Outgrowing Inadequacy


I struggle with inadequacy daily. I often wonder if I am enough for the tasks of parenting, marriage, and leadership. It often seems that there are so many relationships to manage, tasks to complete, and opportunities that I’ll miss if I’m not on my toes.

And I know that you struggle with inadequacy too. You might ask yourself questions like:

  • Can I handle the pressure of succeeding in my job?
  • Can I make it as a single parent?
  • Will I ever be able to connect with my teenager’s heart again?
  • Will I ever meet the expectations of my parents, or my spouse, or my boss?
  • Am I going to be able to do what I’m supposed to do in this world?

God doesn’t leave us in our inadequacy. He empowers us for everything he wants us to do to fulfill his purposes for our lives.


1. I am completely inadequate apart from God.

As a human being, I am lost, enslaved, broken, and spiritually dead apart from God, who gives life and vitality to all who will receive it.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.

– Ephesians 2:1 NLT

As a believer, I am incapable of living a fruitful life apart from God.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

– John 15:5 NLT

2. I am made completely adequate through my relationship with Jesus Christ.

That is to say, in Jesus, I have every possible resource I could ever need to accomplish everything God ever wants me to do.

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge.

– 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NIV

3. God has made me adequate to accomplish some really big things.

Every believer is called to serve and show love to other people. This is what the Bible calls “ministry.” And God has made us adequate for the task of ministry.

God has given each of us a unique SHAPE.

  • Spiritual gifts
  • Heart
  • Abilities
  • Personality
  • Experiences

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

– Matthew 28:18-20 NLT

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

– Acts 1:8 NLT

4. God has an amazing purpose for my inadequacy.

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

– 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

– 2 Corinthians 4:5-7 NLT

When it comes to what you should be doing with your time, your energy, your life, here are some powerful questions to ask yourself.

What do you believe God has shaped you to do for other people and for His kingdom?

If you could do anything at all, and failure wasn’t a threat and resources were unlimited, what would it be?

What is it that breaks your heart and motivates you to want to act?

And whatever you do, don’t do it alone. Lean into the God who makes us adequate.

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