Most nights I lie in bed filled with an almost crippling sense of inadequacy.
Well that’s no way to start what’s supposed to be an uplifting blog, Lara!
Is this meant to be an uplifting blog though? Or is it meant to provoke and challenge you. Sometimes those things can be uncomfortable, so I’ll say it again: most nights I lie in bed filled with an almost crippling sense of inadequacy.
I used to think it was just me that felt such things but have since had conversations with others who have similar self-doubt. I think every one of us at some point feels inadequate in some way about something but we rarely show that side of ourselves to those around us. Even those people who, on the outside, look like they have it all together, will at times struggle with insecurities. Knowing that has really helped me in recent years. That’s not to say that I want others to feel as insecure as me just so I feel better, obviously, but the fact that they do makes me realise I am just ‘normal.’ (No comments from the cheap seats please!)
So, anyway. I was in bed last night considering this sense of inadequacy when I made a strange discovery. The sense was there but there were no feelings attached to it. Let me explain. From my early teenage years, I have suffered with anxiety and depression, in part linked to that sense of inadequacy; it was the sense that led to overwhelming feelings of panic and despair.
Last night though, there were no negative feelings attached to the sense of inadequacy. I examined the deepest recesses of my mind (again, no comments cheap seats!) thinking maybe I had just missed something in the darker, dustier parts of my brain, but, no! No panic, no despair, no dark gloom pulling me down into the pit.
I realised that it had been quite some time since I had felt these feelings. I often still have the sense of inadequacy and I struggle to juggle all the aspects of my life, but the negative feelings that would accompany these things were gone. I traced this back to a decision I made earlier this year to give my mental health issues to God and trust that He would take the weight of them off my shoulders: I put my faith IN HIM.
This is something my pastor talked about on Sunday. (Click Here For Message). That our own faith can fluctuate, but faith IN HIM is stable. Jesus is the firm and secure anchor (Hebrews 6:19) that moors our faith no matter the storms we find ourselves in. Faith IN HIM gives us ‘confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’ (Hebrews 11: 1). Faith IN HIM is stormproof!
A few years ago, after a particularly bad episode of poor mental health, I came home from hospital and renewed my commitment to God, spending time in prayer, reading my bible, watching reading and listening to anything Christian. Something in a Joyce Meyer sermon I listened to spoke to me and has remained with me ever since: put faith above your circumstances. No matter what predicament you’re in, keep your eyes fixed firmly on the LORD knowing that His anchor will remain firm in the storm. Jesus tells us not to be anxious about anything (Matthew 6: 25), that God will provide but we need to seek His kingdom above all things (Matthew 6: 33). That’s faith above circumstance.
So like I said, I had given my poor mental health to God to deal with earlier this year and while my sense of inadequacy may never fully disappear, I realise that I am no longer controlled by the feelings of fear, doubt, anxiety and despair that came with it. It’s funny, because God didn’t change the circumstances of my life, just removed some of the by-products. I think that’s a lesson there in itself. Sometimes the struggles we experience are what strengthen us for our journey so God won’t necessarily remove them. Paul says we are to ‘rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame ’ (Romans 5: 3-4).
I want to challenge anyone reading this who struggles with a sense of inadequacy to not let that affect how you feel in a negative way. A: In Christ we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5; 17), His workmanship (Ephesians 2: 10), His temple (1 Corinthians 3: 16), more than conquerors (Romans 8: 37), sons and heirs of God (Galatians 4: 7) and there is no condemnation while we remain IN HIM (Romans 8: 1) and, B: You are not alone in experiencing those feelings, and whilst you are probably no less adequate than others around you, the body of Christ (The Church) is ‘joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped and when each part is working properly ... builds itself up in love (Ephesians 4: 16). We are here to talk, to pray, to counsel, to laugh, to cry, to love...with YOU.
Put your faith (In HIM) above your circumstance today. Give your struggles over to the LORD for He is with you and will not forsake you (Joshua 1: 9). His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11: 30). Your sense of inadequacy does not need to hold you back in your Christian walk because your strength is IN HIM (Ephesians 6: 10, Philippians 4: 13), ‘none of us are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God’ (2 Corinthians 3: 5). Thank the LORD for that!
(If you are struggling with your mental health, don’t feel you can’t see a health professional just because you are putting faith above your circumstances. God has given us the gift of help in various forms and you may need medical help as well as spiritual)