3 SECRETS OF A CONFIDENT WOMAN

You probably read the title 3 SECRETS TO A CONFIDENT WOMAN and thought to yourself, now that’s the formula I need. You are now anticipating some life-changing impartation that will leave you somehow transformed into one of those glossy picture-perfect influencers on Instagram. Full disclaimer before we begin: CONFIDENT does NOT equal PERFECTION. In my personal journey, I have actually found that the more one becomes comfortable in his or her own imperfections; even learning to thrive in the beautiful mess of it all, only then does true confidence kick in. So if you are into an easy-peasy cut and paste formula, this is not the post for you. But if you are down to get dirty and explore the deeper parts, the secret parts of yourself that you’ve tried to hide for so long, I promise the other side is a more empowered you than you’ve known. Are ya with me? Let’s go!

1. Seek purpose, not perfection.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11

For most of my life, I struggled with finding my place in this big world. The fear of falling behind and letting down those I loved would often cripple me. Seeking my purpose seemed so daunting so instead, I would chase perfection in everything I did, from school to relationships. To much of my dismay, this would always leave me breathless and frustrated; always falling short of the mark. Fast forward a couple years later, and I now realize that my purpose was never something I had to chase; it was built into my identity from the beginning! My pastor, James Aiton, gave an incredible sermon last Sunday with a beautifully practical way of finding one’s purpose. Ask yourself: 1) What do I love to do? 2) What is important to me?

Often, you will find your purpose is linked to your passion! When you quiet all the noise around you telling you what to do and who to be (I highly recommend a social media fast!) you’d be surprised at the answers you find. And if all of it just becomes too overwhelming or daunting, you can always rest on the promise that the One who created you has a perfect plan with your name on it. And this personalized blueprint is designed to prosper you; not to harm you. Ahead of you is an inheritance full of hope. Let this foundational truth wrap you up and shake off any fears of anxiety and inadequacy. The point is purpose, not perfection. And once you fully grasp this simple but powerful revelation, you will be a force awakened to what you are truly called to be.

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2. Confidence is a muscle. Work it out!

Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing. - Theodore Roosevelt

A confident women is a woman who chooses not to run from fear, but rather to run right up to its face and put it in its place! Growing up, I always admired my father’s ability to capture a room when he spoke. He was a pastor and every Sunday, I would sit right at the front row, eagerly on the edge of my seat as his words danced with the perfect harmony of humor and authority. As much as I appreciated the art of public speaking, never in a million years would I have believed you if you told me back then that speaking to audiences would be part of my job today. A couple years ago, I had been invited to fly to Manila from New York to give a series of talks on a piece I wrote called The Theology of Fashion. I said yes out of excitement before I could fully grasp what I had agreed to, as I had never spoken publicly in that capacity before. In the 23-hour duration of the plane ride I could feel my heart pulsating, hands sweating, and nerves shot. If fear was a person it was choking all the little confidence I had left out of my trembling body. I thought to myself: Who do I think I am? What if I make a complete fool of myself?

But despite the fear, I stood in front of that audience with nothing but a piece of paper in shaking hands and a prayer. And the most peculiar thing happened. As I spoke and leaned into every word, the confidence grew inside me. And every time I said yes despite my fear, choosing to activate my mind of power and love, confidence continued to deepen roots and burst forth and stretch in unimaginable ways. The choice to say yes was the seed and God’s grace and provision the water that nourished the faith in me then, and continues to sustain me to this day.

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3. Be empowered in your style.

Fashion says, “me too”. Style says, “only me.” - Unknown

Most people don’t know that I was bullied in high school for my choice in eclectic style. If a painter’s medium is a canvas, my means of expression was clothing, shoes, accessories in wild colors and textures. I was very much aware of the snickers and eye-rolling of the popular senior girls as I strutted through the hallways in metallic purple bell-bottom jeans and neon butterfly hairclips. I always said to myself on the hard days: One day, I will fly far away from this town where everyone thinks I’m a weirdo and go to a place where people celebrate style! Not coincidentally, upon graduation, I hopped off a plane in La Guardia Airport, NYC to find myself in giddy amazement, lost in a sea of fabulous weirdo’s in even WILDER colors and textures than I had ever dared to wear! I took a deep breathe and smiled to myself: I’m home.

My current go-to handbag that sparks all the JOY! Shop the Hannah bag at  Láro  now!

My current go-to handbag that sparks all the JOY! Shop the Hannah bag at Láro now!

You see darlings, high fashion in vogue magazines and America’s Next Top Model is great, but in all reality, it’s not relevant or practical for most of our day to day lives. Part of my mission is to encourage women to explore the style that feels most like themselves; to celebrate all body types and personalities! I believe that the best style means sending the world a message about who you are without even having to speak. I mean, WOWZA, if that doesn’t inspire confidence I don’t know what will! :) Choose colors, fabrics, and silhouettes that, as our friend Marie Kondo famously says, SPARK JOY within you. Choose brands that contribute to positive change in the world -whether their products are sustainable or they participate in fair trade practices. Some of my favorite fashion brand leaders in social responsibility are Láro, an artisanal handbag line dedicated to supporting artisans and fighting back against human trafficking; Amur, sleek womens clothing dedicated to sustainability in production; and Noonday Collection, a diverse curation of jewelry and accessories supporting 31 Artisan Businesses in 14 countries.

The 3 secrets of a confident woman is no longer so secret! ;) Remember:

1) Seek purpose, not perfection.

2) Confidence is a muscle. Work it out!

3) Be empowered in your style.

I personally know the battle for self-esteem in a world full of endless Instagram feeds showcasing filtered perfection and masking flaws. It is an impossible standard because we were never designed to be plastic carbon copies of the latest trend or “IT” girl. You are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made. CHOSEN. ROYAL. HOLY. SPECIAL. Called out of darkness and into marvelous LIGHT. Yes, despite your checkered past! Yes, despite the sin you are struggling with! So call the confidence within you to come out; let its intrinsic power release and ebb and flow over the fear and doubt and depression and anxiety.

You see, the biggest secret the enemy of your soul keeps trying to hide from you is that your confidence isn’t something you need to work for.

It’s already who you are. So press in.

Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
but I've heard the tender whisper
of love in the dead of night
You tell me that you're pleased
and that I'm never alone

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, It's who you are
It's who you are
and I'm loved by you
It's who I am, It's who I am
It's who I am

- Chris Tomlin, Good Good Father

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