My guess is that I am not alone. In a society of self esteem and a leadership culture which compels us to dream big and achieve bigger, there are more than a few who feel out of step. So they try to conjure up confidence. They join the pep rally and chant that they can do anything they put their mind to. Some reach their goals. Some fall short and become even more affirmed of their limited capacity. So is it hit and miss? Is self assurance something that fits some and looks too big on others? Can you teach boldness? Should we expect our kids to overflow with daring and dash? I offer a substitute.
Self confidence may help life and leadership - but it is not essential. Faith is. God does not need us to maintain a "can-do" attitude. Frankly the Scriptures suggest that there is little that we can do on our own. When Jesus said, "Without Me you can do nothing'," did He bruise the disciples' ego? Rather than inflating their self esteem, He commanded them to abide in Him. He reminds all of us that life comes from the Vine not the branches. Some branches may be more adventurous than others. Some shoots may prefer shade over sunlight. But no matter - God is the source of life and in Him we thrive.
Faith is not opposed to self confidence, but it does point in a different direction. Faith isn't consumed by personal ability, capacity, track record, giftedness or ambition's reach. Abraham didn't leave his home because he had a great dream. Jacob got most of his self confidence wrestled from him. Isaac was chased from well to well until God made space for him. God was not ashamed to be called their God. There is no shame in living our lives after their pattern. So I no longer worry about my self esteem. I dismiss the leadership portraits which list self confidence as the first essential. I've come to the place where I stopped asking for self assurance and simply say, "Lord, increase my faith."