Feelings of Inadequacy
By Shawn Michael Shoup on February 20 2013
Ever look to the left of you? And then to the right. And then back to the left again. And just feel overwhelmingly small?
LOTS of times.
In fact, I struggle with those kinds of feelings far too often.
I had a season in junior high / early high school where I was teased, bullied and ridiculed quite frequently. And I think the residue of that still sticks with me.
As that hurt and rejected young man, I often thought to myself, "How can I ever measure up?" It seemed like everyone around me was pointing fingers, looking down at me, and utterly unimpressed at who I was -- who I was trying to be.
Maybe you experienced something like that at some point in your life. It's easy to let that carry over into your adult life.
Here I am. I'm 35 years old. I have about fifteen years of youth ministry experience under my belt. Lots of wins. And, yes, lots of fails. I've learned and grown considerably through it all. And I'm about to help launch a student ministry at our new church.
I can still feel the fingers pointing at me. I still look to the left. And to the right. And to the left again. And I wonder to myself, "Am I really relevant anymore? Should I even be doing this? Are the students just gonna laugh?" And I start to feel really inadequate.
It's only when I allow Jesus into the conversation that my landscape begins to change. Because when Jesus comes on the scene, He shines light on the dark places inside my spirit-man. He uncovers the lies that I believed, even from way back in junior high school, that have held on and eroded away at the truth. The truth that I am called and equipped by the One who fashioned and formed me.
When I talk to Jesus about this, His response is, "Stop comparing yourself, Jack! -- in true Duck Dynasty fashion, because you know that He loves that show -- I didn't mold you or make you to do things like the good ol' boy down the road. I created you to be YOU. So just stop trying to be Joe-Preacher, or Slick-ProPresenter or Awesome-UpFrontGame-Challenge-Dude! Just be you and you'll be the most content, happy and fulfilled youth pastor in the neighborhood." Or at least, that's how He says it in my head.
When I start to remember that my identity, my gifts and my calling are from Him, I begin to be able to let go of my feelings of inadequacy. If He equips me, how can I fail? If He gives me the words, where is my concern? If He goes before me, I'll be just fine.
So stop looking around you. You might want to even stop looking in the mirror. And just look at Him. He made you and He's pretty darn proud of you. I promise.