Sunday, July 3, 2011

for when you feel inadequate

That mysterious sadness I mentioned in my last post?  (Tears welling up at the kitchen table without knowing why?)
I found part of the root: Feeling utterly inadequate.

I would love to be perfect.  

In fact, I spend a large amount of time and energy perfecting as many things in my life as I can… 
  • catching typos (and priding myself on catching them) 
  • fixing my hair and make-up (ok, maybe not so much now that I’m the mom of 2 toddlers, but I still like to look cute)
  • matching :)
  • choosing not to do anything I can’t do well almost at once (and so not building much of a work ethic)
  • tidying up (my desk, my bedroom, my shelves, my kitchen - yes, I wipe my counters compulsively)
  • perfecting my spiritual image so I look (deceptively) like I have it all together
I also love to feel competent and adequate.  I love the feeling of a day running like clockwork, well-planned, well-executed, in control… 
Um, those last two words?  Those are the important ones.  Immediately as I feel I’m losing control, I fall apart.  Cranky.  Snappy.  Critical.  Impatient.  Huffy.  Sulky.  Ridiculously childish.  
Don’t get my nap?  I’m annoyed at the world, and especially at the two adorable little faces who are trying to wake me up.  Poor guys.  
Get interrupted from a project?  I’m snappish, un-gracious, put-out.  
Want to know what you’re really made of?  How deeply the love of Jesus has really penetrated into your heart?  Just note how you respond when “suddenly jolted”.  I have not been scoring well lately.  
And I can’t just resort to “I’m tired” - that simply doesn’t cut it, especially not with my ultra-patient, ultra-honest, ultra-loving husband, who called me on that excuse this morning… not only called me on it, but pointed out that my bad attitude (which I was giving myself permission to indulge in on the basis of being tired) was affecting the entire family: the boys were following my example and whining and complaining too, and even though my man had gotten up feeling great about the day, my moodiness meant he was leaving for work in a frustrated mood.  Talk about convicting. 
So, I’m feeling inadequate, and definitely not perfect… as a mom.  As a wife.  As a teammate, team leader, accountability partner, friend.  As a minister of the gospel.  As a Scripture-memorizer, a Scripture-reader, a God-dweller.  As a human being.  The nothingness and smallness of my not-perfectness welling up ugly within me… and I’ve been forgetting to turn my eyes on Jesus, not wanting to feel shame as He loves me just as I am.  
Tonight after dinner, I finished washing the dishes, and slipped outside into the cool of the evening.  The sky was a deepening blue, all my new potted plants were shadowy in the dusk.  I wandered into the backyard, the yard that’s only “ours” for two more months, and sat on our swing, feeling an ache in my heart and a lump in my throat.  
Found: another part of my sadness-root.  In two months, we’re leaving this house that we love.  I sat there and swung and grieved the losing of our backyard, our garden, that particular piece of sky above the fruit and walnut trees, the swallows’ nest, the boys’ sandpit… 
Afterwards I got up to go in, but then I had to sit down slumped on the stump by the clotheslines and cry a little more, calling out over and over the first phrases that came to mind: “My soul finds rest in God alone; He only is my hope and my salvation” until my tears quieted down.  
I found myself repeating, “I have no home but You, I have no home but You over and over until I felt the weight of truth settle in the bottom of my heart.
I could feel this need to grieve pushing in my heart, like a jammed door through which I have to walk in order to discover and enjoy the beautiful things about our next home.  {They are already there, stacking up in my mind like little jewels: a quieter street, more friends for the boys, neighbors I already know, a grape arbor, an orchard, a wide sunny back porch, better furniture, a cellar to store my jars…} I just can’t enjoy them yet while I’m still loving this old house.  
And while I grieved, I sensed the love of Jesus washing over me.  Inadequate though I feel, wretched in my own un-perfectness, I am nevertheless completely lovedCompletelyLoved.  And somehow there is exquisite relief in just giving up, admitting my own nothingness, and acknowledging that He is God and I am not.  I just can’t do it!  I can’t do any of this on my own.  
I’m not enough. 

But He is. 

More than that, He delights to be enough, and more than enough.  

When I desperately need His enough-ness, I bring Him glory.

And after all, isn’t it to bring Him glory that I exist in the first place?
For in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form,
And in Christ you have been brought to fullness.
Colossians 2:9-10
{Oh, that these words would take root and spring up alive in me!}


Something to ponder…

When was the last time you felt inadequate?

Where did you take refuge?


  1. So appreciate your authenticy and are blessing many around you!!! That "in control" illusion is just that... an illusion!!!!Thank God that our saviour is the only one ultimately steering our way.... Perfection is only with and in him...isn't it a relief we can never achieve it without him....and that he loves us in our human imperfection as he continues to mould and shape us and free us from our self inflicted bonds....Keep's is a wonderful journey...thank you for letting us be a part of it!!!

  2. Came over to read your gratitude from Ann's site but stayed to read more. Glad I did.
    Like you I am facing moving into a new home, only I don't know mine yet. Praying I'll find "jewels" like you. And the avoidance of things you can't do well right at the start... I am so "there" with you. :-)

  3. I hate losing that in-control feeling! God puts me there on purpose all the time, to see if I'll let His grace and glory shine instead of my prideful heart. I flunk this test a lot! =) But then, yeah, He loves me anyway, and gives me another chance, and my husband love me anyway too, and the LOVE is overwhelming!

  4. Thank you Anonymous for reading and journeying along with me!

    And thank you Sharon for staying to read and empathizing! May the Lord provide you with exactly the right next home, and may you find your true Home always in Him.