I love that confidence comes not in spite of our weaknesses, but because of them. The great gift that we are all still learning to receive is the depth and breadth of God’s love. When we begin to get more comfortable living through the weak places rather than covering them up or diligently trying to fix them, we begin to grow in confidence that God really does meet us there. We begin to understand that real change comes when we “turn our eyes on Jesus” and not our desire for Him to make us better people.
This is a true shift in our focus. How easily we believe in our own wretchedness. He wants to believe more fully in His love. But how do we make this shift? How do we ingest God’s love more deeply?
Here’s where ordinary life is a great help to us. Brother Lawrence taught us through his writing that cultivating the awareness of God’s presence with us can happen even while we peel potatoes. He’s with us because He loves us. He’s always clearing the way in front of us, mopping up behind us, working protection, mercy and grace all around us. Over and over in the Psalms you read this phrase, “I call to mind that…” It’s really the same thing as saying, “I keep turning my inward eyes on Jesus.” As we keep looking to Him, acknowledging Him, affirming our love for Him and His love for us even when circumstances contradict that love, something begins to happen inside us. Jesus starts to become more the point. We begin to care less about whether we succeeded or failed. We begin to relax knowing that for Jesus, it is enough we are trying to please Him. We begin to realize there is no failure when we are giving ourselves to love God…even if it doesn’t look the way we wanted it to.
This gaze at Christ, this continual turning of our gaze on Him rather than all the bits of self that need to be remade, this gaze is the path of confidence. It takes us off ourselves and makes use of everything—strength and weakness, dryness, inhibited love and embraces the truth that “He is satisfied with a look, a sigh of love” (Collected Letters, pg. 241).
Oh, to have the confidence to live fearlessly without worry about what we don’t have or who we are not. Oh, to rest, deeply and with great wonder, in His love.
ACTION: How might you cultivate rhythms of “turning your eyes on Jesus”? What might get in the way of that? How does confidence look on you?