25th May 2021

The deep feeling of inadequacy – Am I enough?

What a wonderful thing it would be to feel secure and ‘enough’. Could there be anything better than that feeling of confidence and assurance in ourselves. We may well be aware that we’re not perfect, but we know we have something to offer the world and the people around us. 

How great it is to feel: “I’ve got this. I can do it!”. What a good day that is. But then there are the days we might face a similar situation and, for some reason, instead of confidence, we feel swallowed up in self-doubt and a gripping fear of inadequacy.  It’s hard to make any decisions or move forward when the fear and panic in our hearts are shouting loudly that we’ll get it wrong or we will fail or that, somehow, what we have to offer just isn’t valuable or enough.

This insecurity and fear can creep into any area of our lives: as parents, in relationships, in the workplace, as a Christian.  In our hearts we don’t feel we have enough to give or have the abilities needed: all we see are our inadequacies and deficiencies.  The insecurity tells us that somehow, even though we are trying hard, we must be doing it wrong or be somehow second rate. The voice from inside cries: “Surely someone else could do this so much better than me”.  Encouragements can bring temporary light relief. But criticism, perceived or real, just re-enforces the dread bubbling deep inside.  How we feel isn’t based in the reality of actual circumstances (that’s a different problem). This is based in our own insecurity; our own self-doubt; our own lack of feeling that we are good enough or deserving of responsibility and worth.

The Lord cares not so much about the roles we have or whether we fail or succeed, but about the condition of our hearts.  When He looks on us, He doesn’t look with a measuring stick ranging from “excellent” to “bad”.  God looks on us with His Creator eyes.  He who made us knows the fundamental, intrinsic worth and value we have to Him. He knows the fundamental, intrinsic worth and value He put within us. It’s not based on what we do, but who we are; on who He made us to be and how He views us.

The gap between how God sees us and how we feel about ourselves can be vast.  Healing starts when we see ourselves through His perspective: His view soothes the self-doubts and causes us to stop perpetuating the self-condemnation.

So, where might we start the journey to believing we are ‘enough’?

Being real about the fact that there is a problem

The best place to start is being truthful with ourselves that there is a place of insecurity in our hearts.  If we’re really honest, deep inside, do we see ourselves as inferior or less than those around us? Perhaps there is a desperation for this not to be true and so we strive to prove that we are good enough or deserving of affirmation.

Who has helped shape these beliefs?

Such insecurity can be the fruit of beliefs in our inner being that have been reinforced over many years.  This may be the time to look back with honesty and forgiveness on those who shaped the ingrained beliefs we have about ourselves.  Maybe we copied how Mum and Dad seemed to feel about themselves; perhaps we sensed the same self-doubt from them?  Maybe painful words and discouragement were spoken over our lives: if so, then it’s time to forgive those people.  Or perhaps a lack of affirmation spoke confusion into our hearts from a young age and, aided by the enemy, we came to our own conclusions about our worth and value, or lack thereof.

Even culture – where we grew up, our ethnicity – can play a part in forming either positive or negative beliefs about our place in society and the intrinsic value we possess.  Sometimes we have to forgive more than just individuals. Sometimes we need to pray a forgiveness prayer over communities, Governments, people groups….

What to do

We can ask Jesus to help us to forgive. We can ask him to help us to be aware specifically of what we are forgiving: for example, for the words that have been spoken over us, the lack of provision or nurture that wasn’t given, the modelling that wasn’t healthy.

We could consider writing a letter to the people we need to forgive. We wouldn’t actually send it to them, but it would be part of a releasing process of articulating the pain and/or confusion.  At the end we could shred the letter as we forgive and release all those involved.

A time to heal

It would then be good to find a quiet space and take time to pray, inviting the Holy Spirit to come and bring His healing.  We can say: “Jesus please come with your healing to all my confusion, fear, self-doubt, self-rejection and pain”.  If we need to cry, we can let the tears fall and not try to push them away.  We can ask Jesus: “please bring your peace and security deep inside”.  We may want to keep doing this as we feel insecurities rising during the day. We can set time aside in the evening to be real with God and let Him touch us with His Holy Spirit.

Letting truth sink in

Finding a Scripture that speaks something of God’s heart for us can be very powerful. It may not ‘feel’ true, but we can ask God to make it ‘become’ truth inside us.  It can be helpful to write the Scripture out and make it personal, for example: “God has loved me with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31). It can be really good to keep it somewhere on our desk or in our wallet. We can tell God that we don’t yet feel it is true, but we want to know its truth at every level of our being.

Changing habits of behaviour

Now comes the trickiest part of all.  Over the years there may have been habits of self-rejection, self-condemnation and self-doubt that have become rooted deep into our being. How do we change patterns, cycles and habits of behaviour that have become subconscious and second nature?

Firstly, we need to be real with ourselves that we have these kinds of traits in our life: for example, the striving, earning, manipulating or controlling that we may fall into. It is helpful if we can look with the Lord’s grace, compassion and mercy at what is going on at that deeper level of behaviour.

We could also ask a friend or Pastor or mentor to help us stay accountable.  We all need someone we can be honest with and who we trust to remind us when we are falling back into old habits of self-condemnation and negativity.

The truth of our value and our worth is found only in God; in His character and His love for us.  When we hunger for Him more and seek after Him, healing comes as we are satisfied by His love for us.  What a relief it is to encounter the healing touch of knowing we are chosen, designed, purposed, created and rooted in a love that never runs out. This is a love that cannot be earned and cannot be deserved but is just freely given. Our true worth, value, validation is there held in God’s hands, provided for us at the Cross, available for each one of us if we will only reach out and receive it.

Ellel Ministries By Ellel Ministries

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