- “My Feelings of Inadequacy”
- Judges 6:11-16
- Lyndol Loyd September 10, 2017
You are here for the first week of our message series called “Altar Ego.” You
may look at it and say, “Is alter misspelled?” Actually, this is on purpose, A-L-T-A-R.
If you know anything about the Old Testament, or maybe about history, you’ll know that for centuries and centuries, an altar—and this kind of represents our altar—is a place where believers sacrifice something meaningful before God or lay something down before God at an altar. If you know what an ego is, an ego is who we think we are, who we believe we are.
Unfortunately, some of us think too highly of ourselves; some think too lowly of ourselves. What we want to do over the next few weeks, is we want to lay down our ego, what we think of ourselves, at the altar of God so that we will not be who we think we are or who others think we are, but we will be who God thinks we are. Today, to start off “Altar Ego”, we’re going to talk about laying down our feelings of inadequacy.
I don’t know about you, but it’s amazing to me how quickly I can feel incredibly inadequate. Maybe it’s comparing myself with someone that’s financially successful, and I think, “What’s wrong with me? Why do they have this?”
Maybe, one day you drive by a really nice neighborhood of homes and you say, “What do those people even do for a living? I mean, I’m so stupid I don’t even know what they do. I feel inadequate because I don’t measure up.”
Or you go to a friend’s house and her house is perfect. You walk in and it smells good. Yours smells like laundry, and hers smells perfect, and you walk in and the food is served on time. Her hair is done and her nails are done. You love her because she’s your friend, but you hate her because she looks perfect. “Why can’t I live up to that?”
Or maybe you’re a student and your best friend is smart and popular, and you study your buns off and make B’s and C’s, and your friend doesn’t even study and makes A.’s. “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I measure up?”
Sometimes, I’ve felt spiritually inadequate. If you’re a Christian, you’re around “Super Christian.” They pray and you can just tell God’s saying, “Woe, that’s a good prayer.” Then they ask you to pray and you say, “Oh, I don’t want to pray, I’m unholy. Okay, I’ll pray. Rub a dub dub, God, bless this grub. Amen. How was that?” You think, “I stink as a Christian. I feel so inadequate.”
Why do we all battle with our ego and these beliefs of inadequacy? Let’s build a quick foundation and then we’ll look at the story of Gideon to help us lay down our egos so we can become who God calls us to be.
Why do we feel inadequate? I see three quick reasons. There are more, but these are my top three picks. Number one is we’ve received unfair criticism. Somewhere along the way in your life, someone told you, “You don’t measure up. You don’t have what it takes. I don’t like you. I wish I’d never had you. You’re pathetic. You’re never going to amount to anything. I wish you were more like so-and-so.”
Internally, those messages have been burned on the hard drive of your ego. Anytime you want to do something significant, you hear those old messages replaying and they tap into your inner me that says, “I am not adequate or capable to do this.”
Second reason, a lot of people don’t think of, we receive unrealistic compliments. “You’re the best. You’re amazing. No one’s as good as you.” Inside we’re going, “You don’t know me. I’m not that good. I’m not that amazing.” It’s my theory that we’ve really done a disservice to the emerging generation that I love so much, the now twenty-somethings, who we’ve told “You’re good at everything.”
You know, back in the day when I was growing up, you actually had to be good at something to win an award. You remember that? You had to win to get a trophy. You know what I’m talking about? Now, you just like show up, “Here’s your trophy, kid. You did great.” We tell them, “You’re amazing, you’re the best.” Internally they’re going, “I don’t feel that good. Here’s where people think I am and here’s where I think I am.”
Therefore, now we have a whole generation that’s paralyzed with the fear of failure. “I don’t even want to try because if I try, I may not be good enough. You think I’m up here, but I know the real me. I feel incredibly inadequate.”
A third reason is unwise comparisons. We look around at other people and say, “I’m not like them. I’m not as attractive. I’m not as bright.”
In fact, I read an article that said social media is now one of the greatest causes of feelings of inadequacy. Because, you upload your picture of your peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, and then you look at your friend’s picture of lobster with her new wedding ring right by it, sitting on the beach in Hawaii. You think, “My life stinks. I don’t go on vacations and I don’t have movie star friends. I only have 172 followers on Instagram and he has 912. I don’t have friends. I’m a loser.”
The problem is that we compare others highlight reels with our behind the scenes. We look at the highlight reels of everybody else’s life and we know the behind the scenes. We see them with their kids, and their kids look perfect. We know we just yelled at our kids, and their socks don’t even match, and we’re out in public. We feel very inadequate. Suddenly, our ego starts to tell us what we’re not when God wants to tell us what we are.
Let’s look today at the story of Gideon. Judges 6:11-16, “11Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!’
13‘Sir,’ Gideon replied, ‘If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, “The Lord brought us up out of Egypt”? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.’
14Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’
15‘But Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘How can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!’
16The Lord said to him, ‘I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.’”
Three things you need to know about you from the story of Gideon.
- God’s view of you is different than you think.
I promise you that God sees more in you than you see in yourself. In verse 12, the angel of the Lord appears to Gideon who is hiding. Everything about his physical actions says, “I’m afraid.”
But the Lord says, “I am with you,” and calls him a what? Calls him a mighty hero. God sees more in you than you see in yourself.
I want you to know, for every single one of you, God’s view of you is different than your view of yourself. Someone told you, “You can’t, or you won’t.” The inner you said, “Here’s all the reasons why I can’t do what I believe God is calling me to do.”
I love the way it’s worded in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece.” Say that out loud. “We are God’s masterpiece.” He created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he prepared and planned for us long ago.
Do you realize that long before you were even born, God had a heavenly “to-do” list just for you? God created you with everything in you to do everything that he called you to do.
God’s view of you is different than you think. Others don’t even see you as God sees you. I love the stories in Scripture. When everybody else looked at Rahab in the Old Testament, what did they see? They saw a prostitute; they saw a harlot. What did God see? God saw someone who’s heart would be turned toward Him, who would one day marry a Godly man, who then would give birth to generations, that through her genealogy, would come Jesus, the Savior of the World. Others saw a prostitute but God saw divine potential.
When others looked on David as a child, they saw a little shepherd boy. God saw something in him that they didn’t see. God saw a warrior, able to stand up to a giant.
Whenever David sinned and fell, as we all do, others saw an adulterer. What did God see? A man who sought after the heart of God more than anything else.
When Peter messed up again, and again, and again, and again, and couldn’t seem to get it right, what did Jesus see in Peter? Jesus saw a rock, Jesus saw someone who would one day be the guest speaker at Pentecost.
I came here today to tell you God sees more in you than you see. God’s view of you is different than you think. God has put more in you than you realize.
- God has given you more than you think.
Verse 14, I love what God says to Gideon, “Go take a class and get ready for this calling.” Is that what it says? No, no, no, no, no. “Go read a book.” No. What does God say? God says “Go” in the what? God says, “Go in the strength you have. Go in the strength I’ve already given you. Go in the strength that you already have. Am I not sending you? You go and use what I have already given you. Go in the strength that you have.”
There are some of you today, all you hear is the negative message from your inner me. “I don’t have what it takes. I don’t measure up. I’m not good enough. I’m not attractive enough.” I want you to know that God has given you more than you think; there is more inside of you. You have everything you need to do everything that God wants you to do.
I love what Scripture says; this is so powerful. In 2 Peter 1:3 — that God’s divine power has given you what? “His divine power has given us everything we need.”
Is God holding anything back from you? No. Don’t you dare believe what somebody else said about you. Don’t you dare believe those negative messages that your inner me continues to tell you you can’t. God’s view of you is different than you think. God has given you more than you think.
“But I’m not a stage person. I’m more of a behind the scenes.” Jesus said, “Yeah, and the behind the scenes, those who serve, those are the greatest.” You may be the greatest in the kingdom of God and you don’t even know it.
“Well, I’m not a six-figure guy. I’m not earning six figures.” Listen, you may be home with your children six nights a week and that’s far greater, and will make a bigger difference than what you earn as you invest your life into your children.
“Well, I never know the right thing to say. Some people say the right thing and I’m good at listening but I’m not good at saying things.” Listen, more lives have been changed by a good listener than by people who just mouth off. Listening, it’s gift from God and your presence can represent God’s presence.
God has given you more than you think. Don’t you ever insult God by talking about what you don’t have. God has given you everything you need to do everything that God wants you to do. Does anybody feel this inside? Let it go deep down within your heart.
- It’s less about you than you think.
This is what the Lord said to Gideon in verse 16,”I will be with you and you will strike down all the Midianites as if it was one person.” It was less about Gideon and more about God’s power than Gideon ever realized.
Listen to me. When God calls you to do something, it’s more about the presence of God than it is about your own power. It’s more about His strength than it is about your strength.
That’s why as a believer, we take our ego and we lay it down at His altar so we will not be who others say we are; we will not be who we wrongly think we are, but we will become who God says we are.
We lay it down. It’s less about us than we think. “But I’m not good enough.” No, step into His grace. “Well, I’m not smart enough.” No, step into His power; His power is made perfect in your weakness.
“Well I’m not as pretty as she is.” Hey, step into your calling. You’ve got something that she doesn’t have, and you’ve got a calling that she doesn’t have.
“Well, I’m never going to be as adequate as a parent.” No, you step into what God has called you to do. If He calls you, He will equip you. You have everything you need to do everything He wants you to do.
“Well, I can’t get it all done.” Step into His strength and let Him do it through you. You are not who others say you are. You are not who your inner me says you are. You are who God says you are and He says you are His master piece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that he prepared a long time ago for you to do. Lay down your inadequacy at the altar. Kneel down and sacrifice that before God.
When you stand up, stand up and be who God called you to be. Because…
…God’s view of you is different than you think.
…God has given you more than and you think.
…and it’s less about you than you think. It’s really all about Him.