Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ms. Confidence. Ms. Poised.

This is the third week of the online bible study, Yes to God; studying the book "Behind Those Eyes," by Lisa Whittle. If you are not yet doing the study, and want to join in, click here. Even so, if you are wondering if you might be Ms. Confidence... read on....
Ms. Confidence. Lisa did a wonderful job of describing her:

"... But one thing's for sure, she [Ms. Confidence] definitely doesn't need me [her friend]. I don't really think she needs anyone, to tell you the truth."

"...it is not acceptable to show that we [Ms. Confidences] need someone when we are trying hard for people to see us as self-sufficient, strong, independent, and fearless. So we choose to portray a confident woman with it all together in order to save ourselves the pain that might come with people seeing our vulnerabilities."

and then she added another angle, by discussing the misconceptions about sexuality and confidence, which is so on target in this day of public display of just-about-anything:

"...Making decisions about your own body [and how to flaunt it] seems like the epitome of confidence. It has become a gender-empowering thing in our society to own our sexuality and form a kind of identity around doing what we want to do."

While I easily could have written a book on all the ways that I struggle as Ms. Perfection, Ms. Confidence - at least as described by Lisa above- is not really me. I know that some of my friends and family really struggle in this area - of opening up and letting others see their vulnerablity. While still struggling with a self-image of worth, I have not manifested it in this way. In fact, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and would tell you just about anything about my heart and soul and life...and, to boot, I would tell you (if it applied, of course!!) that I desperately need you and cannot live without you - ever, ever, ever. So, I was asking for a while into this chapter, do I have this Ms. Confidence struggle?

I do struggle, however, with the outward, worldly, works-way (as Lisa calls it: things-that-can-be-done) approach to my own confidence and worth. And this is where Lisa really got me! She writes:
"If a woman's confidence is dependent on her looks, what happens when she gets older and things begin to go south and wrinkle? If a woman achieves confidence in her job, then where does it go if she gets demoted or passed over for a promotion she has worked hard to get? If a woman obtains her confidence through the successes of her children, then what happens when her child goes down a destructive path...?"

Here, the lines between Ms. Perfection and Ms. Confidence blur. It is do, do, do, fix, fix, fix, perfect, perfect, perfect.... all the live-long-day. And both Ms.'s are guilty as charged.

So, according to the world, "Ms. Confidence is successfully confident as long as she wears her confident clothing, and performs to the best of her abilities."

Ding. ding. ding. we have a winner. I, definitely, resemble that comment! Maybe that is why it takes this Ms. Perfection so long to get out the door.... my confidence lies in, well... lies:

...Applying a beautiful and poised and perfect and confident mask before I walk out of the door...

sidenote: Here is where I get confused about Ms. Confidence. I will easily allow others to see that my soul is vulnerable. I don't hide my emotions. I share my life without reservation. BUT. I am very uncomfortable allowing others to see me without a confident face of makeup, perfect communication skills, put-together outfit, trim physique, and stunning home and family. Girls... that was a major TRUE CONFESSION. Lisa..., study friends..., help me out here? Is that still Ms. Confidence or just Ms. Perfection? What kind of Ms. Confidence is that? Maybe Ms. Poised?
So, if my perfection/confidence mask is a bunch of lies, what is truth? I LOVE THIS:

"We were not made to live in a completely self-reliant state, regardless of how empowering that sounds. After all, Jesus acknowledged our human weakness when he said, 'I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.' (John 15:5; emphasis [Lisa's])"

This, then is the truth! Guess I gotta shout this one:

Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

11 friends had a thing or two to say...:

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Great post, Darlene. I can relate to you on this. I struggled in the beginning of ready if I really have a problem with being Ms. Confidence.

I love your entire paragraph that starts with "I could have easily written a book..." I can so relate to you on those issues of having no problem open up and tell my soul to anyone.

I can also relate to you about having my hair and face made up before leaving the house. Of course, most of that has to do with the fact I struggle with adult acne...oh my did I say that on the web?!! I want the skinny--skinnier, by ten pounds, body and put together clothes...no going to Walmart in yard clothes.

Journey on,
Paula

Christy said...

Great post Darlene!

Lisa said...

Hi Darlene!
Thank you for asking for clarification...I'm sure the other girls will weigh in, but here's my thought on it.

You're right. Ms. Perfection and Ms. Confidence do have things in common. In fact, Ms. Perfection had to be introduced first because many of her characteristics weave throughout all the other characters that follow her! So...you're right on. But as you said, you see yourself in Ms. Perfection but not so much in Ms. Confidence. So...there are some differences. I truly believe there is a little of all these characters in all of us. But I also believe that some relate more to others because that is the particular "role" we've taken on in life the very most. I knew at least one of the characters would apply to every woman. They were picked out very specifically and prayerfully. But they all have at least one thing in common...MOTIVE.

Ms. Perfection wants you to think she has it all together, and in some ways, so does Ms. Confidence. You are obviously more able to share your feelings than others, which makes you feel like you don't relate to Ms. Confidence who tends to keep things inside more often and just hold it together. But the MOTIVE for both Ms. Perfection and Ms. Confidence is somewhat the same -- that she will present to others what she wants them to see and think about her. It is what all the characters do. And so...when someone comes into your home and it is beautiful like you like it, they see a woman confident in her home. When they see you with a beautiful body, they see you as a confident woman who loves that part of her. And if you have embraced who God made you to be and embraced who you are and like for your home to be beautiful but not to make others envy you or admire you for it, then it is likely your confidence comes from living out your soul purpose and gifts and talents. It's not confidence that is the thing that makes/breaks this character. It's her lack thereof, really, and her desire for people to see her as that so she doesn't have to be vulnerable. It's an act of pretense, not a true confidence as described in the last half of the book.

Does that make sense?

The truth is, Darlene, though we don't all struggle with every character on an even playing field (I don't even relate to all of them the same), there are times for all of us that we put on confidence when we are not. But if the thing you take away from this chapter is to see others who do struggle with this with new eyes of grace, it was an introduction well worth making. :)

Thank you for your comments and for your rich insight. I love hearing your feedback. Hope this helped!

Lisa :)

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Great post Darlene. For me, both Ms. Perfectionist and Ms. Confidence are twin sisters that have taken residence in my heart.........yet I'm so thankful for this book as I truly finding healing.......

I truly appreciate your open, honest heart.

Christine Lynn said...

What a great study this is! In a way I am cheating, you do all the reading, studying and the digesting of it and then you explaining it all here...lol I love it..yeah I am lazy! I guess I'd never thought of the Ms. Perfection and Ms. Confidence analogy before. I guess to a degree we do set things up for others to see differently than it really is. I'd never really thought about it that way. I have always felt that I do things for me more than I really do for others. I mean I like doing for others but I have never felt the need to look or do things a certain way to please others. I really don't see myself nor ever have seen myself trying to please others, I get that it just can't be done. But now I wonder if that is MS confidence!...lol Now that I have totally confused myself....lol
Once a gain thanks for the post, it always makes me think... =O)

Caroline said...

Always getting me to think! :-)
Proud of you.

Carol said...

Darlene, first I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who could have written a book on Ms. Perfection, and I too felt the blur or the intertwine of the two.

I struggle with the Perfect Package, and it's deffinately had that intertwined in my Ms. Confidnece.

Thank you for your insight, and your question. I'm enjoying this study and learning from all of the ladies.

Connie said...

I enjoyed your post and your questions. Thanks to Lisa for a better explanation of Ms. Perfection and Ms. Confidence. I'm enjoying everyone's different perspectives. Connie

Angel said...

Thank you so much for that precious comment. I am all teary from reading it. Trusting God with our babies is not easy. I wasn't sure why I felt so compelled to spill my guts on this very sensitive issue... guess I know one reason why now. I am so glad it helped you not feel alone in your struggle. Hugs to you! Angel

LynnSC said...

Hi Darlene,
What a great heartfelt post.

I am so glad that you wrote this...

" Is that still Ms. Confidence or just Ms. Perfection? What kind of Ms. Confidence is that? Maybe Ms. Poised? So, if my perfection/confidence mask is a bunch of lies, what is truth?"

I think that I am going to struggle next week with Ms. Happiness. I think of myself as more of a Ms. Contentment.

We will see. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us.
Lynn

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

I started this chapter with the thought that confidence was not something I carried well. Lisa turned it around with the vulnerability issue and boy is it working on me. I'm a keeper of my soul-I don't wear my heart on my sleeve and wish I did. Working on really releasing thses things to God. It has been encouraging to be here tonight.

In His Graces~Pamela