This was the entry that didn’t want to be written. While I was in the middle of it yesterday, and the creative juices were really flowing, a storm passed through our area and knocked out the internet before I had hit the save button. I know better but stuff happens. So I will try to re-construct it today.
The subject of feeling inadequate came up the other day while talking with a friend. My friend had been hit with that feeling during a rather hectic week of incidents which stirred some of these feelings. After our conversation, and while walking with my wife, I thought of several ways to approach the subject in blog-land, knowing that we all have had similar thoughts about ourselves.
It is interesting to note the many words that begin with “in” and that most cause us to focus on what we are not rather than on what we are. In addition to inadequate there is: introspective. inward, inability and indirect. And these are just a few that come to mind. I am not trying to write a thesis here, just explore some ideas.
My friend certainly doesn’t have a lock on feeling inadequate. I remember a time in my life that represents what I am aiming for in this entry.
I had an old Buick that I had bought from a friend which I drove for a couple of years. We called it “the bomb” because it was big and an ugly green color which had gone from gloss to dull mat over the years. I had noticed that the hood was a bit uneven and when I tried to fix it I ended up cracking my windshield. It was just one of those days but the feelings that rose up in relation to this event were far bigger than what you would expect. At first I thought the cracked windshield was a sure sign that my life was certainly messed up—why else would this happen to me—I felt like I was being punished. That I had done something so stupid which in turn made the “bomb” a bit more broken and me a bit more inadequate than I was already feeling by this point. It was as they say in the south a real “pity party”.
That is until I went by the church I attended the very next day. There, parked by the entrance, was the pastor’s van which lo and behold had a big crack all the way across the windshield. It was a little bit of cosmic humor. My thinking was (don’t be to hard on me) that this man was certainly more spiritual than me and if his window was cracked then that must be something that just happens and I was not singled out to be punished or inadequate to the degree that I felt when I heard the crack begin to make its way across the windshield of my “bomb”.
I guess the point is also that when we look inside ourselves we are always going to see some areas that are still under construction—areas that we are less than pleased with. If our focus remains this way—inward as opposed to outward—then we will be destined to travel around that mountain again and again.
Feelings of inadequacy begin to be planted early in our lives and we don’t really realize that they are there until much later—at times and places that are not always predictable or rational. I don’t remember my parents ever telling me that I was a blessing to them or that I was destined to be a success in whatever I laid my hand to. Just the opposite—I remember times of being told how they didn’t think I would ever amount to anything. And when you are young you can’t filter out your parents frustration and what they are feeling from what is really going on. I realize now that they didn’t get any affirmation from their folks and so really didn’t know how to give what they had not received. It is a pattern I have seen repeated in many of my friends lives as well.
However, when examined, we find that Jesus suffered on the cross for our inadequacies. That His thoughts about us are that we are “…more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37)”.
He specializes in taking broken things and making them whole again. Our part in all of this is not getting into a wrong inward focus mode which ends up highlighting all our flaws, but rather in an outward focus mode that allows us to see ourselves as complete and forgiven even before we need it.
Not that we don’t deal with our stuff or look inside—but only in a redemptive way that will release us to be all that we have been created to be—not condemed to suffer for something that has already been taken care of for us.
It’s a ride we are all on—say hello as you pass by.