It is easy to tell someone else what they should do in the finest detail. But do you practice what you preach? You need courage to practice what you preach.
There is a saying that says: “Talk is cheap, money buys the whiskey.” Our post today has nothing to do with whether you drink any whiskey or not, but the saying is somewhat relevant to the topic of discussion.
For those who may not be familiar with the saying; it is normally used when someone is quick to brag about their own abilities and what they can or will do in certain situations. Such people are often also quick to hand out advice to other people regarding what they should or shouldn’t do. Yet, we hardly ever witness when these people do as they say in their own lives.
The flip side of the coin can also be true. We might be quick to say about someone else…”yes….talk is cheap, money buys the whiskey”, but….don’t we sometimes do the same?
Practice What You Preach
How often do we find ourselves telling other people to have faith? We mean well and our intentions are good as we try to give encouragement. We know exactly what the other person should be doing and we really believe that they do have the ability.
When that person gets nervous and hesitate to follow your advice though, you tend to get impatient. You cannot understand how a person with his / her abilities can doubt themselves. “You can’t help someone unless they want to be helped”, you say.
Yes, it is true; you can only help someone when they want to be helped. For anybody to receive help, they have to be willing to co-operate. But taking that attitude can also be treading on dangerous ground. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a moment.
Think back to the last time when you were facing a real scary challenge. Did you just act instantly on any advice you received? Did you never hesitate? Or did you also doubt yourself at times? You heard what everybody was telling you, but how confident were you in your own abilities?
It’s Different When It is Your Personal Challenge or Problem
Think about it for moment. When there is a real big, risky challenge at work, the person who gets appointed to deal with it, often becomes somewhat nervous.
It is easy to give encouragement and support to him / her, but would you be keen to take the lead? Would you be willing to take responsibility if things go wrong, if it doesn’t work out as planned? Would you just charge in without a moment of hesitation?
Even when you get a promotion and you suddenly have to face more responsibilities, are you never nervous until you’ve been at it for a while? It doesn’t matter how much encouragement you receive from others, you often tend to doubt yourself in the beginning. Why?
While you could dish out the advice to someone else, you knew exactly what had to be done. There was no doubt whatsoever, no hesitation. What has changed?
We know what should be done and we have the fullest confidence in someone else’s abilities to do something. But when it hits home, when we feel it on our own skin, it becomes a different story. It’s nice and easy to tell someone else how they can do something, or how it should be done. But that is while you still find yourself within your own comfort-zone. The moment we get taken out of our own comfort-zone, things change.
I love how Vincent Egoro illustrates this in his blog post This Is Why You Seem Stuck.
What Makes Your Own Challenges Any Different?
Why is it so that we know what to do when someone else is facing an obstacle, yet when it hits home we start doubting ourselves?
In my opinion I think to a large extent it’s because the majority of us fear failure. When someone else experience failure, we can encourage them and tell them it’s not the end of the world. We can tell them to not give up, to pick up the pieces and start again. But it doesn’t affect us personally.
Yet, we start getting second thoughts when it comes our way. We start shivering at the mere thought of just the possibility of failure. We love the wins and the successes. We want to look good. But we fear what other people might say or think of us if we fail. We fear feeling humiliated and cannot face the risk of possible of failure.
But do you immediately think bad of someone else when they meet with failure? No, you’re quick to encourage them and ensure them of your support. Well…..they just might have the same intentions when you have to face failure. We cannot always win. We cannot enjoy success with one project after another without any failures along the way.
But why do you get so pre-occupied with failure? Why would you fail in the first place? Secondly, who said anybody is going to think badly of you even if you do fail? And lastly; in the unlikely event of actual failure, you will most likely receive encouragement from other people to not give up until you make it.
Even if you really do fail at what you need to do, most people will stop talking about it within a day or two and just carry on with life as normal anyhow. We are normally the ones who make the biggest ordeals about our own failures or mistakes anyway. For some reason we end up tormenting ourselves for days or even weeks on end, while other people aren’t even aware of our ‘embarrassment’ or ‘humiliation’.
Do You Believe or Do You Have Faith?
Is it possible to develop such self-confidence that you don’t stand back for any challenge? No matter how big the challenge or what the problem is….”bring it on”, you say. Wouldn’t it be nice to be absolutely fearless in this way?
As Christians we often feel we should be fearless. We should have faith. As long as we have faith, we should be able to face the biggest of obstacles and challenges head-on.
Fact is; you don’t just get up one morning, decide to have faith and suddenly fear and doubt just don’t show up any more.
“But Philippians 4:13 says I can do all this through Him who gives me strength, and I believe it”, you say.
That’s correct. And it is good to know what is written in the Bible. It is good to believe it and to accept it as fact. But believing it and having faith is not the same. To have faith, you need to make the Word of God final authority in your daily life and act on it, fear or no fear. It needs to get from your mind, down into your heart.
Just because you have made God’s Word final authority in your life doesn’t mean you won’t have to face fear anymore. But you will start acting on the Word of God in the face of fear, until eventually you overcome fear. Fear will still show its ugly face, but you will be able to resist it and overcome it, in faith.
In his article, How Faith Works in Your Life, Kenneth Copeland gives a great explanation of how faith works. Your faith needs to get settled in your heart. This can only happen by consistently feeding your mind with the Word of God on a continual basis, until it settles in your heart. Romans 10:17 (NIV) says “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
It’s Not Too Late.
Do you wish you had more self-confidence? Do you think that maybe it’s too late for you to develop self-confidence? The good news is; it’s never too late. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). You are an overcomer because 1 John 4:3-5 (NIV) says “3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.”
You don’t have to develop confidence in your own ability, but your confidence (God-confidence) will grow stronger as your faith gets stronger.
Are you backing off when pressure comes your way? Do you find it easy to encourage other people, but you find it difficult dealing with problems in your own life? I hope this post gave you some encouragement to know that you can have confidence and that there is always hope.