What is your knee-jerk response when you feel inadequate?
Do you try to out-run and out-prove it?
Numb it and forget it?
Shame and disqualify yourself for it?
Positive affirmation your way out of it?
For many of us, we loathe feeling inadequate. Often times we see our inadequacy or our weaknesses as something that takes us out of the race, makes us less than, and disqualifies us.
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve benched myself from many things God has called me to do in the name of feeling “inadequate.” When I compare what God has called me to do with who I actually am, the skills I possess, and my own capabilities, I can easily convince myself of this lie:
Well, God just set me up for failure when He made me.
With the personality I have, the past I have, the temptations I face, and the struggles I somehow always come back to. I was set up for failure.
Maybe you’ve been there, maybe you are there now. But I want to flip this thought on its head today and ask this question of us:
How does God see our inadequacy?
Here’s what I’ve found to be true, God did not set you and I up for failure when He made us. (Even though, I’ll be the first to admit, it feels that way to me sometimes). He didn’t set us up for failure. There isn’t a flaw in our design. But he did design us for something else–He designed us to need Him.
And yet, we live in a culture that prizes, celebrates, and encourages independence. So much of our lives are spent trying to outrun inadequacy, prove that we’re competent and capable, and do all we can to eradicate weakness and need from our lives. We don’t want to be needy because it is natural for us to fall into the trap of being self-sufficient.
Self sufficiency will aim to keep us free from needing God and others, but the truth of the Gospel sets us free TO need God and others. And we’ve got to come into alignment with that truth of our design.
This thought of being designed to need God brings my mind back to what God spoke to Paul:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And to this, Paul concluded: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9, ESV).
Today, I want to present another option, another way we can view our inadequacy:
Inadequacy is not a disqualification that we have to out-run and out-prove, but rather a sacred invitation Christ beckons us to respond to.
We will ultimately live like one of these things are true: we will either spend our lives outrunning inadequacy and we will bear the fruit of exhaustion, anxiety, pride, and loneliness. Or, we can choose to respond to the invitation Christ offers to show up not enough, to show up needy, unqualified, but available to God working in and through us–and the fruit of that, is that people will not see OUR strength, but they can meet and know the source of our strength and know Him.
When you come up against those feelings of inadequacy and the temptation to measure up, remind yourself of these three truths:
I can show up “not enough” and Christ will prove to be more than enough in this situation.
This inadequacy is an invitation for me to ask the Holy Spirit to be my help. Then, people will see the power of Christ working in and through me.
I have nothing to prove. I have nothing to protect. My identity is secure, and hidden in Christ–I do not have to measure up.
We don’t have to let inadequacy disqualify us from the race we’ve been called to run. Instead, we can see it as an invitation to need and rely on the power of God. This is how we live and run free.
If you need a tangible reminder of what to do when you feel inadequate, here is a printable prayer you can put up in your closet, bathroom, in your office, or wherever you need it most! Enjoy!