As a kid, I used to wear my mom’s high heels and clomp around the house. I remember wondering if I’d ever grow into her shoes. It seemed like I’d never become an adult.
When my mom was my current age, she had three kids and was pregnant with a fourth. She created a loving, stable home for us with my dad on our family farm in rural Minnesota. I think about these childhood “dress-up” memories now as I sit in my city condo, a single woman in her mid-thirties whose life could not look any different from her mother’s life at this same age. Even now I wonder, Do I fit the shoes I’m wearing?
We all have our own stories, backgrounds, and experiences. And we all feel incapable or inadequate at one time or another. Maybe it has to do with career goals, a romantic relationship, or responsibilities with our family or our church. We follow a long line of people who have wrestled with feeling like we can’t fill the shoes God has for us. There are countless examples in the Bible of men and women who felt inadequate to do what he was asking. But they took steps of faith, opened themselves up to God, and he did incredible things in them and through them.
Moses is a solid example of inadequacy on display. While out herding a flock of sheep one day, he sees a bush on fire. Upon checking it out, he has an encounter with God that shows us just how insufficient he felt to do what was asked of him. Five times throughout his conversation with God, Moses comes up with excuses as to why he can’t go to Egypt and free the Israelites from captivity.
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
Who am I? Of all the excuses Moses comes up with, his first is questioning his identity. Honestly, I’m not much different.
We find our honest and secure identity, not in our capabilities or capacity, but in what God says about us. Here are a few promises I cling to when I am fighting inadequacy:
- You are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27). When God looks at you, he sees the righteousness of Christ. His sacrifice makes you right with God. Despite your past, present, or future, you stand righteous before God. Imagine being clothed or robed in righteousness as you step into what God has for you.
- The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4). When Jesus was preparing the disciples for his departure from them, he explained that the Holy Spirit would dwell in them and that he must go for this to happen. You have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave living inside of you. You can be certain of the Holy Spirit’s equipping and guidance.
- God is the lifter of your head (Psalm 3:3). You are given protection and provision from God. When I am feeling inadequate, I notice I walk with my eyes to the ground and talk with my head bowed. But God is the lifter of my head in the face of fear and inadequacy, and yours too. Hold your head high as a child of the King. It takes intentionality to truly live out your identity.
Intentional time in God’s Word reminds us of who we truly are: a person made in the image of God, known and loved, and given a good purpose for this world. Intentional mindfulness helps us catch and correct any negative self-talk we can be tempted to dwell on while intentionally believing God’s truths, regardless of our circumstances, helps us fill the shoes he is asking us to wear.
Amy Wellner serves in full-time college ministry in Minneapolis, MN. She enjoys true crime podcasts, making people laugh, and curating her Kindle book collection. @awellner
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