Monday, January 04, 2010

The Cup of Feeling Inadequate

Tonight is our first ladies' Bible class of the year. I get to lead the discussion tonight. We have been studying from the book, LET THIS CUP PASS, by Jane McWhorter. Tonight's lesson is on feeling inadequate. I don't know about you but I feel this way frequently. Mrs McWhorter says we need to look at these feelings of inadequacies as opportunities to succeed. Looking back over my life I see what she means. If I hadn't felt inadequate at something, if I had felt like I knew it all, I would not have sought to improve in anything. So, if the attitude is in the right place, feeling inadequate can and should be a blessing.

I would like to open the class by reading 2 Corinthians 12:10: Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Moses is a wonderful example of someone that felt inadequate. He had lead a different life than most of his day.

The government had tried to kill him when he was a baby but failed.
He grew up in the palace like one of the princes.
He tried to defend his people.
He ran away to Midian and became a shepherd.

God had asked him to do something he had never dreamed of doing. He didn't want to do it. He was happy with his new life. He gave the following excuses:

Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh... (3:11)
Who shall I say sent me? What is your name? (3:13)
What if they don't believe me? (4:1)
I don't speak well. (4:10)

Read Exodus 3 and 4. Depending on how much time I have, I may skim over these two chapters and highlight where Moses gave his excuses. Moses went and was very successful. Not because he was so good and what he was doing but because he trusted in God.

Why do we feel inadequate? What makes us think that we are any less capable of doing something than someone else?

Fear (failure, rejection, doing something different)
Pride (if we can't do it like so-and-so, we don't want to do it all)
Selfishness (we think more of ourselves than we ought -- it is a protection/self-preservation attempt)
Failure (we've done it or something like it before and it didn't turn out like we wanted)
Unprepared (we don't have the knowledge, skill, experience to do the job the way we think it ought to be done)
Disbelief (we don't believe that God will help us)

What is the consequence of feeling inadequate? What does it matter if I don't do something?

The work doesn't get done.
Those that need to be taught don't get taught.
Our friends and loved ones are lost.
Brethren that are in need, are still in need.
Others have to carry my load and their own.
The church is weakened because I am not all I can be.
I am a discouragement to others.

What can I do about it?

Philippians 4:10-19 -- Paul knew that his strength came from Christ. It is foolish of us to think that we can do anything on our own.

Study God's word -- equip yourself with the tools necessary to fight the battle (Eph 6 -- Whole Armor of God)

Pray for faith (eliminates disbelief)
Pray for wisdom (eliminates the foolishness of depending on yourself)
Pray for courage (eliminates fear)
Learn a new skill (eliminates unpreparedness)
Ask others for help (eliminates pride and selfishness)
Just do it! (overcome previous failures)

What will be the consequence if I strive to overcome inadequacy?

God's word will spread
My courage will become strong
I ready myself for the next challenge.
My brethren's load is lifted.
Others are encouraged.

Moses felt inadequate to do the work God asked him to do. He trusted God would help him and he succeeded. We can succeed in doing the work God asks us to do if we will take the steps necessary to succeed.

How can I help my children/family to succeed?

Take a lesson from successful people of the past.

Beethoven became deaf in later life.
Napoleon was a poor student.
President Wilson was a poor student at Princeton.
Sir Isaac Newton was bullied.
Leonardo da Vinci was a an illegitimate child at a time when that was scorned.
Benjamin Franklin had little formal schooling. (a bad thing?) :)
Abraham Lincoln lost his mother and had little education as well.

The point being, many people that we look to as successful people had rough beginnings. How can it be that they were successful but didn't have the best tools available, the best instructors available, the best living conditions available? It took strength to overcome these weaknesses. Strength they would have never looked for if they had not had the weaknesses.

For our kids. Don't give them every advantage. Make them struggle. Give them a challenge to overcome and let them overcome it. Success takes day to day, minute by minute, steady work and is often seen only at the end (or sometimes after) of one's life. Teach them patience, diligence, humility, honesty, courage, etc.

These people that we mentioned were not born successful. To look at Moses' life without knowing "the rest of the story", we would have thought that he would not have a chance. He was a failure because he had to leave the palace at 40 years old. It wasn't until he was 80 years old that God called him to do the great work he did. All of his lifetime experiences and his trust in God is what helped to be successful in his work.

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