Fighting the Feelings of Inadequacy
Have you ever felt overwhelmed and "inadequate"? Maybe before doing something or after something you did that didn’t quite work out the way you thought it would? I've felt this way many times; years ago when deciding to travel with an international music group, before getting married, before my first child was born, when speaking to 2,000 people a couple of times, and various times giving leadership to the churches I've pastored. It’s not that I didn’t prepare well. It’s that at some points I just felt “inadequate” to the task or responsibility. I call those moments my “oh God what have I done or am going to do” moments.
I think the feeling of inadequacy affects everyone to some degree from time to time. According to surveys, times of feeling inadequate is common, especially in leaders. It’s also common to try to fake it, bluff your way through it, or appear like we know what to do when we feel “inadequate” at home, at work, in school, in church, in the company, community, in conversations, etc.
I understand those feelings of inadequacy from time to time in mere mortals like you and me, but not in great preachers, leaders and Pastors like the Apostle Paul; the bold “Pharisee of Pharisees” who became the Christian that planted the most churches in the New Testament and whose letters comprise most of the New Testament.
In 2 Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “When I came to you, I did not come with excellence of speech or words of wisdom declaring the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I was with you in weakness, fear and trembling. My speech and preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit ‘s power, so your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
Sometime after Paul planted the church in Corinth in Acts 18, he wrote 1st Corinthians. Then sometime after that he visited there again. Apparently, that “painful visit” 2Cor2:1, didn’t go too well, which is not surprising as Paul’s visits usually ended in revivals, riots or both.
Paul experienced feelings of inadequacy and admitted to it. He knows he wasn’t very impressive and wasn’t trying to be, because he knew that’s not what people need. People don’t need great orators with pearls of wisdom dripping and dropping from their lips. What people need is the genuine demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power, so people’s faith, trust and life will rest on God, not in or on other people.
That’s not to say preachers and Pastors shouldn’t prepare and present well (as best they can). But that the onus isn’t on their preaching or pastoring skills, but on people responding to the Power of God’s Holy Spirit, that supernaturally comes with God’s call and anointing on our lives as Christians.
If our inadequacy is about our natural limitations, our adequacy is about the limitless power of God in us. So focus your life and faith on the power of God’s Holy Spirit in you and forget feeling adequate or inadequate at home, work, school, church, company or community, because God’s power is perfected (made complete) in our human weakness.
Don’t you just love an ironic God who’s got our backs?
2 Corinthians 2:1-5, 1Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:13