confidence – noun | \ˈkän-fə-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s\

: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
: a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something
: the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true

Any time anyone in our family goes near the basement door, our cat Shadow, whom we call KiKi, runs to our side and meows like crazy. If one of us actually goes down the stairs, she zips off ahead and stands in front of the dryer. She cries and cries until she gets a lift up to where her food and water bowl sit. Then, she looks around expectantly, hoping for some company while she eats.

Until last week, that is.

Kiki passed “kitten” phase years ago. While she was able to jump up on the dryer herself to eat and drink — I’ve seen her do it myself — it was a small challenge to her aging feline body, even with the short ramp I constructed out of spare bricks I found in our unfinished basement. Last week, when a problem with our washer forced us to purchase a new duet-set high efficiency washer and dryer that are easily six inches taller than our older models, I knew Kiki’s jumping days were over.  So I moved her bowls to a more accessible, self-serve location on a storage tub on the opposite wall.

cat desk my word of the week confidence

Just put the darn things on the floor so she can get to them, you must be thinking. And if it weren’t for Tilly, who you may remember is our 5-year-old black Labrador Retriever, I’d say, Great idea and get right on it. But with Tilly, a bowl on the floor (or at any level she can reach) is a bowl she’s going to eat from, regardless of whose name is on it. So the new location of KiKi’s food and water need to meet at least two criteria: be accessible to KiKi and be unaccessible to Tilly.

The storage tub makes the perfect spot (why didn’t I think of it before?) because it is nestled among several boxes and other containers that create a natural, upward path for KiKi. No high jumps required. Shortly after I made the switch, Kiki was meowing by the dryer again and I walked her over to the new location. She hopped right up without the least little strain. Problem solved!

Except KiKi still waits at the top of the stairs and meows every time I go near the basement door. Sometimes, her furry little memory is shaky and she follows me downstairs and waits in front of the dryer. But as often as not, I’ll walk downstairs and she goes straight to the new bowl location, climbs right up, and starts eating while I’m standing there. See, you can do it, I tell her, rubbing her ears while she eats her kibble.

This morning as I thought about the work ahead of me, I wrote in my journal: “I feel like a fraud … for every success, I wait for failure.” It’s not like I had something new or different to do today. I hadn’t promised anything I hadn’t done a hundred times. One project is a little longer, a little bigger than I’ve tackled before, but not out of reach. Why was I struggling?

As I prayed, I thought of Kiki and her unwillingness to jump to her food bowl without help, or at least company. She has a confidence problem, I decided. But then realized I was the only one really struggling. Kiki knows she can jump, but she prefers to be carried. In my case, the Lord wants to carry me, but I’d prefer to jump, even if I’m not sure I can.

It’s not how high I jump or how often. It’s that you lift me up. You are my confidence, I wrote as a prayer.

“Do not trust in princes, in mortal man,” the Psalmist writes. I just happened to turn to Psalm 146 as I finished breakfast this morning. “How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”

What’s YOUR word of the week? Drop it into the comments section, or share it on this week’s Facebook post. If you post about your word on your blog, please slip the link into a comment below so I can stop by and join you.

Photo by Loreto Manriquez via Unsplash. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.