How Our Culture Addresses Feelings of Inadequacy
I’ve noticed something recently.
I think we’re becoming less and less okay with feeling inadequate.
Not good enough.
It makes sense since it’s quite vulnerable and uncomfortable to feel inadequate. And, we are a culture that increasingly values comfort and ease. These difficult feelings can have us spinning, stopping us in our tracks, fearful of moving forward and fully offering ourselves to this world in the ways God intended and has purposed.
The world responds to these feelings of inadequacy with words like:
- Fake it until you make it.
- Pick yourself up by your bootstraps.
- You are good enough.
These aren’t all bad – I don’t think. I guess they can have a place in some contexts. But, as I recently found myself reflecting on my feelings of inadequacy and insecurity as a spiritual director, I sensed a deeper invitation than to simply address them with words of mustered confidence and forced fortitude.
I asked God what He thought about all this.
Scriptures About Inadequacy
Turns out we find responses in Scripture that attest to our feelings of not being enough in our own strength. Here are just a few:
- If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5
- He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because My power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
- My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26
As I lingered in my feelings of inadequacy in the presence of God, I thought “maybe these feelings aren’t all that bad.” It seems Scripture is drawing some deeper connections between my feelings of weakness and how He shows up and meets us. I have noticed hesitations in my mind and heart to move forward with what I think God is calling me to do. But, I didn’t want to try to pull myself out of them so quickly. I wanted to find God in them and wonder with Him what His invitation might be.
What if I am to sit in the insufficiency a bit? Not coach myself out of it but instead, sink down and find God ready and very willing to be my sufficient grace? To be my perfected strength?
It’s a mystical reality to surrender to the sobering truth that I am actually not enough on my own and that in the surrender there is a sweet freedom.
The answer I’m looking for is: Him + me.
As I consider the gifts and callings I believe He has been preparing me to offer this world, I know in my core that as long as He is with me (which is what He has promised!) my offering is going to be enough. I don’t actually have to summon the bold confidence to forge ahead in my own power.
More Biblically Accurate Ways to Address Our Feelings of Inadequacy
I am enough because He is with me.
“I’ve got this” because “He’s got me.”
I can take that next scary step because God delights in accomplishing big things through my small obedience.
I might not be enough for the world’s ways. But, I’m enough for the Lord’s ways.
I may not be adequate in the eyes of the world. But, I have all that is required in the mind and heart of God.
So, I will boast in this:
- I can do nothing apart from Him!
- I don’t actually know what I’m doing!
- I am still learning!
- I’m not going to do things perfectly!
- I don’t have to be an expert!
- Jesus, where in my life do I feel inadequate?
- Father, how do you want to be with me in light of this?
- God, what do you want to say to me about me?
- Holy Spirit, search my heart and know me. Show me how I try to do things apart from Jesus and not in step with You.
- Lord, what do you want to do together with me today?