When Confidence Is A Bad Thing

I was standing right there when it happened. I knew she was not necessarily being foolish or acting careless. But we both made a collective gasp when my camera fell out of her hands and hit the floor. Thankfully the camera itself was fine but the lens, my best and most used one, was in two pieces.

Like I said, I was right there so I know she wasn’t swinging it around by the strap or juggling it or anything. But I also know this particular child and while I wasn’t angry with her and I know she wasn’t being careless, I know she wasn’t being particularly careful either.

Sometimes we can get too confident. It’s easier to spot this when it comes squirting out in arrogance. We can see that kind of pride in a hot minute. It looks like someone swinging a camera around by the strap.


But the shade of too confident that I am talking about blends really nicely into life. It doesn’t stand out in a flashy look at me kind of way. It’s the too confident that leads to too comfortable. I had been allowing, actually encouraging, my daughter to use my camera regularly. One of our main goals for the summer was to give ample opportunity to our kids to create and not just consume so they were given almost total access to my camera gear.

She was forgetting that she was actually holding about $1500 worth of camera equipment. She forgot that it wasn’t enough to just not be careless but that she needed to be careful.

It’s a pretty big distinction.

It’s the difference between being self-aware and self-centered.

This particular child is pretty self aware…she was born knowing and understanding herself. We used to laugh that she thought she was born last of the five because the others came first to prepare for her arrival. She has just always known her place within our family and by default our social circles and she has always been confident of being loved and accepted.

She can teeter over into self-centeredness  but even when she’s not she can barrel through life without being really aware of the people she is just zipping past.

We can get that way, can’t we? We can get so comfortable with ourselves and our ‘world’ that we don’t really notice it or the people that live in it with us, not in a significant real way. Like driving a route so familiar that you arrive and do not have much recollection of actually haven driven there.

I had a text conversation with a friend the other day that made me think of this situation with Claire and the camera. She (my friend) is in a new job and had a big meeting that she was feeling a little unprepared for due to not having been in the position long enough to understand and present all they were likely going to want to know.

We talked about praying specifically for her to have good recall of information and the ability to articulate quickly and clearly. She mentioned not feeling prepared well enough for this new challenge in her life.

I hopefully encouraged her to not view that as a bad thing necessarily. That feeling of not completely knowing everything will likely keep her on her toes and paying attention to what all is going on around her and make her more aware of what can and needs to be done.

It’s hard to maintain that kind of focus the more familiar things become to us. It takes work and discipline to look and really see but we must do it if we are to be living the life we have been called to in Christ.

In Romans 12 Paul encourages us to not think too highly of ourselves and he directly connects that thought with being a member of one body.

It is good for us to be confident in ourselves, not in our own self but rather who we are in Christ, but that confidence has to be tempered with the awareness of being part of something more than just ourselves.

We are part of something, Someone, and that changes everything for us. Read chapter 12 of Romans and ponder over it, mull it over, and consider how it affects how you are living.

You might be surprised at who and what God wants you to see.


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