Journeying through inadequacy
Those moments were not good enough surfaces with the desperate need for affirmation. Self-doubt overtakes. Am I good enough? I can’t do this! I am a failure! Instead of feeling like an overcomer suddenly, you’re drowning in feelings of being overwhelmed. Everything screams to be heard, to be seen, and to have a voice.
Nothing challenged my inadequacies more than parenthood. I went from being slightly mature in reality – not in my own assumption of myself – to being entrusted with another person’s growth and development in all areas of their lives. The more children I had, the more I had to separate myself from situations of tears, fights and multitasking. I had to learn the skill of self-awareness instead of selfless disengagement. This disengagement only occurred from a place of putting family above my own well-being all under the disguise of love.
Isn’t this a typical tendency of human beings?
The tendency to become a martyr for love. We think we are doing the right thing: showing love by running like a frustrated headless chicken, when in truth the greatest gift we can give anyone is a contented and whole me. This was something I had to learn and honestly I am still learning.
I reached out to someone with years of experience in the parenting game. Someone I trusted. With their help, I learned the value of identifying my own needs. Whenever I feel inadequate and overwhelmed, I ask myself:
What do I need?
Over time I became aware that my needs usually pertained to needing affirmation, obedience, an extra hand, or a bit of space. My next step, was to vocalize those needs. More often than not voicing my needs was as simple as telling myself; other times it would be telling my spouse. With practice, I became better at noticing my needs and triggers. Through all this I drew strength from God. I knew with certainty, he was with me, helping me. I sought His grace, strength and patience. Every time I’d feel His peace as He gently touched my shoulder. I could do this. I am a great parent. Before I knew it, I had conquered the drama. TV was on, kids bathed, and dinner simmering. Peace reigned in my heart and home. I had made it.
Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons I learned was that as people, our brains are created for “I can”. When we say I can’t, we take on a weaker, inferior level of functioning and performance. Hopelessness and failure rush in like a tidal wave.
Fear. Our two root emotions are fear and love. Fear births inadequacy, failure, doubt, defeat, pity and so on. Love brings peace, security, hope, light, joy. In this light, overcoming my inadequacies has become paramount. I want my children to feel love more than fear. Love is the greatest power and we get to use it to make life meaningful. Fear closes. Love opens.
Consider 1 John 4: 18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
In the midst of my inadequacies I began to learn that love is the only thing that drives my fears away. After all inadequacy is merely another form of fear manifesting in fear of failure or rejection. I realized that I always have two choices: operate from fear or live in love. To live in love, I need only remember that God loves me unconditionally, that I am accepted and that there is nothing for me to do to earn God’s love which is already given to me. Love drives out all form of fear. Love conquers and overcomes.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because inadequacies are a natural part of life. We have to overcome them frequently. What we need is the know-how, the skills to identify personal needs, speak up, and lean into God more than ever knowing He is good and faithful. We need to know that there is no fear in God. He sees us as adequate. Living from a place of love brings confidence, security, and freedom. Freedom to enjoy life and see the world as enjoyable. We become a place of security for others to be around thus creating an environment for their own growth to bloom.
I share this with you because I believe that more people than we realize battle with their own inadequacies wondering how they can overcome and live secure. We don’t talk about our struggles for fear of vulnerability. Ultimately we don’t feel safe. My heart is for you who do struggle with fears and inadequacies to know that you are not alone. I want you to know that you can live in a place of freedom and grace that supersedes your expectations and beliefs. That God is for you cheering you on to greatness. I encourage you to lean into Him allowing His love to secure and anchor you.