The truth is that, on our own, we are inadequate. In every way. On our own, we are disqualified from being used by God. Thankfully, it’s not about who we are. It’s only about who God is. It’s about his gifts. His abilities. His strengths. His wisdom. And his potential. Not ours.
- Adam Weber
As leaders looking to grow, there are certain phrases that we’ve all heard before.
Read more books.
Sharpen your craft.
Learn to think at a higher level.
Expedite your leadership potential by doing x, y and z.
Inherently, none of these are bad things. We should always be doing things to better ourselves and to learn how to use the gifts that God has given us.
The thing I’ve always struggled with though was the “pressure” of stewarding the gifts that God gave me. I’ve always struggled with picturing myself as inadequate or second class. In my mind, I’ve always been average and there is always someone in my view that is doing things better than me. It started out when I was young.
There was always someone on my team that was more skilled than me.
There was always someone in class that was smarter than me.
There was always someone in my friend group that was more popular than me.
These elementary and adolescent views of myself, as you can imagine, carried over into my adult and ministry life. Not matter what my position was...
There was always someone doing their job better than I was doing mine.
There was always someone handling situations better than I was.
There was always someone coming up with a more influential idea than me.
There was always someone whose team was accomplishing more than mine.
Feelings of inadequacy are something that I battle with everyday. The struggle of measuring my life up to someone else’s is one of the things that holds me back the most as a leader.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” So basically what Jesus is saying is that my feelings of inadequacy are real, and it’s how I should feel all of the time, right? Wrong. Well, kind of...
Realizing how unequipped and inadequate you are to live the life Jesus has called you to live, and to fulfill the purpose he has called you to fill, it’s vital to you actually doing it. That’s right. On our own we are inadequate and we are unequipped to do what Jesus has called us to do. But realizing that will lead us to the place that will help us do far more than we could ever imagine.
That place I’m referencing is complete and total reliance on Jesus and his purpose for our life. Reliance on the gifts that he has given us. Reliance on the debt he has paid for us. Reliance on the relationship he is pursuing with us.
I’ve found myself exhausted more often than not as a leader, especially in ministry, because I’m operating in what I have to offer through my own strength vs what Jesus has to offer through me. When I lack confidence, it’s because I’m focusing on my strength. When I lack motivation, it’s because I’m focusing on my plans. When I lack peace, it’s because I’m focusing on my to do list.
Realizing how inadequate and unequipped I am apart from God turns my weaknesses into strengths. When I’m relying on him to speak through me, I speak more clearly and compassionately. When I rely on him to think for me, my ideas are bigger and what I’m creating becomes clearer. When I rely on him for peace and comfort, I find myself filled with more joy and purpose.
Something I’ve realized is that no matter where I go in life, there will always be someone doing it better than me...but if my focus and obedience are in the right place, I will always be where God wants me to be. And the opportunities for joy, purpose, and influence that come from that will always turn out better than anything I could ever imagine.
Jesus isn’t asking us to live with a lack of confidence when he tells us, “blessed are the poor in spirit.” He is telling us to walk with humility in what we have to offer through ourselves, and in confidence in what we have to offer through him. If we can find ourselves there, then we’ll find that there is an bottomless supply of joy (heaven on earth) waiting for us.
Leader, Jesus is doing a mighty work in you today.
Keep reading the books.
Keep getting better at what you do.
Keeping asking the questions.
Most importantly, keep leaning into Jesus and fulfilling the purpose he has for you. You can’t do it alone, but you can do it through him.