Inadequacy and the “Line of Best Fit”

Article written by Adam Wolf

When asked to join the team of writers for this blog my response was a resounding “yes!” However when it came to moving forward and creating a product, that carefree “yes” began to take on some weight. I began thinking about the difficult responsibility of mindfully engaging a topic with an audience.

This coupled with a feeling of inadequacy because I know my audience (you all reading this!), and I am starkly underqualified in regard to my age, experience, and “Christian resume.” All of this wrapped into the fact that I am just inherently lazy, which is never a legitimate excuse. Now this experience is not unique to being on this blog team. I think this is something I commonly encounter in life and especially in ministry, and I bring it up because I feel that I can’t be the only one.

Maybe you’re someone who has never struggled in ministry and always hits the ground running, and does so well, but for those of you that feel there are times where the “rubber meets the road” is also where you find yourself brought to a screeching halt, please keep reading.

This post is as much about inadequacy as it is about the mindset that begets it. The process my heart and mind undergoes during the “screeching halt” impasse is one of comparison. Comparison gives birth to feelings of doubt and inadequacy when looking at those we feel are better than us. Comparison also brings about twisted feelings of superiority when we view others as lesser than ourselves. T

his is the first place where we must stop and let the gospel penetrate our thought processes, because Paul says that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9). Now I hope to present more practical application, but that is the gist of it all. The deep rooted understanding that salvation – our right-standing with God Almighty – is a gift that can by no means be merited by our qualities, talents, or abilities should be able to sufficiently combat any greater-than/less-than comparisons of ourselves to others that we may begin to create.

So what do we do when we forget that?

I tend to view prominent biblical figures as outliers on a graph of Fitness for God’s Kingdom. Whether they were prominent for the good thegraphy did and what God accomplished
through them; or for the wickedness they indulged and their refusal to honor God. These outliers then allow me to draw a line of best fit that says, “I can’t be like those guys up there, but I better not be like those guys down there.” From here it is easy to sneakily slip into righteousness based on works, and before you know it you are subconsciously attributing your ability to impact God’s kingdom to your ability to remain within this arbitrary line of best fit.

This mindset allows feelings of inadequacy to drive your personal desire and perceived potential straight into the ground. The inherent problem with this mindset: it’s wrong.

“… it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…”

Faith: belief in God, His power, His purpose, His love, and so much more. It is ascribing existence to the unseen. “Blessed are those who have not seen, yet still believe.” (John 20:29). “Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). So this is faith, but what is God’s view on faith? As in to ask, what does God DO with faith?

“By faith we understand… By faith he was commended as righteous… By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family… By faith Abraham… obeyed and went… By faith Jacob, when he was dying… worshiped… By faith Moses… regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as greater value than the treasures of Egypt… By faith the people passed through the Red Sea on dry land… By faith the walls of Jericho fell… By faith the prostitute Rahab… was not killed with those who were disobedient… Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised… whose weakness was turned to strength… These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us…” (Hebrews 11).

By faith…

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, be glory in the church… forever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:20)

If feelings of inadequacy are from a fundamental misunderstanding of God’s ability to use anyone to accomplish His will, then I think what is required of us is a posture of remembrance and faith knowing that God is in control. We are not. And He works all things out for His purposes and for the good of those who love Him. We must trust in God’s ability to use broken people to fulfill His perfect plan, and that WE GET TO BE those people.

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