“So don’t throw away your confidence—it brings a great reward.”
Hebrews 10:35 CEB
Self-confidence was always something that I had to struggle with growing up. I was always afraid that because of my illness that I couldn’t do a lot of things. I was always living in fear. I didn’t socialize much. I turned down so many opportunities in primary and high school because of that self-imposed fear and self-doubt.
All of that changed when I went to college. Claflin University is a small HBCU (Historically Black College or University) in the heart of South Carolina. It was founded by the United Methodist Church and William and Lee Claflin in 1869. It wasn’t my choice but It was God’s choice for me. My mom submitted my application to Claflin without me knowing it. I was given a full academic scholarship. Even though I was only 20 mins from home, I was afraid. After a few weeks on campus, I can say that God knew what He was doing. We I arrived I felt welcomed, I felt respected, and I felt like I was home. Claflin has this thing called the “Claflin Confidence, ” President Henry Tisdale and First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale believed that every student should be self-confident and that our possibilities are limitless. So our curriculum was filled with leadership training, cultural programs, guidance on how to apply to internships and the like.
The “Claflin Confidence” had a lasting impact on my life. I went on internships that took me to hospitals and research institutions. I went from not talking much at all to being a certified Lay servant in the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. I went from being a guy singing on the choir to the young man who is a leader in the church and community. I went from working on a small farm to managing a million dollar facility on Claflin’s campus. It was because of the guidance I received at Claflin, my family, my home church, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We should never doubt the power that God has instilled in all of us. He believes in us and its time that we start believing in ourselves too. We have so much potential that we have yet to explore because we fear the unknown. Doubt has no place in God’s vocabulary and It shouldn’t be in ours. As I found out 17 years ago this month, there are great rewards in believing in yourself. You may not have the “Panther Pride” or “Claflin Confidence” like I have but you have the power of the Holy Spirit deeply rooted in you. With that gift, your doors will always be wide open. You will soar high like an eagle. God has people in place that will help you reach your goals. They will guide you on the right path that will lead you to success.
There was one more thing Claflin taught me, the importance of giving back. When I was inducted into the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College, our motto was “To whom much is given, much is required” This was taken from Luke 12: 48 :
“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”-KJV
We were expected to give back to those who gave us so much. It was required that we do community service. As children of God, we are called to invest in the communities that made us who we are. God expects us to not just shine for ourselves, He also expects us to shine for others.
So don’t give up on yourself. Continue to trust in God and see how far he will take you. You will never regret that you did. Doors will open that you thought were closed. You will be able to conquer things that you once thought were too hard. You will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.