One of my favorite people on the planet suffers from a confidence deficit.
We have many mutual friends, and everyone in her path finds her talented, articulate, dedicated, focused and faithful. This friend is lovely inside and out, and she seems to be the only person who disagrees.
She’s in a near-constant state of doubt about her real value. “Am I a failure? Am I good enough? Smart enough? Am I trying hard enough? Giving up too easily? Am I being kind? Generous? Am I reading the Bible enough? Serving enough? Praying enough?”
The doubts spread and multiply like a dangerous virus. Oh, if only she knew.
She’s a force!
Plus, she holds untapped potential to be even greater!
During one recent exchange, my mind ignited an idea that I’m pretty sure I didn’t plant there. In a flash, I realized that we’d had it wrong all along.
My self-doubting friend shouldn’t worry about our opinions, but about what God thinks. Doesn’t He know the goodness in each of us and how much potential we possess?
Then, with this theme, I posed a few leading questions.
“Do you believe God is your Creator?”
“Your literal Father in heaven?”
“Is He perfect?”
“Does He love you?”
Her humble smile and the gathering tears answered for her.
“All right. So He’s our Creator, our Father, He’s perfect and He loves us. If that’s all true, then would any of us be built for failure?”
She shook her head.
“Well then,” I said. “It’s time to ‘shrink the gap’ between who you think you are, and who God thinks you are. No, we’re not perfect, but He doesn’t make mistakes. We are divine creations with divine potential.”
I reminded her that we are all unique with different talents, strengths and weaknesses, but we all have one thing in common.
No one ever has been predestined for failure. We are built for success.
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been there, too.
We all have. It’s natural. We doubt. We question. We cry out for a reminder that we’re not alone.
We each have days when we wake up and wonder if our prayers are powerful enough to reach the all-powerful.
I think you and I, and my friend, plus your neighbor, plus your neighbor’s neighbor, all suffer from a flexible confidence gap that constantly expands and shrinks between our self-imposed limits and the eternal potentials of heaven. But if God’s power is limitless, and if all of our talents, gifts and abilities come from Him, then aren’t they also limitless?
Consider that. You are unique, so is my friend, and she is talented in many ways. So are you. Those gifts come from an infinite Creator who knows us intimately, even how many hairs are on our heads.
We’re flawed, selfish, impatient and prone to repeat mistakes. No, we’re not perfect, but our Father is. And that’s the miracle that matters most!
Of course we must remain deferential, humble and attribute all our success to Him. But we also should never, ever doubt His best work. (That’s you!)
I sure hope my friend is listening, but by now I understand that it’s not just about her. It’s about all of us. May we all recognize that none of us are meant for failure, because we’re all meant for Him.
Let’s shrink the gap.
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times bestselling author, columnist and speaker. His newest book is “A Letter to Mary: The Savior's Loving Letter to His Mother” . Subscribe to his weekly columns.