Unexpected circumstances can shake anyone’s confidence. If you’ve lost a sense of strength and identity, you are not alone. You can overcome what you’ve lost and find your confidence again.
The Bible says there is life and death in our words. When others attack us verbally or with their actions, we can internalize it and feel like a failure. When we are a single parent, we sometimes lack confidence in being enough for our kids because we are not both mom and dad. We may feel like we don’t measure up because we are parenting alone.
The Solo Parent Society team met to talk through how to find confidence as a single parent. Often, as humans, our confidence is misplaced anyway. We look to outside parameters to define how we feel about ourselves. We give other people the power to shift our self-esteem because we look to them to know who we are and to define if we are valued or not. Being divorced just highlights these insecurities and can increase our tendency to seek approval from others. But this is not where confidence is found. As single parents raising our kids alone, we need to regain our confidence. We need to know who we are and find our true identity but often the roots of insecurity go deep into our past and become echoed by our current circumstances.
If 1 is absolutely bankrupt and 10 is chockfull to the brim, where are you at with confidence? As you look back on your life, what shook your confidence? Was it the events around becoming a single parent or were there roots from the past that were just echoed by divorce or loss?
There are two important things to keep in mind when seeking to find confidence again:
- You are not enough
- You have to change what you measure
You are not enough.
First, you are not enough. We are created to be dependent on God. We were never intended to have it all together. Single mom, Elizabeth Cole, shares how she came to this understanding through work she has done using Chip Dodd’s book, “The Voice of the Heart”. Toxic shame tells us we are not good enough and we aren’t worthy. Toxic shame is found in all the negative voices in our heads that tell us lie after lie about who we are or who we need to be. Healthy shame is the voice of truth that tells us we are human and that’s okay. Embracing our humanity brings us to a true understanding of humility and acknowledges our need for God. When we distinguish between toxic and healthy shame, it helps us identify lies and see the truth instead. It leads us away from self-reliance to reliance on God and this is our primary need and the beginning of genuine confidence. Confidence is not ego-driven or self-centered. There is an important difference. Ego is a false confidence. Ego pushes us to rely on our own strength. True confidence recognizes our value, not in what we do, but in who we were made to be in God. This confidence rests in the truth that we are created in God’s image, fearfully and wonderfully, knit together in our mother’s womb. God is the one who lifts us up and it has nothing to do with our own efforts. This confidence is all about Him. There is freedom in accepting our humanity, our failures and our limits. When we simply accept that we are human, it removes the power from some of the enemy’s lies. When we recognize we are not enough, but it’s okay, because God is, we find rest and true confidence. And this confidence is not self-confidence but rather confidence in God. Brene Brown in her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” says, “The less you talk about shame, the more you have it.” It is vulnerable to share our sense of shame but talking about our humanity releases us to connect with others and find authentic community so we feel less alone. When we can recognize, we are not enough, we free ourselves to rely on God and identify with the common human struggle with others doing the best they can too. Our humanity forces us to trust God completely! And this is right where we need to be to find confidence. Trusting the God who raises the dead puts our confidence in the right place. in Him, and this is the first step.
Have you come to a place of acceptance that you are not enough? Why or why not? How has where you are impacted you as a single parent?
Change what you measure
The second step to finding confidence is to change what you measure. There are competing voices in our heads telling us to measure our worth and identity by all kinds of things. We can’t let those voices overrule the truth. We need to examine these thoughts and be careful what we are measuring our worthy by. Jennie Allen writes in her book, “Get Out of Your Head” that we have approximately sixty thousand thoughts a day and over eighty percent of them are negative. We can’t take every one of these thoughts’ captive, but we can take the first one captive and help to silence so many others that would come after it. Taking our thoughts captive can help us avoid the cycle of feeling unworthy. Sometimes journaling or sharing some of our negative thoughts makes them lose their power. Seeing them on paper or hearing them out loud can help us recognize if they are true or false. We can identify if we are getting caught up in false measurements like other people’s approval and what society says instead of what God says. So, to find confidence, we first need to recognize we are not enough but God is and second, we need to be careful what we measure. Are we measuring what God says about us or what the world says?
To get to the heart of what we are measuring, a helpful practice is asking four questions every day:
How do I feel? This helps us to not “numb out” or shut down our emotion because when we shut down one feeling, we shut them all down. Getting in touch with our heart is the first step of awareness.
What am I grateful for? Second, once we allow ourselves freedom to feel, we can then experience gratitude and gladness. This helps us measure the right things.
What did I do well? Third, we can do a short daily inventory and be deliberate about finding something we did well. We can set this before God and let Him be our measure.
What did I learn today? Last, identify something that may not have gone well but provided an opportunity to learn. Be patient with yourself and again let God be your measure.
In asking ourselves these questions, we get honest with ourselves and with God. These questions help ground us in our humanity and reveal some of our false measures. Taking time to admit we are not enough while also taking inventory using godly measures reminds us to rely on God and to find our confidence in Him alone.
What false measures have you used? What changed when you begin to measure things through God’s lens?
For single parents who are struggling and carrying the weight of parenting alone, remember, you are brave. You were chosen to be the parent of your child. You were never meant to do this perfectly, but God thinks you are the perfect fit for your child. We want you to know you are strong and you inspire us and many people around you, with the sheer magnitude of what you are doing on your own.
Author Angela Thomas shares this, “Blues skies or dark of night, one truth still holds, God has you. And this is the promise He has made to you. He will never let you go. Will you rest your head on His shoulder in trust? Will you let Him be God so you can be cared for? Will you stop turning away and just dance in His arms? Maybe the time has finally come for you and for me. Its time to begin living like we belong to God. It’s time to be the person who walks into the room, confident and full of the hope of glory. Let Him make you captivate.” We can walk in like we belong to God and that is where confidence is found.
As you navigate the journey to find confidence again, we would love to be part of your support network. Join our Solo Parent Society community by participating in one of our online groups meeting every week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Subscribe to our weekly podcast via AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts, and download our Solo Parent app FREE in the app store. We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. If you want to donate so we can reach more single parent families, go to www.soloparentsociety.com. Questions? Email us at email@example.com.