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Our culture as a whole, and often the Christian culture in particular, discourages confidence in women. Tricia Lott Williford explores how confidence and self-awareness can be a path toward stronger and richer faith. She offers stories and strategies to inspire and lead women to develop the confidence to stand firm in the face of the blows, losses, and disappointments in life.Readers of this book will think, laugh, and gain confidence to do what is set before them. They will feel hopeful, courageous, strengthened, encouraged, present, and confident. And finally, readers will be equipped to implement simple strategies to inspire contagious confidence in themselves and others.
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About the Author
Author and narrator Tricia Lott Williford is a remarried widow, an author of three books, a writer, a teacher, a reader, and a thinker. Thousands of people daily enjoy Tricia's funny, poignant stories as she captures the fleeting moments of life on her blog at tricialottwilliford.com. She lives near Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two sons, and right at this moment, she is probably doodling in the margins on an overdue library book.
Read an Excerpt
You Can Do This
Seizing the Confidence God Offers
By Tricia Lott Williford
NavPressCopyright © 2017 Tricia Lott Williford
All rights reserved.
The First Bully of My Life
The Confident Girl Knows Her Story
I wish I'd known from the beginning that I was born a strong woman. What a difference it would have made! I wish I'd known that I was born a courageous woman; I've spent so much of my life cowering. How many conversations would I not only have started but finished if I had known I possessed a warrior's heart? I wish I'd known that I'd been born to take on the world; I wouldn't have run from it for so long, but run to it with open arms.
SARAH BAN BREATHNACH, SOMETHING MORE
THE FIRST BULLY OF MY LIFE was my fourth-grade teacher. My teacher, whom we will call Mrs. Wretched, seemed about eighty-nine years old; she wore polyester skirts and sensible shoes, and the flesh of her arms swayed when she wrote in cursive on the board. In what I can only assume was a grand gesture to avoid favoritism, she made sure none of her students felt liked or even acceptable at all. She yelled at children who looked out the window. Children who tattled on their classmates were sentenced to wear the Tattletale Name Tag. Children who leaned back on the rear legs of their chairs were banished to stand in humiliation for the rest of the day. There were rumors of dunce caps and noses held to the chalkboard. She probably had a box of stolen kittens in the bottom drawer of her desk. In my memory, she had warts on her face and a long pointy chin and a dog that she kept in a basket on the back of her bicycle. I'll agree to perhaps a very slim and remote possibility that she's become a caricature in my memory; but the truth is that Mrs. Wretched was legendary, and she was my introduction into the deep, dark waters of public education.
I had spent my first few school years in the sheltered, careful environment of a private school until my parents moved our family into the upper-class suburbia of their own hometown. To be clear, I wasn't transitioning to school in a foreign country, and the transition wasn't exactly culture shock. In fact, I would join the ranks at the same elementary school my parents had both attended in Greensburg, Ohio.
But I was an anxious little girl, and I felt like I had been thrown to the wolves. I was wildly nervous about the unknowns of a new building, a new lunchtime protocol, the location of the restrooms, this business of having a "locker," and what I should wear since red plaid uniforms were not the public school plan. My concerns numbered in the dozens, and it was all so new and so much for a nine-year-old girl who resisted change even on a predictable day.
On the first day of school, I stepped off the school bus into a sea of kids just like me. I found Room 8 in the fourth-grade hallway, and I walked into my new classroom with the smile I had practiced. The other children were sitting impossibly silent at their desks, and Mrs. Wretched sat behind her desk at the far side of the room. With a flat tone and a firm brow, she barked at me: "Name. Bus number."
I deflated. I felt my fragile assurance slipping right out the toes of my new shoes. "Tricia. Sixteen."
"Find your seat and your locker."
I walked the row of lockers and found my name — misspelled as Trisha. I navigated the metal handle and put my bag on the hook inside the locker, quietly ignoring that Mrs. Wretched had spelled my name wrong. See, the thing was, I had never met another Tricia (or Trisha), and it turned out there were two others in my new grade, and one in this very classroom. I had made a grievous error in my first four minutes of fourth grade, but I didn't know it yet. A few minutes later, Trisha arrived to find someone's stuff in her locker. She went to Mrs. Wretched like Baby Bear complaining that someone's been eating his porridge.
Mrs. Wretched, who almost never came out from behind the fortress of her desk, walked over to Trisha's locker to retrieve my contraband: a Rainbow Brite backpack hung in the wrong place. "Whose backpack is this?" she demanded.
I raised my hand so silently, so subtly, just wanting to disappear.
She said, "The first thing you will learn in fourth grade is to respect other people's space. That is not your locker."
"But it said 'Trisha.'"
"And is that how you spell your name?"
No, it isn't —
"Well, do you know how to spell your name?"
"Yes, I —"
"You're not the only person in this world with your name, young lady."
She held my backpack hooked on her finger and waited for me to come and get it. I put it in my locker and returned to my seat, and I felt tears coming, coming, coming. I didn't want to cry. I just wanted a do-over. But you so rarely get a do-over on anything in life, and this was my first hard lesson in that truth.
I checked the name tag on the locker every day of that school year, terrified to make the same mistake twice. The locker was mine all year long, but every day I made sure.
Mrs. Wretched and I had a rough start to our year together, and it was hard to recover from that. As the first days lined up to become the first month, I found a routine in my new environment, but sadly very little improved. I had always loved school, but now my favorite parts of the day were any chances I found to leave the classroom. Recess, music, gym, art — I craved any opportunity for a break from her watchful, witchlike gaze. She was mean, and her unkindness stood out as the blatant opposite of the teachers I had had to that point in my young life. I had fallen so in love with my second-grade teacher that I had outlined my own career path to become a teacher just like her, and my third-grade teacher had named me her "little author" and wooed me into writing. I aimed to please, and my kind teachers rewarded my efforts with smiles and kindness. After love affairs with my earliest teachers, it never occurred to me that not every educator loves her job — that perhaps they wouldn't all love me.
Early in the fall, our school celebrated Right to Read Week. It was a nerdy version of spirit week, with daily themes such as "Choose Your Favorite Punctuation!" or "Be an Adverb!" or "Dress Like Your Favorite Person from American History!" For the last one, I chose Betsy Ross, and my costume became a family project. On that day, I went to school in a long, blue colonial dress, my curly hair swept up in a bun, and I even carried a picnic basket with an American flag carefully peeking out from under its lid. I mean, really, it was indisputable: I was a very charming Betsy Ross. Whatever you're picturing isn't nearly cute enough.
I started the day with my confidence restored. I had even packed an extra outfit for gym class — such was my preparedness. I'm pretty sure I said to myself, I've so got this, or whatever was the equivalent circa 1988. I stopped by Mrs. Wretched's desk, and I asked her, "Where should I put my clothes for gym class today?"
In retrospect, I knew the answer to that question. Of course any extra items of mine would go in my locker. But I think I wanted to give her the chance to be overjoyed by my costume. I probably pictured in my mind a scene similar to Ralphie's dream in the classic movie A Christmas Story, when his teacher reads through so much drivel until she finds his paper: finally one worth reading, the work of a student who has restored her faith in education and her very self. In other words, I set myself up to inevitably see firsthand how very unimpressed she was.
"I don't even know why you're dressed like this," she said. I took a step back, feeling shoved away by her disgust.
"Because it's American History Day," I said, my voice wavering.
"That is tomorrow. Now go change your clothes."
I carried my American flag, my picnic basket, my extra clothes, and my nine-year-old dignity down the hall to the bathroom, trying to decide what to do with it all. I pulled the pins out of my bun and shook my hair free. I stuffed my colonial dress into the basket, I changed into a very plain T-shirt and pair of jeans, and I gave myself a few minutes to just cry.
I just wanted to move forward, to go on with the day, to somehow get out of the crosshairs. But when I came back to the classroom, even though I tried to will myself to be invisible, she noticed I had been crying.
"Crying again, I see," she said, with an exasperated sigh. And then, loud enough for everyone to hear, "Tricia, I have never in my life met a child with less confidence than you. I certainly hope you grow up to have more confidence as an adult, because you are a child with none."
Who does that? Who says that to a child? I was devastated. I didn't know what the word confidence meant. I didn't know what it was. But when I was nine years old, an adult told me I didn't have any of it. And when an adult slaps a label on your chest, it sticks.
Have you ever had someone like that in your life? Someone who threatened to steal the spirit right out of your soul, the joy right out of your smile? It's sadly and likely true that you have a story similar to mine. Someone who stole your confidence right out of your pocket. Think about it. Let's do a little detective work to think about who did this to you.
These thieves are probably the voices you still hear in your head when you're right on the edge of doing something really creative, profound, brave, or simply joyful. If you're like me, maybe you hear objections in your head: "You think you're creative? Since when? When is the last time you had an idea that was actually yours, or worse, actually good?" Or "Who do you think you are, trying to do something so brave? Leave that to the people with real courage. You're just faking it.' Or "Somebody sure thinks highly of herself, doesn't she? Stop bragging. Don't you realize how prideful that is? That's not humility." Or "You're an impostor. You might as well wave the white flag and give up, or else somebody's going to blow the whistle on this little charade you've got going on. And I think we can agree it will be far less painful if you surrender on your own before somebody makes you."
Were those words painful to read? They were painful to write. I get it, my friend. Where do those voices come from in your life? Parents? Teachers? Coaches? Siblings? Bullies your own age or, as in my life, significantly older? How about an old boyfriend? Or maybe even the person you're married to today? Maybe it's something even bigger, something without a face or a voice, something harder to identify — like the culture of your church or the religious beliefs of your family. Sometimes we get to a point in our lives when we realize that what the "grown-ups" have been telling us the Bible says isn't actually in there at all. Sometimes grace gets lost in criticism, and self-worth gets swept away with rules.
Look back on the stages of your life — childhood, adolescence, college, early jobs, careers, marriage, motherhood, successes, failures, and the transitions in between — and think of the people who influenced you. Think about who walked with you on these journeys, and think of their voices. What did they say to you? Did they build you up or tear you down — give you life or drain you like a helium balloon with a slow leak? If these voices come into your head when you think of the worst things you believe about yourself, then my friend, you've found the thieves of your confidence. Their passing comments plant the seeds in a fertile ground of negative thoughts, and before we know it, those seeds grow into oak trees of personal beliefs.
Negative thoughts and beliefs are just that: thoughts and beliefs. They are not facts, and they do not need to be true. Each one of these holds you in bondage, and each one must be shut down. You are not ridiculous, overly emotional, selfish, or grandiose just because somebody said you are. What you are is terrified.
That's the thing about negative thoughts and beliefs: They keep you scared. You're afraid of getting hurt, afraid of being seen, afraid of being shamed or shut down for not measuring up to the rest of the world. And these thoughts are ruthless. They will search until they find your most vulnerable place: your beauty, your lovability, your intelligence, your sexuality, your courage. When criticism finds vulnerability, it grabs on tight. Before we know it, we are bound tightly in the tentacles of an octopus that's very much in charge. Girls, we very simply and truly and deeply cannot let those thoughts be in charge of us. We can get our confidence back from the thieves who stole it from us. We can choose a different way.
Think about the time when your confidence was stolen from you. Jot down the details that come back to you — who said it, how he or she looked at you, the room you were in, the way you felt, and how your parents responded if you talked about it. It's so important to acknowledge the ways we've been hurt and the things that have been taken from us, because here's the thing about wounds: They almost never go away on their own. They only create thick scar tissue that keeps us from being real, authentic, brave, or confident. Write down what you remember about the ways your confidence has been taken.
Set a timer for twenty minutes and journal about what you wrote down. Lean into the pain instead of avoiding the memory. The infection is there; see if it will come out when exposed to the light of day.
In the same way, think about a time when you have stolen confidence from someone under your influence. Is there something you may have said to your husband, your sibling, or your child in a harsh moment of stress or exhaustion? If a memory comes to mind, it may have stayed in that person's mind, too. A conversation and a request for forgiveness can restore the relationship as well as the very confidence that was stolen away.
Do something nice to reward yourself for all this emotional heavy lifting you've done today. You have been brave, you are valuable, and you deserve kindness-first of all, from yourself.
Excerpted from You Can Do This by Tricia Lott Williford. Copyright © 2017 Tricia Lott Williford. Excerpted by permission of NavPress.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION: You Can Do This The Confident Girl Joins the Conversation, xi,
1. The Fist Bully of My Life The Confident Girl Knows Her Story, 1,
2. Wear Your Name Tag The Confident Girl Knows Her Identity, 11,
3. Write with Lipstick on the Bathroom Mirror The Confident Girl Appreciates Her Beauty, 25,
4. Claim Your Seat The Confident Girl Takes Her Place at the Smart Table, 37,
5. Plan Your Dinner Party The Confident Girl Doesn't Put the Critics in Charge, 43,
6. The Art of Dining Alone The Confident Girl Enjoys Her Own Company, 57,
7. Sex in a Box The Confident Girl Needs a Place to Put Her Stuff, 61,
8. Step Off the Merry-Go-Round The Confident Girl Feels How She Feels, 71,
9. Open Your Hands When a Gift Comes Along The Confident Girl Can Receive, 77,
10. Share Your Kindness The Confident Girl Sprinkles Kindness Like Confetti, 93,
11: Carry a Sharpie in Your Pocket The Confident Girl Sets Boundaries, 105,
12: Never Drop the Same Plate Twice in a Row The Confident Girl Is a Confident Mom, 119,
13: Be Where You Are The Confident Girl Is Present and Engaged, 129,
14: Wait for the Timer to Beep The Confident Girl Doesn't Overreact, 141,
15: The Underbelly of Confidence The Confident Girl Chooses Vulnerability, 147,
16: Put Fear in the Backseat The Confident Girl Refuses Fear, 163,
17: When You Feel Overlooked The Confident Girl Can Hope, 175,
18: Pass Jour Brave Along The Confident Girl Instills Confidence in Others, 187,
19: Go and Be The Confident Girl Is Ready, 193,
EPILOGUE: A Joyful Commissioning The Confident Girl Can Do This, 197,
GREAT BOOKS FOR THE CONFIDENT GIRL, 201,
What People are Saying About This
With gentle humor and friendly warmth, Tricia Lott Williford assures women that they can be who God has created them to be. Williford comes alongside the reader as a fellow struggler, not an expert, winsomely and honestly reflecting on mistakes made and lessons learned. I love that Williford incorporates practical examples and adviceboth from her life and from other women’sabout walking in courage and in God-confidence. Readers who feel alone and insecure (and who hasn’t felt that way?) will find much to love in You Can Do This, including rest stops (questions and tasks related to biblical confidence) at the end of each chapter.
Even women who stand on platforms can struggle with confidence, and raising small people demands outright guts. Tricia Lott Williford shares hard-won insights and do-it-today ideas to grow stronger. Tricia helps wom-en from all walks of life sit tall in their places at the tablewith God and those they’re called to love and lead. I loved this book!
They say life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but I think “they”the authors of such platitudeshave yet to read You Can Do This. The wise, quirky voice of Tricia Lott Williford is the one I want to hear. I want to hear it when I don’t feel as though I’m good enough. I want to hear it when I feel afraid of what the future might hold. I want her voice in my ear when I meet someone who’s unkind. As you read You Can Do This, listen for the gentle voice of God’s life-giving Spirit breathing through the words on each page.
You Can Do This is so refreshing. With inspiring and funny stories, Tricia helps you exchange fear for faith. She leads you to a place where you can deal with the bullies who have tried to steal your confidencethe ones around you and the ones inside you. Read this book and live as the confident girl and mighty warrior who God intended you to be.
Tricia’s poignant, humorous writing has always captivated me, but she really hit a home run with You Can Do This. The wisdom she imparts on female confidence is fresh and bold and grounded in truth. You’ll never look at yourself quite the same. Buy this book for your daughters, your best friends, and most of all, for yourself.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The subtitle of this book says it all: Seizing the Confidence God Offers. And while that might seem like yet another trite "prosperity gospel" headline, author Tricia Lott Williford digs in with transparent, vulnerable examples from her own life, and the scripture that has carried her through some of the most difficult years one can imagine. She has emerged from these challenges with real, applicable lessons on confidence that are beneficial to any reader, but particularly to women in this day and age who are bombarded by images about "who" they should aspire to be. Tricia's writing style is conversational and encouraging, as she takes her readers under her wing and invites us to learn alongside her--lessons from her childhood (her first "Confidence Thief" and how her awesome mom coached her to deal with it), scenes from her young adulthood and early married years, and also lessons learned through the loss of her husband at a young age, when she needed to be a mom to her two boys, and figure out exactly how to do something she didn't always feel like she could do. She raises points applicable not only to widows, single mothers, or those grieving, but to anyone who has ever questioned their purpose; ever wondered if they were doing "enough;" anyone trying to juggle and balance the many demands placed on them in life. The book is full of hope and encouragement, but also practical action steps toward "seizing" the confidence mentioned in the title--and realizing the source of that confidence is God, not anything we can say, do, or achieve. I went into this book expecting a good read, but I didn't know how inspired and challenged I would be. Tricia ends each chapter with questions to consider and an action step for reflection and moving forward. These are insightful both for the individual reader and for a potential book club or Bible study group--I can see how this book would lend itself well to further discussion amongst a group of women who could encourage one another through the chapters. Having read Tricia Lott Williford's blog and other books (And Life Came Back and Let's Pretend We're Normal) I knew she was a gifted storyteller and had was able to share her life's circumstances to teach and share what she has learned the hard way. This book is a joyful celebration, a rainbow after the storm, and it is beautiful to see the joy and confidence shared within this book after having "virtually" walked a road of grief and sorrow with Tricia in her other writing. I highly recommend this book, have already purchased several copies as gifts for friends, and will continue to give this book to others in the future. Seriously--go read it. You'll be glad you did! :)
I had my doubts...but isn't that the way it goes? The woman with so many doubts, trampled by circumstances and just life, has doubts that she can do anything. When I signed on to do this book launch, I didn't think I would be chosen. I had never heard of the author or her story, even though I'm familiar with so many Christian women bloggers. And yet, I was chosen. I savored this book, taking it slow, trying to glean every last word of wisdom from its pages. I am working on internalizing the truth that I have more confidence, faith, and love than I ever give myself credit for. I am healing this summer from a school year that was so difficult and draining that I doubted whether God had called the right woman to room 733! You--and I--WE can do this. We can trust God and His Word to remind us of the confidence and strength He's already imparted to us. Disclosure: I am a member of the book launch team and received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Tricia and Peter and their team for this privilege.
"You Can Do This: Seizing the Confidence God Offers" by Tricia Lott Williford is an encouraging read for any woman in any stage of life, facing any type of struggle. It is a non-fiction Christian book that is a mix of self-help, memoir, and Christian encouragement. Ms. Williford tells her story to the reader in a way that feels like you are having a conversation with her over a cup of coffee (or tea). She inserts many helpful and encouraging nuggets of truth for those who are going through hard times or need a confidence boost. Some examples of topics that she covers are negative thoughts, boundaries, and how we define ourselves. She puts practical ways to implement these truths at the end of each chapter. I love this book! I feel like Ms. Williford was reading my mind at times and the way she writes is like she is speaking directly to one’s soul. Her words and stories brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes. I love how encouraging and practical this book is. I especially love Ms. Williford's section on replacing negative thoughts and feelings with Scripture and positive affirmations. She even lists out relevant Scripture to use for different circumstances. I personally have been through some rough seasons and have wrestled with my confidence and not feeling like I could do some hard things (like my recent battle with chronic pain and chronic illness). Ms. Williford's words are balm to my weary soul. I highly recommend this book to any woman, because we all need to hear these words at one point or another in our lives. Content and Rating: I give this book 5 stars. It is a clean read. Ms. Williford is very open and honest about some of the struggles she has gone through (for example, sexual abuse and PTSD). She doesn't go into detail about her abuse. I want to thank Tricia Lott Williford and Tyndale House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
You Can Do This: Seizing the Confidence God Offers is an absolutely phenomenal book. I was fortunate enough to receive an autographed copy of this book from the author, Tricia Lott Williford, in exchange for being a part of the launch team and having the ability to read the book when it was still pre-release and in exchange for this totally unbiased review. This is one of the types of book that people like me read with a black ball point pen in hand, underlining key phrases and writing feverishly in the margins--Tricia seemed to be able to speak truth, both hers and God's--directly into my heart, one chapter at a time. Chapter 9 touched my heart in a unique way, and the way that Tricia describes opening her heart to meeting and getting to know Peter after having loved and lost is truly special. One quote in the book that meant a lot to me was in the chapter called Pass Your Brave Along. It said, "Having confidence means you can reclaim your story and decide what to do with it. That person who stole your confidence doesn't get to keep it. God holds every confidence, now and always, and it's free for the taking--and free for the sharing. Your vulnerability and setbacks are the very things that make you strong and brave. They are what allow you to say, "Somebody did that to me, but that wasn't the end of my story. Here's how I'm living differently. You can do it too. " I highly recommend this book.
First off, I forgot I had selected this book, so when it came in the mail my immediate thoughts were that it was a thin Christian fiction book. By completely ignoring the small writing in yellow in the top left corner, I flipped it over to realize it was a self-help style book. It's a cool cover with a hand lettering style. Kudo's on the designer of this cover. But to the book itself, I opened the book the next day during a slow period at work thinking I would get a feel for the book in the first few chapters and then set it aside. I was wrong. I didn't set it aside. Instead, I continued to flip page after page, chapter after chapter delving into the writing and thoughts shared by Tricia. The book is essentially guided us as women to find our confidence again. Consider it delightful self-help book to keep close and handy for those days that turn into weeks where you wonder where your self-confidence went. We all have those days and right now I'm having one of those months. So for me the book was timely. The back cover has a mantra that I believe every woman should chant to themselves and believe of themselves, "You are smart. You are kind. You are beautiful. You are confident." But within the pages of the book, Tricia, as she describes the book, is writing for herself to turn to when her confidence falters and in turn is sharing with us her guide to restoring confidence. I found her writing style to be one that spoke to me. I got her. I understood what she was saying and loved the majority of the book. Anything I didn't like was so nit-picky that it doesn't affect my overall rating of the book. This will be a book I will definitely share with others. There is nothing new inside that all of us don't already know, but it's delightfully written that you just want to ooze with confidence. I received this book from the publisher, Tyndale Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.