Is Self-Confidence Over Rated?

What do Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah have in common? Did you know that all of these mighty men of faith struggled with self-doubt when God commissioned them? If success depended on self-confidence, these men would have failed. Self-confidence feels good, but is it over-rated?

What do we do when we find ourselves drowning in a pool of inadequacy?

Ask for help:

Challenges don’t have to be momentous to bring out our weaknesses. I rode to a party with someone who said she was directionally challenged. “My friend told me to learn to trust myself and to quit relying on my GPS,” she said. Her friend, no doubt, had a natural sense of direction. After it was past the time we should have arrived, she called someone to check her course. She discovered we were headed in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go. I was glad to know I’m not the only one who does that!

Paul, writing in regard to spiritual gifts, said: “3Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment… We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:3, 6, NIV).

I believe this applies to natural abilities as well. It’s smart to get help in areas where we are weak. God sent Aaron to help Moses. Trusting in ourselves does not bring God’s kind of success. We must rely on God, even when we’re operating in our strengths.


Preparation does not negate faith. “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31, NASB).

When we have an overwhelming task before us, preparation adds competence. A daily walk with God prepares us for unexpected challenges. We learn to recognize His voice, and we store up wisdom. Daily learning and practice prepares us for the bigger challenges in life.

Maybe your problem has caught you unprepared. You’re lacking confidence in parenting your child through a tough year of school, or starting a new career, or leading a team of opinionated people. Look for ways to prepare yourself now for the ongoing challenge. Read a book. Take a course. Rehearse your proposal. Gideon prepared for war by following God’s pre-battle instructions. We prepare the best we can and rely on God for the victory.

Be Courageous:

Courage trumps self-confidence. When we know what we must do, we’ve asked for help, and we’ve prepared the best we can, we may still feel inadequate. That’s okay. God tells us to be courageous, not self-confident (Joshua 1:9).

I listened to a dear woman share her story of overcoming childhood abuse. Her vulnerability touched our group. Afterwards, she said she wanted to minister to women, but lacked the confidence. Yet she’d just demonstrated great courage which I knew had pleased God and blessed us. Her courage, not her confidence, would make her dream come true. Jeremiah’s reverential fear of God gave him the courage to overcome his sense of inadequacy and fear of people.

Are you feeling inadequate for a role? Maybe, like Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah, you’ve just stepped into a bigger story. Lack of self-confidence reminds us we need God and others. It motivates us to prepare and to step out in courage. With Christ, we can do it (Philippians 4:13).

What helps you overcome lack of confidence? Click here to share your thoughts.


Debbie Wilson

Debbie W. Wilson

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Summer Study 2014: Little Women—Big God, by Debbie Wilson

The surprising women in Jesus’ family tree prove quality of life is not determined by the size of our problems but by the size of our God. These women had little clout or resources to face their overwhelming challenges, but they had a great God.

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Photos by: DonkeyHotey and Calsidyrose

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  1. Ann Musico

    Deb that really speaks to me – I love that you distinguished between confidence and courage. I think that’s a huge thing and one that I hadn’t thought about in exactly that way. Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. I love how the Bible shows the weaknesses of its heroes. It’s good to know we can choose to be courageous even when we feel inadequate or afraid.

  2. Ann Musico

    Great post Deb and that was a very powerful interview Jen did. Like you, I’ve also found that more often than not my internal warning system was right about a person or situation. I believe God gives us those promptings for just that reason – to protect ourselves from needless danger. It’s too bad that we as Christians and especially women feel we should trust everyone. While I try to believe the best of people, I also pay attention to any spiritual flashing lights. Even when they are just triggers from past experiences – it’s always best to heed the warnings.

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