Why I need to be Inadequate

Why I need to be Inadequate

I listen to people’s stories. I sit and turn my ear and my heart to receive the precious gift they have to offer. I never feel adequate. I never feel able to make any sort of difference, but something happens.

I am inadequate, and I want to stay that way.

How do you react to feelings of inadequacy?

Do you run? Do you avoid people who make you feel less than capable? Perhaps you build walls to protect yourself—walls of rules that people have to meet if they are to have a relationship with you.

In commenting about the Christian care for victims of crime, Chris Marshall writes this.

Many are uneasy with “the coarse, unedited feelings that spew from deep inside the one who has been victimised – the pain, anger, despair, grief, and desire for revenge.” Such raw emotions are hard to hear, and trite responses are common. Chris Marshall

I often sit with people who share their pain. I feel totally inadequate.

Reverberating in the brain is a whisper of ‘What can I do, what can I offer to them?
I need to be inadequate.

My inadequacy has been the tipping point for spiritual growth. It’s the place God takes me to time and time again.

Do I like this? No, never!

I have learned, however to listen to the reassuring whispers of Spirit – ‘Trust me on this, go on, your inadequacy is met by my adequacy, and together were up to the task’

I have also learned to listen to the stories of fellow ‘inadequate’s.’

Inadequacy is an opportunity for us to move from self-reliance to reliance on others and God. We self reliantly tell ourselves, ‘I can run this life, on my own, and on my terms.’

I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen people come to a point of being stuck, on whether they will simply trust or not. To move from a position of self-reliance to a vulnerable situation of inadequacy.

They say, in not so many words,  ‘If you’re going to help me, then you’re going to do it my way.’

The demand arises. ‘My inadequacy, my needs must be met by this person, this organization, this group in this way.’

Are we inadequately waiting with empty hands for Father, Jesus, and Spirit to meet our inadequacy with their adequacy, their way, their time?

Supernatural goals need supernatural resources. Larry Crabb

I have learned that the more I try and become adequate for the task, the greater the potential there is of slipping seductively away from God providing in a miraculous and surprising way.

My inadequacy becomes an opportunity for dependence on Spirit in a way that can actually help me listen to Spirit rather than relying on my natural strength and coming up will all the right things to say and do.

How do we learn to embrace inadequacy?

  1. Look back and trust past learning experiences. You will have had past experiences of being inadequate, yet you kept going ahead.
  2. Trust that God will be with you, even if you fail. ‘Only uncertainty breeds stable hope.  Only failure and fear escort you to the centre of your God-filled soul and will then release you to be the poem of God’s making.’ Larry Crabb
  3. Take risks. Allow yourself to be in places of inadequacy. Little by little, learn to trust. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King
  4. Listen deeply. Listen to yourself, to others, to Daddy, Jesus, and Spirit. Learn to trust.

I wonder what would happen if we all embraced our inadequacy. If we came out of our protective self–sufficiency. Perhaps more giants would be slain and more miracles would abound.
How do you respond to moments of inadequacy?
Comment below about learning from inadequacy?

Barry Pearman
Image: Free Souls Embrace by Pink Sherbet (Flicker: Creative Commons)

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