Where does your confidence lie?

Confidence

It had been a very long day. It was supposed to be my off day full of rest, relaxation, and productivity, but it had been hectic from start to finish.

My day from start to finish

  1. I’m in season so I barely have time to do homework.
  2. This was the third day I had been without my car.
  3. I had to walk 20 minutes to class in the pouring rain.
  4. Most of my homework was incomplete.
  5. The classes I wanted to register for were full with no wait list.
  6. I had to spend my down time going to teachers’ office hours and begging to be enrolled in their classes… none of them could help me.
  7. I filmed as the sports anchor for our campus news show and was terrible. I struggled mightily to read the teleprompter.
  8. I had to walk 25 minutes home from the library at night.

As you can see my day was a lot less than perfect. At the end of the day I noticed a missed call from my mom so I called her back. From there I began to explain my awful day, but her responses were not enough. I don’t know what I was looking for her to say. I’m not sure if anything she would have said would have sufficed at the time. Regardless, whatever she was saying wasn’t enough.

I feel that often times a lot of what people say is not enough for me anymore. People will give advice for my situation, but yet my problems are never resolved and my frustrations grow. Why does this happen?

For me, this happens because sometimes I find myself putting my confidence in flesh rather than the Lord. Recently, I learned a hard lesson. Even my mother is flesh.

That day I was looking to my mother to solve all my problems, show sympathy, etc, and she couldn’t. Even if she did it probably would not have been enough for me. But God’s grace and love is.

Fortunately, God surrounds us with good support systems. The friends you have, the family members that always support you are all gifts from God, but that should not be the reason you do not seek Him in your times of trouble.

“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more.” – Philippians 3:4

God stated it there. Why have confidence in flesh when you can put your confidence in who made the flesh. This is not to say that I am not thankful for my mom and how she listened to me that day, but I learned that I cannot look to people to fix and understand my problems. In this world everyone is going through something, but the only way to find peace in your situations is to seek the Lord not man.

 

Identity: Who Are You? Whose Are You?

Identity

What is your identity? If you were to ask me this question I really don’t think I could give you a straight answer. I think it’s because I am changing every day, but also because identity can mean many things and can be found in many things

How my mom views me, is different than how my dad views me, which is different from how my friends view me, and how my classmates and teammates view me…. you get the point. But with all of these different, sometimes opposing visions of myself, its hard to figure out who I actually am in the midst of everyone’s opinions.

I have absolutely no scientific proof behind this, so take it for what you want, but I feel that we, as humans, are very easily swayed. Just consider social norms for example, and what we consider to be right or wrong. When you were born you didn’t know all of these things, you were taught these things by society. For example, your identity is socially constructed.

I feel like I’m turning into a mix between a sociology professor and counselor, but just stick with me. We are ultimately a product of our environment. We would like to believe that what we like and dislike are unique to us, but that’s not true. We are easily swayed and that includes our identity.

With that being said, I would love to be seen as a funny, kind, brilliant, athletic, the list goes on, and to some I am exactly that, to others I am probably nothing close. Now it would be easy to say that despite everyone’s views of me, I have a solid and unchanging view of myself. I would be lying.

Often I am swayed by the thoughts and expectations that others have of me, just like everyone else. If someone thinks I am smart, and I take pride in their opinions and value their view of me, I tend to want to do well in school and be well spoken.

It just so happened that I genuinely value my education more than words can express, and I happen to be well spoken as well, but it doesn’t always end up that way.

Sometimes I get caught up in the opinions of others that do not match up with mine and have a negative effect on the outlook I have on myself. For example, for the amount of time I put into basketball, I would love to believe I am pretty good. Some beg to differ.

While I am not the best women’s basketball player to step foot on the court, I feel that not acknowledging my talent at all is unfair. Yet, all too often I find myself listening to the few whose opinions of me are less than exceptional and after a while I start to believe them. That is with anything, basketball, school, friendships… anything.

It really stinks and is the leading cause of instability in my life. Think about it, when you are constantly second guessing your abilities, and ultimately your identity, because of how other people view you, it is no surprise that you will live an inconsistent lifestyle.

So where can you find consistency you ask?

Well, I’m not the best at this. Often, no matter how hard I try, I find myself prioritizing the wrong things. Looking for affirmation in all the wrong places, and feeling empty as I struggle to find a balance between who I am and who other people think I am. What helps me is to remember whose I am.

Yes, I am Sydney Umeri, the student-athlete, daughter, sister, journalist, aspiring sports broadcaster and entrepreneur, but most importantly, I am a child of God.

Too often I find myself straying from God, only to come back on my knees begging for his love and forgiveness. Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. – Philippians 3:1

Too often I forget just how wonderful He is and how He has a plan for me. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Too often I forget that his timing and vision for me is perfect and better than anything I could plan for myself. Too often I forget that I am His and that my most stable identity is in Him. He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. – Acts 1:7

So If you are wondering how to gain a better sense of your identity in a worldly way, I do not have much advice for you. I have failed at it myself. But if you are wondering how to gain a better sense of your identity in a spiritual way, I would say know whose you are and that will make all the difference.