The Dark Side of Confidence: From Andrea’s Reading List

In preparing my review of a book from my personal reading list, I checked what negative comments were circling about the author. What I concluded from this is that Joyce Meyer is indeed an imperfect human being with imperfect understanding.

In the Graham household, we have a saying, “Take the meat and throw away the bones.” And despite Mrs. Meyer’s failings, there is still plenty of meat to be found in the pages of her latest book, “The Confident Woman: Start Living Boldly and Without Fear.”

If you struggle with feelings of self-hatred, self-doubt; if you’re stressed out and unfulfilled; if fear is a stronghold in your life that holds you back from the future god has for you and keeps you from becoming the woman God wants you to be, there is wisdom to be found here that could change your life. If, that is, you take it to heart, and especially if you take time to turn the bible verses she quotes into a bible study, something I must admit I have yet to do.

As Mrs. Meyer notes throughout the book, self-confidence is foolish and will lead to failure, our confidence must first and foremost be based on who God is and His love for us. She does not, however, approach her topic as a matter of theory. Having suffered in a home that sounds even more dysfunctional than the one I was raised in, Mrs. Meyer speaks from a position of having been in our unconfident, fearful shoes.

If like us, you had an alcoholic parent, her testimony of where she’s been will sound all too familiar to you. She knows what it’s like to determine to never let anyone hurt you ever again, the false personalities we deceive even ourselves with, acting strong when inside we’re little girls crying for a daddy who won’t hurt us, and afraid to let anyone love us. She knows firsthand how we can be trembling in our boots yet mistaking rudeness and arrogance for boldness. She also has a testimony on how she overcame the same problems we have, and this book is it.

Yet on the subject of dealing with criticism, she reveals accidentally why those who have no “ministry” except to criticize those who do try to do something may find her easy pickings: she advocates, if I read it right, the water off a duck’s back approach rather than the saying around the Graham household. I understand the tendency to grow hardened against criticism when you’re inundated by it, and surely some criticism will be all bones, but is it wise to not even look for any good meat?

Indeed, there’s a dark side to confidence. I know someone who is naturally confident. This person makes a decision and sticks with it, no matter how many advisors tell her differently. As the bible predicts, she heaps to herself teachers who will tell her what her itching ears want to hear and pushes aside those who tell her the truth. She has time and time again come to me, down the road, sobbing, “You were right! I should have listened to you!” Her confidence has brought her nothing but misery and damnation, because she relies on, and trusts in, herself rather than God.
Believe it or not, Ms Meyer says as much in her book. I am concerned someone not right with God would take her words and use it to justify a hard heart bent on doing things their way rather than God’s way, but they would be twisting the intent of the book. So while it’s a concern that, despite her urging readers to repent of anything weighing on our consciences, her advice could be used to deaden the conscience, I’ll leave any culpability she might have for that possibility to God and Mrs. Meyer to work out.

I must admit, I would have preferred another 100 pages laying out more on how to overcome fear, and especially how to not let our emotions rule, but step out act boldly even when we don’t feel it without pretending. Still, it is an encouraging read.

Just remember. Take the meat and throw away the bones.