Why I need to be Inadequate

I listen to peoples stories. I sit and turn my ear and my heart to receive the precious gift they have to offer. I never feel adequate. I never feel able to make any sort of difference, but something happens.

I am inadequate, and I want to stay that way.

How do you react to feelings of inadequacy?

Do you run? Do you avoid people who make you feel less than capable? Perhaps you build walls to protect yourself. Walls of rules that people have to meet if they are to have relationship with you.

In commenting about the Christian care for victims of crime, Chris Marshall writes this.

Many are uneasy with “the coarse, unedited feelings that spew from deep inside the one who has been victimised – the pain, anger, despair, grief, and desire for revenge”. Such raw emotions are hard to hear, and trite responses are common. Chris Marshall

I often sit with people who share their pain. I feel totally inadequate.

Reverberating in the brain is a whisper of ‘What can I do, what can I offer to them’?
I need to be inadequate.

My inadequacy has been the tipping point for spiritual growth. Its the place God takes me to time and time again.

Do I like this? No, never!

I have learnt however to listen to the reassuring whispers of Spirit – ‘Trust me on this, go on, your inadequacy is met by my adequacy, and together were up to the task’

I have also learnt to listen to the stories of fellow ‘inadequate’s’.

Inadequacy is an opportunity for us to move from self reliance to reliance on others and God. We self reliantly tell ourselves ‘I can run this life, on my own, and on my terms’.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen people come to a point of being stuck, on whether they will simply trust or not. To move from a position of self reliance to a vulnerable situation of inadequacy.

They say, in not so many words,  ‘If your going to help me then your going to do it my way’.

The demand arises. ‘My inadequacy, my needs must be met by this person, this organisation, this group in this way’.

Are we inadequately waiting with empty hands for Father, Jesus and Spirit to meet our inadequacy with their adequacy, their way, their time.

Supernatural goals need supernatural resources. Larry Crabb

I have learnt that the more I try and become adequate for the task the greater the potential there is of slipping seductively away from God providing in a miraculous and surprising way.

My inadequacy becomes an opportunity for dependence on Spirit in a way that can actually help me listen to Spirit rather relying on my natural strength, and coming up will all the right things to say and do.

How do we learn to embrace inadequacy?

  1. Look back and trust past learning experiences. You will have had past experiences of being inadequate, yet you kept going ahead.
  2. Trust that God will be with you, even if you fail. ‘Only uncertainty breeds stable hope.  Only failure and fear escort you to the centre of your God-filled soul and will then release you to be the poem of God’s making.’ Larry Crabb
  3. Take risks. Allow yourself to be in places of inadequacy.Little by little learn to trust. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King
  4. Listen, deeply. Listen to yourself, to others, to Daddy, Jesus and Spirit. Learn to trust.

I wonder what would happen if we all embraced our inadequacy. If we came out of our protective self – sufficiency. Perhaps more giants would be slain and more miracles would abound.
How do you respond to moments of inadequacy?
Comment below about learning from inadequacy?

Barry Pearman
Image: Free Souls Embrace by Pink Sherbet (Flicker: Creative Commons)

2 Replies to “Why I need to be Inadequate”

  1. Thanks Elizabeth. So who are you and where are you going? How would the essay look now? We value independence but I believe the Family (Daddy, Jesus and Spirit) value interdepen-dance. What do you think?

  2. 🙂 I once wrote an essay: Who am I and Where am I going? It was part of a selection process to get into a Masters for Mental Health Nursing. I was one of 7 chosen from 62 candidates. I was 25. I was adequate! I wrote that I wanted my PhD by 30, I wanted to be a published writer by 35 amongst other things. In my essay I had my life mapped out until my 40th year. I am now 40 … I never did my masters because we moved countries. It’s a given then that I never did my PhD. And yes you guessed it I am not published… yet 🙂 I am inadequate, but I have come to be content with that.

    I agree with you that being adequate makes you self-reliant. If we are self-reliant we don’t need God….

    I am contently inadequate.


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