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March 17, 2010

Hardened Confidence or Holy Confidence?

Housethroughtherocks  

Greetings, Dear Friends!

Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. In the month of March I will give away a gift card and a couple of copies of my new book, "Growing Grateful Kids."  So share a story or an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and friend (or maybe you'll win a copy of my new book)!

A Quick Note:

I am thrilled to announce the release of my next book: Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places." Let me tell you, I am excited about the message in this book. If you have children at home (or grandchildren you want to influence spiritually), order a copy today. I do believe this book will equip you to parent from a spiritual perspective (but it's loaded with lots of practical application). You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be inspired and encouraged (that was my goal, anyway). :) 

Now on to my topic...

Today I am battling a bug and feeling pretty miserable. But last weekend I had the privilege of serving and ministering to thousands of women at the Nat'l Hearts at Home Conference. I always love meeting new sisters in Christ. We had a great time together! I spoke on two topics: Growing Grateful Kids and Becoming an Uncommon Woman (based on a couple of my books).

One of the key points in my Uncommon message is this: true identity is always linked with humility (and visa versa). For the Christ-follower, identity and humility must be inseparable in our lives. Holy Confidence and Humble Dependence are defining factors for us as Believers.

When we go through painful relational conflict, we may be tempted to look down and to become self-aware, but even in that place, we must remember who we are. We must hang on to our identity in Christ. And thanks to Him, it's a settled issue.

When we get to step up into places that seem way out of our reach, high places that only God could orchestrate, we must hang on to humility, knowing that it's only by the grace of God that we get to do such things. 

When we go through those raw and painful seasons that make us feel vulnerable and exposed, we remember who are - even there. We hang on to identity.

When we are wronged by someone who is as wrong as the day is long, we hang on to our identity and we thoroughly embrace humility.

Here's where it's tempting to go off track. When someone wrongs us, the devil tries to bait us with self-righteousness which quickly leads us down a path of spiritual blindness and a hardness of heart.

I've known people who have an air of confidence about them, but truly, their boldness comes from a hardness of heart that declares, "I don't care what people think!" 

Maybe they've been hurt enough in the past that they decided to build a wall around their heart and their emotions. Nothing is going in, nothing is going out. In their hardness of heart, they stay separated from people, inoculated from the jabs and sneers of unkind people, but also, unaffected by the pain and suffering around them. 

As Christians, this cannot be an option for us.

Holy Confidence goes much deeper than this self-serving survival mode. Holy Confidence connects us to the very heart of the Father. He defines us, He fills us, He saves us, and He restores us when life bruises and beats us. He understands. 

Holy Confidence is defined by tenderness, openness, caring for others while entrusting yourself to God. Holy Confidence declares, "I can care deeply for you without worrying what you think of me. I can take risks with you, be vulnerable with you, and give sacrificially you, because you can never define me. Jesus already has."

We can never truly love people the way Christ has loved them until their opinions of us matter less to us than God's opinion of us. And He is perfectly in love with us. Isn't that great news?

May we get free from the bondage of others' opinions so that we can get on to the business of loving others the way Christ loves them! A noble pursuit indeed. :)

Until next week~

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Comments

Cherie,
You are most certainly a flow-through-vessel of His grace and goodness. May He continue to pour in and through you in mighty world-changing ways! Bless you,my dear!

"We can never truly love people the way Christ has loved them until their opinions of us matter less to us than God's opinion of us." ... Amen sister! Getting ready to teach young girls this.......and another God annointed thing~ painting a large canvas of Jesus to a song! He is so good to use us profoundly if we are willing vessels. Thankyou for inspiring me there, Susie! I hope your vessel (gravity and all) finds rest and filling........and if not then in your weaknesss I praise God for your all surpassing knowledge that He is strong where we are not. Shew~ me too today!!

Dear Aja,

Thanks so much for blessing me with such words of encouragement! I really appreciate it. I'm grateful God has used this blog to minister to you. May we continue to walk in the fullness of what we posses in Him!
Bless you~

Dear Laura,
So nice to meet you!
Wow, seven children, that's amazing. I do hope and pray that this blog continues to nourish and strengthen you. I just assigned the winners of the books for March but I would love to see you win in April.
Blessings to you!

Dear Kathryn,

Thanks for the post! You are so right! It's easy to slip into pride when things are going well, and yet if we do, it means we've gone spiritually blind. Every good gift comes from above and the only proper response is humble gratitude. Thank you, Lord! And thanks again for stopping by!
Blessings~

Dear Sherry,

So nice to meet you! I'm sorry that my 'subscribe' feature is not activated. I need to do that someday. :) I pray God continues to use this blog to nourish your soul and encourage your faith!
Blessings to you!

Dear Donna,

SO nice meeting you at the Hearts Conference. Thanks for taking such good care of me. :) You were excellent to work with. Have you viewed the DVD yet? You looked adorable. :) I'll check out your blog; it sounds interesting!
Blessings~

Oh, Joy,

I LOVE that! Thanks for sharing such a powerful verse and for adding application to it. He calls us to trust in Him and He promises to defend and protect us. Isn't it wonderful how engaged He wants to be with us on this journey? I've enjoyed getting to know you online!
Blessings to you~

Jessica,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Totally understandable. I know too well the feeling of being exposed and vulnerable. And I know I've made others feel the same way. But I love that you want to venture back into community again. It was difficult for me too, but the best thing in the world for me. We need each other for support, for love, and even for the correction and refinement. I pray that the Lord leads you to some beautiful, safe, and loving friends with whom you can share this faith journey. So glad you stopped by and thank you for your post.
Blessings~

Susie,

God has gifted you to share His love and to gather, guide and love His sheep. You are truly making your Father proud. I constantly am blessed by your way of making God so clear and His ways even more clear to follow. May you be continually blessed, lead and protected by God: The Father, Jesus Christ: The Son, and The Holy Spirit. The three personalities of the ONE true God, we can't do without!

Agape!

I just discovered your blog thru mention from The Old Schoolhouse. What great insight you have. Thanks for those words of wisdom I needed to 'hear' today. :)
Im also interested in your Growing Grateful Kids book. Im hoping to WIN a copy! Ive got 7 kids, ages 1 yr thru 23 yrs, so the book would be well read!
Thanks for blessing my day!

So glad to read this blog today! It serves as a gentle reminder that our spirit needs not to one of judgement and self righteousness but one of love. Hanging on to our identity and humility when things have been going so well can be hard but through prayer and faith in God being humble IS possible! Love you girl!

I'm new to your blog. I had come through Old Schoolhouse magazine as I saw a link for your book. What a wonderful ministry you have! I am so excited to have found your blog and am going to subscribe, so I can keep reading.

Hi Susie,

Hey... I was one of your P.A.'s last weekend at the Heart's conference... (Donna)
I read your blog often and always get so much from you. Thanks for allowing me to serve you at the conference. It was such a pleasure. Would love you to visit my blog someday if possible... fitnessandfreedom.blogspot.com
It integrates physical and spiritual wellness. Bless you!
Donna :O)

Susie,

You are being an example of your own message of humility by getting involved beyond just putting something out there and walking away. Thanks for keeping up with everyone's comments! I can relate to this message so well because I'm prone to try to serve and love others without getting myself emotionally involved. I have a huge tendency to be hard-confident even with myself, constantly thinking "I can do this! I can be strong and non-emotional." But I'm learning more and more that success in God's eyes isn't about strength and accomplishment, but about relationship with Him and others. And that DOES mean that sometimes we'll get hurt or broken or drained, but this verse I read today floored me: "Sacrifice thank offerings to God (BE GRATEFUL!), fulfill your vows to the Most High (BE COMMITTED!), and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me." Psalm 50:14-15. It's like He is saying "Yes, I'm God and you need to obey and honor me, but remember I am here for you!" That's so like the awesome loving Father we serve! =)

Susie,

I attended both your sessions at Hearts at Home, and I was very, very blessed! I went to purchase both books and saw the "buy 3" deal, so I picked up the Finding Balance book, too, and I'm loving it!

Anyway, I have been convicted of my tendency to shut people out, but I'm still trying to figure things out...People haven't talked badly about me; it's been more an issue of things I've shared in confidence with one friend coming back to me (in an almost flippant way) from another friend. I imagine my situation was being shared as a "prayer request," but it felt like something to gossip about. Not sure if I'm making sense, but the whole ordeal has made me more cautious about what I share with others, pretty much to the point where I don't share anything. At this point, I am pretty isolated, and I'm not sure how to jump back into the whole friendship thing.

Thanks for the encouragement of this blog post and your books as I'm on this "journey."

Dear Carrie,

SO glad to know that God is helping you to recover your lost territory! He does treasure and cherish you! I'm thankful too that He is using the words in my book to strengthen your soul. May you continue to march ahead and lay hold of everything He has for you! Blessings to you, my friend!

Alisha,

Wow, that's one of the best endorsements I've ever read! Thank you so much! I'm thrilled that God has used the GGK book to bless and encourage you. I'm truly honored. Thanks for taking the time to post today! If you wouldn't mind, I'd LOVE it if you could re-post these comments as an Amazon review. But that's totally up to you. :)
Blessings to you!

Hi Pam,

I do hope you can pick up a copy of the book. I do love that book. May God use the pages of that book to affirm your great value and your high calling. Bless you!

Dear Alisha,
Thanks so much for your prayers! I'm feeling mostly better today. Getting there! The book you read to your child sounds wonderful. Our kids need to hear the truth about who they and whose they are as often as possible. Bless you!

Dear Susie,

I feel so blessed to have had the chance to see you at HAH 2 years ago and again this year. You truly are an inspiration and its clear God is speaking through you my sister. I can relate to your life in so many ways - abusive childhood, bedrest, health issues, children on oxygen and hospitalized, etc. (it seems God knew I needed the encouragement from someone who has "been there"). You're a beautiful person and I thank you for putting yourself out there to help others.

You said in your Uncommon Woman seminar to repeat, "Jesus you love me" and "I am your treasure" those are very powerful and sweet sweet words. I think of Jimmy Needhams song, "Child you're forgiven and Loved"...those were the words I was repeating often that helped me understand that I cannot hold on to the feeling of conviction or guilt. So I hold on tight to the Jesus line and move toward feeling peace and joy regardless of our circumstances.

I've started reading the Uncommon Woman and I love it! I just wanted to thank you for your good work!
Bless you Susie!

I hope you're feeling better. You're in my prayers.

As I am reading your book right now, I am trying to put into words what makes you so extraordinary. I mean, I have read many books before and listened to many speakers before, but you are different. You touch the hearts of moms in a very refreshing way. Here's what came to me today...this is just an example, although you do this over and over again...Lots of people will tell a mom, "Enjoy your children, because it goes fast," but for a mom who is struggling to get through each day with three or four infants/ toddlers, it feels like every day is ten years. Your approach is different. "Watch your kids play, and get down and do what they are doing, because when you do you teach them that more rests on God's shoulders than on your own, so it is okay to play". That is something I can grab ahold of. It's is an empowering statement, leaving the mom with a confident burst of energy that what she is doing is bigger than just "making it through yet another day". Thank you for allowing God to make you so extraordinary.

Good message again. I think, after hearing so much about your book, "Uncommon Woman" I will get a copy to read. I believe Bridgewood has copies there.
I am intrigued by all of the positive comments.

Big hugs to you on this day. By now it is later in the evening, and I am trusting that the Lord has heard the prayers of making you well, and is in the process of answering that prayer. I read the book "You are Special" to my kids the other day. I think it is by Max Lucado. Bits and pieces of what you wrote reminded me of that book. (the one girl whose "good" or "bad" stickers did not stick because she kept going back to her creator)

Dear Jill,

I'm glad our paths crossed! Thanks for stopping by and for your encouraging words! God bless you, my sister!

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