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Secrets of Confident Women

Pam Farrel

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From the book: Woman of Confidence: Step Into God's Adventure for Your Life

Confidence Killers
For the past ten years I have been surveying women from the audiences I have spoken to. One of the questions I ask is this: "What holds you back from saying, 'I will take on that cause, that ministry, that opportunity, or that person and mentor her'? What holds you back?"

In every audience I always get the exact same response -- every time, on every continent, in every country, and in every city. The common denominator women of all cultures, ethnicities, and ages share is the very thing that holds us all back: fear.

Fear of failure
Fear of success
Fear of what others think
Fear of feeling inadequate for the task
Fear of criticism
Fear of not feeling smart enough, thin enough, young enough, mature enough

It's all based on fear. The reason most of us are not living out our adventure is fear.

Am I Losing It Here?
During the two years I was researching this book, I took an inventory of "confidence killers" by asking two simple questions of those in my audiences and in my daily world:

What stops you in your tracks or sucks the confidence right out of you?

What do you do to rebuild it?

The women who answered these questions ranged from the average woman who may never describe herself as confident to bold leaders who were accustomed to taking risks. I was impressed they were willing to pull back the curtain to their hearts and share their underlying fears. The easiest way to categorize these fears is to picture what women are afraid of losing. Here in ascending order (from least frequent to most frequent) are the confidence killers I uncovered:

Loss of salvation: Fears that a spouse, a child, a parent, a loved one, or we ourselves will choose not to acknowledge or embrace God or faith.

Loss of health: Fear of aging and illness - given how infrequently this was mentioned, not many fear loss of health until it actually happens.

Loss of security: Fears of losing our money, our home, which is our comfort zone.

Loss of control: Fear of the future -- fear that life was too busy, too big, or too complicated to handle with the skills or resources we believe we have (or don't have).

Loss of relationship with God: This one surprised me because I speak to audiences filled with women who claim to walk with God. Yet many have a hidden fear of disappointing that same God. These women carry a belief God would never leave them, but they wrestle with the fear that if they really are as inadequate and imperfect as they feel, God will bail on them. This is a fragile faith and a fractured foundation, which I hope this book will help fix.

Loss of a spouse: Those of us who are married simply cannot picture our lives apart from our husbands. This is actually not all bad. I love Bill so much that I feel we are truly one. We finish each other's sentences. We think as one many times. When we do presentations we can select, without talking it over, what to cut and know the other would make the same choice. We are so one it's as if our names are BillandPamFarrel.

However, reality forces us as women to face down this fear because most women will outlive their mates. Equal numbers of women named the fear of loss of spouse by divorce, not just loss by death. Many women voiced fears their husbands would find someone younger, sexier, smarter, richer, or simply more available.

Loss of community: Fears of being alone, rejected, ignored, or friendless.

Loss of a child: By nature we believe our kids should bury us, not the other way around. Surprisingly, many women also express the fear of losing a child to rebellion. Many asked me to pray for a prodigal child, often a teen caught in an immoral lifestyle or trapped by drugs or alcohol.

Loss of status: Overwhelmingly (three to one), the most common fear included anything that made us look bad in public. Loss of reputation, loss of status, or things that might cause us public humiliation topped the list of fears. In days past, if an error in judgment happened, we might have to face wagging fingers in our hometown, but there was the hope we might be able to move away and get a fresh start. In a world linked by the Internet, there are not many places left to hide from our humanity. To err is human, to erase from the hard drive is divine.

To move on from the fear of loss, we need to learn to voice our hopes and dreams, and then frame up the steps to move into the adventure.

Speak It
So what is your dream? What are your hopes for the future? What is the adventure you secretly hope God has in store for you?

An adventure can be any hope, dream, passion, calling, or wish that God has laid on your heart and planted in your soul. It can be a calling from any realm of life: business, ministry, social justice, or personal growth so you can become a difference maker. It might possibly be a relationship goal. An adventure is an exciting or extraordinary event or series of events and an undertaking involving uncertainty and risk. You won't know the details of the adventure; that's what makes it an adventure. Just paint it with bold brush strokes, and let God fill in the rest as you journey together.

Furthermore, you might have more than one adventure on your heart. What is burning in your soul today? Take the first step and say what it is. Say it again out loud. Name it. Speak it, girlfriend. Then write down who you want to be in five to ten years; describe the woman you'd like to become.

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