When You Feel Inadequate
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10
“I’m just not adequate to do the job!” If you have never thought that, you are probably the exception because almost everyone at times looks at the height of the mountain to be climbed or the depth of the chasm that has to be crossed and says, “Not me! I’m just not up to it.”
Nothing is more fascinating to me than people—what makes some succeed and others give up before they even try to accomplish something. There’s an aphorism that goes, “Ignorance is bliss”; and mixed with falsehood there is a small grain of truth in that. Vast numbers of people have been ignorant of the fact that they could not do something and end up doing what others have said could not be done. There’s a quality that doesn’t show up on MRIs or can’t quite be defined, called initiative, and whereas there may be five siblings in a family, one of them born to the same parents, raised in the same environment has a dream and doesn’t listen to the detractors that tell him or her it can’t be done, and eventually the dream is fleshed out and succeeds.
Everyone can hide behind the veneer or the shield of inadequacy. Take, for example, Moses—called by God at the age of 80, at a time when most men are looking for a rocking chair beside the fireplace. Of course, he told God why he was inadequate—his age, he wasn’t fluent, and certainly wasn’t accustomed to speaking to VIPs. Surely God could have found someone more qualified, but He chose a man who had to depend completely upon Him.
God equips the called but rarely calls the equipped. Why does God pass by the more qualified individual with better family connections, smarter, and better education and choose the one who seemly is inadequate? Because those who have much, trust their own resources; while those who have little trust God completely.
One of our problems today is that we tend to pay our heroes to fight Goliath and shrink back from facing the tough giants and the tall mountains. When David took on Goliath, he was a youth—probably in his late teen years. Of course, he was inadequate. But empowered by the one who called him, he was more than adequate. So, here’s the issue. What does God want you to do? His purpose for you reflects your calling, and your calling is the key to accomplishment.
Does God ever call someone to fall on his face? Generally not, though God uses our failures to show us clearly where we missed His will and purpose, and uses them to help us accomplish what He wants.
Take time to study the lives of Old Testament warriors and you will see that for the most part, they were not really adequate in their own strength. The fact of the matter is what Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing!” Simply put, what you can do will never be enough, but what God can do through you is more than enough.
So, to recognize your inadequacy is the first step towards finding His strength and help. Read Paul’s description of his own inadequacies in Romans 7. Then read on into the following chapter where Paul, energized by the Spirit of God, presents an entirely different picture. When he wrote to the Philippians saying he could do all things through Christ who gave Him strength, it was not a boast of His accomplishments but the recognition of the fact that God’s strength is more than enough to overcome our inadequacies.
The giants are out there. The mountains are tall, and the chasms across the raging rivers are deep, but He is greater than them all. Never forget. Knowing your inadequacy is the key to trusting Him entirely. That’s the secret of knowing what He wants you to do.