I was always a shy kid. I loved spending time by myself, I never liked to be in the spotlight, I would turn red if someone looked at me. I can remember singing in the Christmas concert at church, backwards so I couldn’t see all the people in the audience.
One day in junior high we were asked the question of what we wanted to do with our lives after we graduated. I took a leap of faith and raised my hand very excited to share what I had been dreaming about. It was a big thing for me to share my vision of my future. The reaction I got was, “You’ll never be able to achieve that.” That response came from a high school teacher, someone who should have cheered me on toward my aspirations. Instead, that interaction was one of many that fed my feelings of inadequacy; the idea I had about myself that I wasn’t good enough, and would never be good enough.
It’s no real surprise that our negative feelings about ourselves will be fed at certain times in our lives, especially if we possess a negative self image. Our enemy is a liar, a deceiver, one who wants to cripple us and keep us from our destiny. And if he can do that by convincing us that we will never amount to anything, then he will pull out all the stops. If he can get us to focus on what we perceive as shortcomings and inadequacies, then we will begin to believe that whatever God has placed in our hearts is beyond our reach.
We are not the only people who have struggled with inadequacies. For example, Moses had a bag of excuses such as telling God that he was slow of speech and therefore could not lead the Israelites in their journey from bondage to freedom. Gideon came from, by his own admission, the least of the tribes of Israel, and saw himself as the least of that tribe; yet God used him to defeat the Midianites with a skeleton army. The disciples were a bunch of misfits! For example, Peter needed anger management, Matthew was a tax collector- the equivalent of a national traitor and thief, and James and John Jesus called the “sons of thunder”, perhaps for their fiery judgmental dispositions! The truth is, each had their own issues, their inadequacies. But despite their flaws, God called them, commissioned them, and empowered them to be His representatives. Saul of Tarsus was a murderer, trying to eliminate all of the Christians around, but a powerful encounter with Jesus changed the course of his life, and sent him on missionary journeys to win the lost. There are so many more examples of people who had things that could have held them back and hang them up, but God chose them, despite their weaknesses, and in response, they chose to trust God and obey Him! God used them because of their willingness to let Him change them and be seen in them, and great things were accomplished because of it.
What if we decided that, although we feel ill equipped, unprepared, and maybe even unworthy, God knows what He’s doing when He calls us to a certain assignment? He sees the deepest parts of our hearts, knitted us together in our mother’s womb, knows our innermost being, He knows who He’s calling better than we know ourselves. He sees what we can only imagine and He wants to shine through us.
2 Corinthians 12:9&10 say, “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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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.”
We have the promise that when we are called to do something that doesn’t fall into the category of our strong suits that God will be made strong in us and that our victory will shine with His glory.