How often do you feel inadequate?
Yesterday a trusted friend gave me insightful, to the point, Godly advice. And she’s been doing this for the past few years. She had me in tears for saying exactly what I needed to hear.
But then I found a new reason for crying. I found out the past year was the most difficult she has ever been through. And I didn’t have a clue. She lives far away and I never would have guessed she’s suffering, because she’s always filled with joy. Amidst her struggles, she finds the time to pray for me and send me spot on messages whenever I need them.
My immediate reaction was to fall to my knees and pray. If she’s helping me fight and conquer my situations, shouldn’t I do the same for her?
But my prayers would have been driven by guilt. And that’s no way to start interceding for someone. I felt inadequate as a believer in not helping everyone that helps me.
And I think feelings of inadequacy stop many of us from living our potential and reaching the goals we and God have for us. It’s an excellent tool the enemy uses against us to debilitate us, steal our enthusiasm and prevent us from acting.
Do any of these lies apply to your life?
1. The Pastor Does this Better than I do
What makes me mad is that you allow one small thought to block all the possibilities of your life.
I ask a friend to pray for me on a specific matter. She starts her message (what she feels on her heart after praying) to me with ‘I’m not good at this, but here goes…’ Two minutes later I’m in tears. Her vivid, detailed message is exactly what I’ve been praying about and she confirms things my husband and I have been praying about for months.
“not good at this”. I think not. Why do you believe the lies that you can’t hear His voice or that what He shows you is only your imagination?
2. I Don’t Help Anyone – I’m Worthless
I felt so bad not knowing about my friend’s challenges. Her husband is struggling with cancer and I’m supposed to give her hope to get through her days. Right?
The day before she messaged me I was having a conversation with a childhood friend who is battling cancer. I can’t heal her. I can’t relieve her pain. But I could encourage, give her her children’s perspective, as I went through the same struggle with my own mother.
I remember feeling exhilarated while exchanging simple messages with her. That’s when I believe (know) that it’s God’s work at hand. Because He’s more than the One bringing healing. He is also the One providing love, care and wisdom along the way. And that day I could be at least one of those things.
When last did you feel joy rushing through your veins while talking with a friend or while standing in a queue and chatting with a stranger? That was Him using you.
3. I Don’t do Enough
It’s the quickest way to feel like a useless believer. I look at the score card and see how few people I’ve helped in the past few months.
You must understand: I’m a counselor by nature. I want to save the world from all their troubles. When I don’t, I feel worthless. FEEL worthless…not AM worthless.
Because in the past few months I also learnt valuable lessons. I know I went through a season of recuperation in preparation for some changes my husband and I are planning.
How will I help others if I’m so tired I can scarcely get out of bed? Burnout is a real thing. And I believe God understands the need for rest. That’s why I needed people to support and advise me. 12 months later I’m a revived person who can once again give out love and hope.
And yes, we all fail to listen to His guidance sometimes. You probably miss out on many opportunities to show Him to others. I do too.
But He doesn’t keep score. Forget about yesterday. In THIS moment. What are you capable of? Who is around you? What will you do?
4. I Can’t Help Others While I Have Sin/Problems
This one goes hand in hand with the lie listed above. Does your problems keep you from living your faith?
No one is perfect. Realise that truth. And then see how God uses fallible humans every day. And He wants to use you.
But our beliefs determine our actions. If you BELIEVE He can’t use you, you won’t hear His guiding voice. You won’t think you’re the one supposed to help someone across the street or smile at someone who needs it. What difference can you make, right?
The truth? A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
I’m blessed most by people who aren’t necessarily church-going, Bible-bashing Christians. Their attempts at helping and caring are so pure. Their goodness is seated in innocence because they’re not trying to impress anyone.
This purity in many friends I met after leaving full-time ministry showed me-and helped me believe once again-that goodness still exists in this world.
And I can’t even begin to describe the exhilaration of seeing someone’s eye light up when I help them in a small way. It tells me that my current problem will also find a solution. Soon…or eventually. But it will.
5. I Fail When I Don’t Help Those Who Help Me
Being a community of believers isn’t always a direct reciprocal thing. It needs to be paid forward. Some people help me so I can help others.
A few days before my friend gave me insightful advice I left a Christmas message for another friend whom I never see. She’s in Thailand. I have no idea what’s going on in her life either, but I care for her deeply.
What started as a recorded Christmas message ended up as a long monologue of what I felt God had in store for her. I didn’t plan it. I just felt the joy rush through my veins and knew this is what God wanted her to hear. I could do for her what others do for me. It was a ripple effect.
Look at the start of this article. Can you see I called them ‘feelings’ of inadequacy? Feelings aren’t real. They’re not truths. And if you’re living with a lie of inadequacy, you have to counter it with the truth: that every day you’re doing your best and you’ll find unique ways of living your faith. The opportunities are all around you. Focus on them, instead of the guilt (lie) and see how many lives-including yours-will be transformed.
God calls us to change the world. You have no idea how many ways there are to do this. Go find yours.