Confidence was the theme of this week for summer camps. We talked with the kids about what it means and why it matters.

One of our kids came to the middle after practicing hard on the warped wall. When we asked what confidence means he answered, “Believing that I will get up that wall.”

I told him and the other kids, “Even though that’s partly correct, it’s not always believing that you’ll win or attain something. Confidence is believing that you’ll attack that wall with every ounce of energy, effort, and perseverance that you can muster up. And in the end, you may not get the wall when you want it. It may take time and it’s all on God’s time. But believing that you’ll give it everything you’ve got, with whatever you’ve been given, at any given time, is confidence.”

Confidence Doesn’t Always Come Naturally

Some people were born way more confident than others. Others have to dig deep to find it. I think adults can do a better job of instilling confidence in all children by coaching realism not just optimism. In regards to performance, it’s ok to say, “I don’t know if I’ll win.” “We’ll see if I win.” “I’ll try to win.” You don’t have to say, “I’m gonna win,” because you honestly don’t know that.

How many times have you thought you were going to dominate something but then the total opposite happened and you lost? Or how many times did you surprise yourself with achieving something you never thought was imaginable? I’ve been in both situations. That’s why I’ve learned to humble myself and rest on the fact that I’m not going to even try to predict the results or the outcome. God already knows it. All I can do is prepare, attack, and do my part. God does the rest.

Confidence Grows From Experience

Like training your muscles, you can train your confidence. When I step to the start line of a 5k now, I can honestly say there’s not an ounce of nerves. No thoughts pop into my head except for these—you put in the training, there’s nothing else you can do, get ready to go and see what happens!

But when I think back to my first 5k ever, I remember being a nervous wreck! I was so nervous I was trying to come up with every excuse I could to walk out of that crowd.

All of my 5k experiences since then are what built my confidence. I finally “get it.” I know the drill. I know the routine. I know what’s going to happen—you just run and you’ll see what happens!

The same will happen for you when you stop saying no and just get to that start line. Believing doesn’t always happen until action does. Whether you are certain you can do something or not, force yourself into action and through the experience(s) the self-belief will come.

Ultimate Confidence Comes From God

Remember when you didn’t get that job you wanted? Or think back when you didn’t get selected for that position or team? How did you feel when you got dumped by that girlfriend or boyfriend you liked so much?

The belief from within may grow when you win, but what happens when you lose? Self-defeating thoughts take over and it takes everything in you to fight those negative emotions away.

That’s why I say ultimate confidence comes from God. When you know that God’s opinion is the only one that matters, you don’t care what yourself or others think. Who cares what you look like when you fall or mess up or take your hits. You know God loves you no matter what, and there’s no mistake too big that could ever take that away.

Plus, even though you have to take responsibility in your life and do your part. He’s the architect of your days and has the final say.

As Psalm 139:16 states:

“You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.”

The scripture of the week for our summer camps is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Not “You can win all things.”

But you can do it.

You can endure it.

You can put in the effort.

You can do your part.

Is there a wall that you’ve been shying away from? I encourage you to go up to it. Face it head on. Believe that you’ll attack it with every ounce of energy, effort, and perseverance that you can muster up.

Then go for it and confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

It may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.