Struggling With the Fear of Inadequacy

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Regardless of our level of commitment, our degree of sacrifice, the innocence of our sincerity, we tend to see very slow progression in regard to our less desirable traits of character. Our inadequacies remains perpetually vigilant, seemingly content to drag us along as their impatient prisoners.

Not unlike ourselves, the Hebrew Patriarchs and disciples did not have the patience to just wait upon their Higher Power. In naive sincerity, Abraham took it upon himself to force his expectations by sleeping with his maid. The fiasco his impatient tampering created still impacts our world today in the battle between his grandchildren, Islam and Judaism. Not learning from his grandfathers mistakes, Jacob’s attempts to control his fate cost him 20 years in exile from his family. Moses’s impatience with destiny cost him his seat as the next in line to Pharaoh and his ticket into Canaan.  Peter cussed away ever knowing Jesus when his dreams were dashed. And Judas’s efforts to manipulate fate cost him his life.

We want to know where we stand, we want to fix, to know, to control our ultimate destiny. But, control is largely an illusion driven by the need for approval and safety. In our fear laden rush to achieve, we fail to see that there is a place of significance for failure, “Our shame tells us we are not God. Healthy shame is the foundation of humility.” (1)

Publicly exposed, the woman caught in adultery was painfully aware of her inadequacy, the overwhelming sense of rejection, the self loathing. But Jesus was not interested in condemning failure, He was only interested in healing. It is pointless to try and prove we have value, we are already wanted. Our nakedness, our failures, our vulnerability, the risks that cost us so much pain, this is the cocoon within which we are transformed into a beautiful mariposa (2).

“You do a disservice to yourself when you treat your feelings of despair and emptiness as deviations from the normal and healthy life you idealize. The dark times, too, like enlightenments and achievements, leave their mark and make you a person of insight and compassion.” (3) We all have inadequacies, we all have secrets, and we are all in need of mercy. Rather than inadequacy, our faults are a signet of hope, for weakness is the basis of humility, gratitude, and compassion, and these are the foundations of wisdom.

“I no longer have a goodness derived from bootstraps, now my transformation comes from God on the basis of Trust.” (4)

1. Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw, pg 16

2. Mariposa- Latin for Butterfly 

3. Dark Nights of the Soul, Thomas Moore pg. 18

4. Philippines 3:9

5. Photo Source: kareyscontemplations.blogspot.com

Shayne Mason Vincent, MSW
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