weaknesses and faults. Again throughout his letters, Paul points out his flaws and even calls himself the ‘chief of sinners’.
Not a great job of bragging by most standards, but what Paul is doing here is key: Rather than highlighting his strengths, he points out his weaknesses knowing that the weaker he reveals himself to be, the greater glory is given to The Lord.
Sometimes we see ourselves as people who just aren’t good enough. We compare ourselves to others and get caught up in the stats, the seeds, and the studs at our weight classes and take ourselves out way before we get in.
Despite their shortcomings and struggles, here are a few people who still did incredible things with the help of the Lord. Here is some Biblical perspective:
- Before God changed him on the Road to Damascus, Paul murder people (like a LOT). He would be used to save many more than he could ever count
- Moses had a speech impediment and was born into a group that was enslaved, yet would be used to lead his people out of slavery towards the Promised Land
- David, a shepherd and clear underdog pinned the giant Goliath with a rock and a slingshot
God can save the worst of the worst and use them to do big things. Don’t think for a moment your God is too small to use you and your weakness to do amazing things.
In a similar sense, as athletes and competitors, as workers and believers, students and teachers we should look at our weaknesses and faults as testimony and testament to the goodness and grace of God.
Remember that in a match ‘anyone can get it [a win]’ at any time.
So brag on, but not because you’re great in Him, but because He is great in you.
Key Point: He’s got the whole world in His hands, and that includes you and your weaknesses.
Confident Doing – Walk your talk
We’ve talked about what confidence looks like, but what happens when confidence goes too far?
While confidence is sure, proud, and even bold, it is also very aware of reality. You can say you’re a good competitor, or be confident in your ability to perform. You can believe in your ability, and you should believe.
When confidence, however, isn’t grounded in reality or is disillusioned it becomes arrogant, prideful, and smug.
It goes too far and becomes arrogance. It lessens the danger of the opponent and belittles a serious threat: a deadly combination of overestimating one’s own ability and underestimating the opponents.
Because we talked last about humility, we’re going to highlight one of many components of humble confidence in conjunction with belief: work.
James 2:18 says “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works.”
Anyone can say anything, but it doesn’t matter much until it’s backed up with action and good ole’ fashioned work.
James basically saying ‘your faith is less about what you say you believe, and is more what you do.’
You can talk big, but your belief is only truly clear when your actions follow it. The next verse brings this point home, saying “even the demons believe”.
Belief – while vitally important in faith and wrestling – simply isn’t enough on it’s own.
Even the demons believe; Even the enemy believes.
It takes work.
This doesn’t mean your salvation comes from your work, we know that isn’t it. It does mean you have such confidence and belief in Christ and His transformation in your life that it bleeds out into How you do what you do.
It means you don’t just say you’re going to be the best, and you certainly don’t stop at believing it, but continue to put the work in. The work keeps you honest, humble, and sharp.
Key Point: Let your actions follow your words, and stay grounded.
So what is confidence?
Confidence essentially means being sure of something. It is walking with your head high without it being full.
Confidence means you can walk with your head high, while humility keeps your nose from turning up at others. Confidence isn’t looking down on others, but holding yourself high.
Confidence as a believer isn’t about bragging on yourself or what you can do; it isn’t about what you’ve done or what you plan to do. It is and will forever be about giving the glory to the only One who deserves it. Giving all glory to the Father, pointing upwards always!
Walk with your head high because of the work you put in and the work you are doing; the consistency, effort, discipline it takes to reach new levels.
For the Christian wrestler, your confidence in Christ means you are confident in your place in eternity. It means you know who you were made by, knowing who you were made by, and knowing ultimately that all things are possible through Him. It means the wins and losses will fade away, but your Heavenly Father will not.
Being confident in the Father above makes us confident in other areas of our lives. Without Him we move through life like it was a dark room: nervous and afraid of what could happen. With Him shining in our lives we can see our purpose and know what it is to give Him glory, make His name great, and make disciples wherever and whenever we can.
- Kalann Washington
What do you think about confidence? What do you think confident Christian Athletes look like?
Bring this up with a friend or teammate this week!
Share this with someone who needs to hear it!