On the first day of my last semester of nursing school, I put on some makeup as part of my morning routine. Today it felt more important than other days. I joked with my husband that I was putting on my game face. As I put on my foundation I started thinking about why I felt it so necessary to put on makeup today. Certainly many of my classmates had never seen me with makeup on or even noticed. The teachers know me so it’s not like I need to look extra special for them. In fact, I hardly ever wore makeup to class on non-test days.
I started dressing nicer and wearing makeup on test days because I had read a study that said that people who go into a test more confident tend to pick better answers regardless of their knowledge of the subject. Doing a superhero pose in the bathroom and affirming who I am in Christ had become part of my pre-test ritual. It’s nursing school, I will take any advantage I can. My test scores did improve when I went into a test feeling confident. The days I skipped this and hung out with my friends who were freaking out, I didn’t do as well.
So back to standing in front of my mirror on my last first day….
I realized that I was putting on my makeup as war paint. I had grown over the summer with God and made some tough calls on who I was going to be in this last 4 months of school. I decided that I could no longer enable people by being excessively helpful. I decided that negative influences needed to be avoided and that people who speak life into me would be the ones I surrounded myself with. I was putting on a front of confidence so I would stick with this plan. And because I am a small group leader, I immediately made a note of this and thought about what sort of fronts we put up to protect ourselves or protect our image.
I pretty regularly put on the “good parent” mask, the “got it all together and totally is a real adult” mask, the “financially responsible adult” mask, the “not freaking out about stuff” mask, etc. I had done this for years. I had taken fake it til you make it to an extreme. I was afraid of doing things I could not be confident in my ability to do. I had let an image of perfection petrify me. I hated what I looked like, because try as I might, I could not hide my overweight body from the world.
God had worked out in me over the last year that I was not building false confidence and putting up a facade of someone I wasn’t when I stood alone in the bathroom telling myself what His word said about me. I AM the righteousness of God in Christ. I AM the head and not the tail. I AM above and not beneath. I AM the daughter of the Most High! I AM blessed going in and blessed going out. I HAVE the mind of Christ. I HAVE peace that passes all understanding. I HAVE NO LACK for my God supplies all my needs according to HIS riches in glory. I could go on and on. God loves me and I AM made for more than these struggles. If I know who I am, I don’t need those masks. I don’t have to hide my flaws because God can work them for good.
God impressed on me as I finished putting on my make up that I needed to put on a few more things. I had to clothe myself with the presence of Jesus. (Romans 13:14). I can’t allow myself to get sucked into the pettiness and vanity of this world. I had to put on the full armor of God. I had to put on the belt of truth, the breast plate of righteousness, and on my feet I need to stand firm in the peace that comes from the Good News. I had to grab that shield of Faith and raise the sword of the spirit. (Ephesians 6:10-18) I had to open my bible and spend some time with God to prepare myself properly.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I am covered in the full armor so I don’t have to try anymore. I have to be a good steward. I have to try to do all things with excellence. (Colossians 3:23-24/Ephesians 6:7) I know who I am and with that knowledge comes a responsibility to act like it. I am confident in who I am. I am confident that I am able. Paul wrote to the Philippians that he is confident that God, the one who started good works in them will perfect it until the day of Jesus return. (Philippians 1:6) I am confident that God has started me on this path and will see me through it. The Lord will be my confidence and will keep me from stumbling. (Proverbs 3:26)
God doesn’t take us to one understanding and leave us there. He takes us from glory to glory, from revelation to revelation. In doing this we engage into a deeper relationship with Him. Know who you are. Be his daughter or son. Be confident in that. There will be tests, there will be trials.(John 16:33) Studies show that people who are confident going into those tests will make better choices despite their lack of knowledge. If your confidence is in Him and who you are in Him and you listen to His voice, he can guide you through these trials. (Joshua 1:9)
You can chose to be afraid, to get swept up in the freak out and lament how things are going… OR You can be confident in who you are in Christ and LET GOD BE GOD. YOU HAVE the peace that passes all understanding.
“How can you not be freaking out about your clinical schedule?” – a classmate regarding the mess that is signing up for clinicals.
What I have to remember to keep my peace: I am the head and not the tail, I am above and not beneath, I am blessed going in and blessed going out. I am a highly favored daughter of the Most High King.
“You look like you have your hands full.” – A stranger in the grocery store as I am trying to shop and keep my three kids in line.
What I have to remember to keep my peace: My heart is full too, because my children are a blessing and God has chosen to anoint me to be their mother. God gives provision with anointing and I am equipped to be a good mom.
God has a plan for you and it is good. Be confident in HIM.
For reference, below is a link to a list of things you are/have in Christ and scriptures to go with it. I like to have these available to me when the enemy tries to cut me down.