“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5
Lately I have been feeling incredibly inadequate in nearly every area of my life.
I don’t feel adequate in school as it is not magically becoming easier or more enjoyable. I don’t feel adequate to be working at camp this summer because of constant comparison. I feel like I fail as a friend daily. I know for a fact I fail in my relationship with the Lord. And don’t even get me started on my feelings about post graduation. So you could say I’ve been pretty “down on myself” lately.
But then God picks my head up. He dusts me off. Wipes away the tears. And He says, of course you are inadequate, but do you think I am?
See, the problem with feelings of inadequacy is that they generally (or always) stem from the fact that we look to ourselves, not Him, to figure out how to live this life. And we look to this world to find approval and to find something or someone to tell us we are enough. But there is always going to be that one (or four) classes that we aren’t good at, or that person that is always going to seem better than us, or that terrible voice in our head from the enemy telling us we are not enough.
I’m a big fan of looking up definitions for words so the internet’s definition of inadequate is: insufficient for a purpose. And that’s the truth. Without the Lord, we are insufficient to be able to fulfill our purpose on this earth.
Think about the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (Luke 9:10-17). Jesus spent the day speaking to a crowd about the kingdom of God. Then as the day was coming to an end the disciples told Jesus to send the crowd away to go eat and find places to stay for the night. Then Jesus, being Jesus, said no let’s feed them. Can you just imagine the look, that was probably a very common one, on the disciples faces? Here is a crowd of 5000 people and they have 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Pretty inadequate right? 5 loaves and 2 fishes were pretty insufficient for the purpose put before them. Somehow they forgot who they were with because Jesus said let’s do this thing. And they did. And everyone ate to their hearts content and there were leftovers!
I think about the disciples and wonder how in the world they could doubt Jesus and His ability to make what little food they had work. But then I am hit with the reality that I do this every day. I wake up in this world full of need and 100 different things pulling me every direction and say “Jesus I can’t do this, I am not enough”. And if the disciples had been in front of the 5000 alone, without Jesus, they wouldn’t have been able to do it either. But the truth that I seem to often forget is that I’m not doing this life alone and I never have to.
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” – Psalm 68:19
So He looks at me and says “Of course you aren’t enough. But I am.” Can we just believe that with every fiber of our being today? HE IS ENOUGH. He wants to use us. We get to be used by Him! The disciples had to embrace the fact that they were inadequate on their own so that they had to trust Jesus. If they had tried to feed those people with what they had, they would have had some angry people on their hands. And if we think that we are going to somehow make it through this life without Him, we are going to fail and we going to constantly be in this cycle of feeling too inadequate to do any good.
But if we just come and sit at His feet and ask Him to use us in our inadequacy, He will do things we could never even dream of.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
So I want to start learning to embrace my inadequacy in a way that points me to his extremely adequate power. He is more than enough for us. His adequacy is shown through my inadequacy.
Analogies are my favorite things ever, so God likes to give them to me, so here’s the one that hit me while thinking about all of this.
I think of this as a child that wants to have a lemonade stand. She knows the family recipe and she wants to share the awesome lemonade with everyone that passes her house. However, she wants to make the lemonade all on her own, no help from anyone else. Unfortunately she’s not strong enough to carry the massive pitcher of lemonade outside but instead of asking her dad for help she tries anyway. So naturally it falls on the ground and shatters and the awesome lemonade is ruined and won’t be able to be shared today. Her dad watches her, waiting for the moment she will realize she can’t share this lemonade on her own. He patiently waits and when she finally gives up and asks, he doesn’t tell her “I told you so” or make her do extra chores for his help. Instead he lovingly and excitedly helps her.
This is the heart of our Father. So let’s stop being stubborn and let Him help us share the lemonade.