If I had to name one thing I don’t want my daughters to struggle with, I’d have to say confidence.
This is why it’s so hard for me to see my daughters doubt themselves or question their abilities.
I distinctly remember the first time I witnessed real self-doubt in my child. It descended upon my oldest daughter unexpectedly, and I felt helpless trying to stop it.
She was in third grade and learning her multiplication facts. Every day after school, she practiced timed tests on the computer and dissolved into tears when she failed to beat the buzzer.
After a week of discouraging lows, I noticed a change in my daughter. My once confident girl seemed to shrink before my eyes as she lost faith in herself and her intelligence.
The worst part was hearing her self-assessment. It broke my heart in two.
“I’m so stupid.”
“I’ll never get this.”
“That’s it. I’m quitting.”
“I’m an idiot. I hate school.”
She’d pegged herself wrong, of course, but nothing I said could convince her of that. Even her history as a great student became irrelevant in her mind. This challenge in math stumped her, and it was messing with her confidence in unprecedented ways.
It took time and lots of practice, but my daughter worked through the issue. She eventually learned her equations with speed and efficiency. With each step of progress she made, her confidence grew. And what I grew to learn myself was how little control I have in saving my child from a struggle.
This was (and still is) painful to accept. As a mom, I want to kick self-doubt to the curb. I want to believe that lots of love, affirmation, and encouragement will armor my four daughters with bulletproof confidence.
But the truth is, my influence has limits. I can praise my daughters all day, but how they feel about themselves and their potential is ultimately a matter that only their Creator can help them settle.
The good news is, He loves them more than I do. He sees the future and knows what they need today to be ready for tomorrow. While I want to rescue my kids immediately from uncomfortable situations and emotions, God sees the bigger picture. He understands how letting them wrestle with adversity and self-doubt can 1) draw my daughters to Him, 2) build character, and 3) cultivate the right kind of confidence.
If life were always easy, and my kids excelled in everything, they’d probably develop an arrogant confidence. They might take full credit for their gifts and success. But when they see their weak points, they recognize their need for God. They can receive His grace and let His power work through them since God’s power works best in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
This leads to humble confidence. This can help my daughters see God as the bigger force at work and credit Him for anything they accomplish or overcome.
I want humble confidence for my daughters, but I wish there was a shortcut. I wish I didn’t have to watch them get knocked to their knees and pray they’ll make it back up. It toils my heart to see them struggle, but I find peace in God’s promises.
This verse is my anthem in trusting God when my girls face adversity:
“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” – Psalm 46:5 (NIV)
God has carried my daughters through obstacles in His perfect timing. The breakthroughs always seem to come when a breakthrough is needed most. And while I don’t enjoy watching my girls hit road blocks or mental blocks, I do love seeing the confidence they gain when perseverance pays off and they emerge stronger on the other side.
It’s natural for my daughters to doubt themselves, but I pray they never doubt God. God is working in them and for them, and with His help, they can cultivate a confidence rooted deeply in Him that enables them to serve their mission to positively impact the world.
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of my daughter. Thank You for allowing me to raise her, know her, and witness Your work in her life. Help me trust You in seasons of doubt. Give me faith that conquers all fear. Fill my daughter with Your peace and security, and grant me the wisdom to make choices that point to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Truth for today:
- Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)
Related resources: If you’d like to build your daughter’s confidence through God, you’ll appreciate Kari’s new book for teen and tween girls Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?. Filled with relevant insights, Biblical truths, and thought-provoking questions, it empowers girls through faith.
Reflect and respond: What challenge have you watched your daughter overcome, and what did you learn about God, your daughter, and yourself in the process?
© 2016 by Kari Kampakis. All rights reserved.