by Gena Anderson
I remember it well. I was in Little League softball with a new coach. God bless him, he was determined to get this girl out of her shell. So, in the middle of practice, he commenced a serious effort to get this reserved girl fired up. The method? A loud, from-the-depths-of-your-guts kind of roar. That’s right, he asked me to roar. I did it, sort of timidly at first, then again, a little louder, and finally I let out the very biggest, baddest roar I could muster. He smiled and encouraged me to go back to softball and practice re-commenced, but I’m pretty sure he still wasn’t impressed. I know I wasn’t, because I’m not a lion and I’m not loud. Some 30 years later, I now know: my strength is in quiet confidence.
“For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: ‘You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing.’” (Isaiah 30:15)
These words were spoken to Israel, God’s people, about their rebellion and repeated attempts to do things on their own. He wanted them to know their strength comes from him, specifically from resting in him, and that strength would give them quiet confidence that would speak much louder than any battle cry or lion’s roar.
My battles I’ve never faced loudly, but I’ve certainly tried to fight them in my own strength with my own weapons of choice: rationalization, striving, over-analyzing, and compromising just to name a few. What this verse, and years of listening to the voice of God, have taught me is that I wasn’t made to be loud. In fact, trying to be loud like those around me will only weaken me because I’m trying to conform to what I think the world wants, not what I know God says to be true.
The world needs the loud ones, Lord knows y’all keep me entertained, and are often the ones who push me to use the God-given quiet confidence I’ve got. But for the girls who prefer back porch sitting to front row dancing, a good conversation to a big celebration, and quiet bravery to loud boldness, the world needs you, too.
My well meaning coach was trying to get me out of my shell, release the fighter within. What he didn’t realize is we don’t all fight the same. The only way any of us can become stronger, more of the person God formed us to be, is to lean into him and let him slowly but surely strengthen us.
As for me, I’m slowly learning confidence doesn’t require roaring, and sometimes the bravest thing we can do makes no noise at all, and I’m willing to go back again and again to the God of restoration to renew my strength. What I know now is I’m quiet and I like it.