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Dr. Song's Corner

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Inadequacy Got You Down?

June 13, 2018
By Dr. Jason Song

Do you feel inadequate? That is, do you ever feel you're not measuring up to God's standard or someone’s expectation? Are you troubled by your character flaws such as lack of self-control or anger management skills? If you do, well, you’re not alone. The feeling of inadequacy hits everyone hard--and fairly regularly.

I often hear students making negative comments like, “I'm not good enough,” or “I will never be able to do that,” or “I'm a failure.” These negative "talks" are derived from one’s sense of inadequacy, and I can tell that many young people feel unworthy or perhaps unlovable. Their negative self-talk reinforces their sense of inadequacy. It's a vicious cycle.

We need to remember that God created every person with a distinctive combination of temperament, interests, abilities, desires, and styles. Thank God that we're not all alike! Scripture clearly tells us that it is God who created and formed us, so knows who we are inside and out. There is nobody else like you in this world. I don't care if you have a twin brother or sister, even that person is not your carbon copy. We are indeed created fearfully and wonderfully and uniquely.

So, whenever you feel inadequate or that you're not measuring up to God's expectation, I would like you to remember the following “4 R’s”:

Resist perfectionism. Stop striving for perfection. Perfectionism is the great lie from the enemy and the world. You see, when we strive for perfection, we have a virtually 100% chance that we will fail. Now, it doesn't mean that we shouldn’t be doing our best. Of course we should! But, we must remember that we cannot be perfect.  

God is not interested in our being perfect. He knows that it will take a lifetime of trying and failing and trying again to pursue of holiness. In other words, sanctification is a long process. As long as we breathe and live, we won’t reach perfection, and we won’t be absolutely holy. So, resist perfectionism. Just give your very best in all that you do, and trust and depend on God as you live each day.

Remember your value and worth. Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your debt. That shows how valuable you are. Thanks to His sacrifice, you are no longer alienated from God. The blood of Jesus redeemed you, and you are now God's child, an heir. And, as such, you must remember that your inadequacy doesn’t hinder God from loving you. There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God, period! So, don’t let the feeling of inadequacy make you forget your worth and value.

Revel in God’s grace and mercy. Isn’t it wonderful that God forgives us? How marvelous is His grace and mercy! We deserve punishment but he forgave us. We don't deserve blessings, but He showers His lavish love upon us. Sure, we may feel inadequate from time to time, or feel as if we failed to live up to God's expectation--or perhaps our own unrealistic expectation--but the good news is that God loves, God forgives nonetheless. And, He rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). So, the best response to this truth is to be thankful and marvel at His grace. 

Release the grace that you have received from God to others. In education, we say that “mastery” is achieved when the student is able to teach others what he/she has learned. When we are able to share with others--especially the younger generation or those who are new in faith--the above 3 R’s, we are passing on the legacy of faith. We are helping others to not fall prey to the enemy’s lies.

We are strengthening the next generation to experience God's grace by continuing to run the race though we may feel incapable and inadequate occasionally. Through our example, the next generation will be encouraged to find liberty in His grace, and give their very best effort while remembering that perfection is not the goal.

In conclusion, it is quite natural for all of us to feel inadequate or fall short of standards or expectations we have established for ourselves. But God is fully aware of the fact that we will cannot live perfectly. He simply encourages us to give our best effort without giving up.

God, along with the myriad of our predecessors in faith, is cheering us on, and encouraging us to keep running the race. So, let's keep that in mind when the feeling of inadequacy cripples us. Let's break through that bondage by holding on to the truth. 

(Adapted from Charles Swindoll)