Sunday, April 16, 2006

Self Efficacy

So, just in case you're like I was about 9 months ago, ignorant about about the world of behavioral theory, (and pretty darn happy about it for that matter) I will briefly explain self efficacy before launching into my assault of it. Brain child of Albert Bandura, it basically means one's belief in their own ability to do something. So, your self efficacy for eating jellybeans would be your belief in your ability to put them in your mouth and chew? Not can you do it? Do you believe that you can? But maybe this was a bad example.

Anyway, moving on, self efficacy is an idea that we over-kill in public health. But there is so much of a conflict in me about this idea even though I use it a lot when we have to justify what we are writing about using theory. My conflict comes because, as a Christian, a foundational premise of my faith is that I am the chief of sinners. As such, I believe that I will always fail. No matter how hard I believe that I can do something, I know that I will always fail. We will all always fail apart from Christ. So, sometimes I feel like a phony thinking about teaching people to "believe in themselves." It is a false hope. And when we fail ourselves, what have we left besides Christ? If I am teaching a health belief system without Him, do I even believe in what I am teaching?

Life has taught me that there is always someone better than me, that I am much less qualified to do what I am doing than many others. There's always someone faster, someone smarter, someone prettier, someone more popular, someone with more talent. I get really lost in despair when I am not remembering what Christ has done on my behalf. Why can't I always be confident? If I have hope at all it is in Jesus Christ alone.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." - 2 Corinthians 4:7

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