In spending a weekend at a retreat with a bunch of women I was reminded just how common it is to feel inadequate. Inadequacy is definitely not a foreign concept in my life.
Does God use ordinary people?
I moved away from my family to pursue the path God has for my life, and often my feelings of inadequacy come when I'm missing home and start to doubt my calling. How can an ordinary Christian, even an ordinary person like me, be used by God?
I don't believe God takes pleasure in our feelings of inadequacy, but at the same time it's not an aspect of the human experience He would take away from us. In fact, as we recognise our inadequacies we come to rightly understand that, in and of ourselves, we cannot be who God wants us to be. Feelings of inadequacy cause us to humble ourselves and realise our desperate need for Him.
Using our inadequacy
If inadequacy isn't going to be removed from our lives, how should we use it? We surely aren't to live in the negative feeling of being inadequate, and likewise, we're not to boast in our adequacy.
I am reminded of a poster with the title 'Think God Can't Use You?' which lists the inadequacies of characters in the Bible who were used by God for great works:
Abraham was too old.
Leah was ugly.
Moses had a stuttering problem.
Gideon was afraid.
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.
Elijah was suicidal.
Jonah ran from God.
Peter denied Christ.
The disciples fell asleep while praying.
Martha worried about everything.
Zacchaeus was too small.
Lazarus was dead.
What an incredible list of inadequacies faced by some of the great heroes of our faith. Yet we know God used them for incredible service to His Kingdom. How many can you relate to? Still He calls us into relationship with Him, and uses us in service to Him.
Called to obedience
So while feelings of inadequacy will come and go, I would suggest what we are called to is obedience. In obedience our inadequacy allows for God to work through us and be glorified.
In Luke chapter 11, verse 28, Jesus announces, 'Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'
The question is not, 'am I good enough?' The questions should be, 'am I hearing?', and 'am being obedient?'