Do My Weaknesses Make Me Unqualified?

If I am honest, insecurity is my biggest struggle. I feel unqualified to live the life I lead. I am always so concerned about what others think of me that at times it has been absolutely debilitating. For example, my fears of failure and of conflict all stem from this unquenchable desire to be liked and for people to think highly of me. My insecurities are so bad, in fact, that when someone says something kind, I have a hard time accepting it or even believing that is how they truly feel about me.

At times, in the middle of a conversation, I get this fear of what the other person is thinking of me that creeps in. Once I finish my statement and they start to talk, I am not able to pay attention to them. The fear that is screaming in my head is so much louder than they.

At times I feel unqualified to be a dad. Not having my dad around to teach me what fatherhood looks like feels like I’m starting from behind. If I just had a dad around like other men do, I’d be better at caring for, disciplining, and guiding my kids.

Fear is a liar. It will tell you your greatest fears are your reality. The thing about lies is if we tell them to ourselves long enough, we’ll start to believe them as truth.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NLT) Some translations say “and of self-discipline.” Either way, I think it has to do a lot with how we think of ourselves. No matter how much I quote this scripture to myself or tell myself, “It’s not about what others think, just about what God thinks,” I still struggle to be content with myself.

I struggle with the feelings of inadequacy, like I don’t measure up to everyone around me. Even at 37, I still feel like the “little kid” in the room. You know that feeling you get that no one respects you because you are the youngest one in the room?

I always tell people to trust in God, but I fail to tell them it’s hard even for me to do so. It’s difficult to trust in God when we know all of our weaknesses and our failures. How could God not hold those things against us and demand something greater from us.

This is what happens when we rely on our understanding of who we are and how God operates. When trust is a weakness of ours then it is astronomically harder to trust that God will pull you through.

I believe that is exactly where God wants us and why He gave us 2 Corinthians 12:9, “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

Did you catch what Paul is saying here? God’s power works best in our weakness. What Paul is saying is because of our relationship with God, our weakness is not a weakness at all but a strength. Why, because Jesus is made strong in our weakness. So even when we struggle to trust, we can rely on Jesus to help us trust. All of our insecurities and inadequacies are a part of who we are and are no longer weaknesses. Now they can be avenues to which God brings our greatest victories.

What I’ve come to realize is God is strong in our weakness, and God’s weakness is stronger than our strength. Therefore, my weakness, when submitted to God, is no longer a weakness, but a strength. Let that one soak in. If God is strong in my weakness, my weakness then ultimately becomes my strength.

As a father, my strength comes from learning what not to do. I know the things I wish I had and I use those as my guides to make a better life for my kids. It’s a weakness, but with Jesus’ help it’s become a strength.

In the book Unqualified, Steven Furtick points out that it wasn’t until Jacob accepted who he was that he received the blessing God had for him. God wants to bless you. The real you. Not the fake you that you show everyone else or the future you that you hope to be one day.

You are important to God.

Inadequacies and all.

I no longer have to worry about my inadequacies and fears, because I know that even in my lack, Jesus is made strong in my weakness.

Fear is a liar, but Jesus is the Liar-Slayer and Truth Teller.

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I Love New Stuff, I Don’t Like Trying New Things

mouth guard, night guard, mouth piece, love and hate

I love new stuff! However, I don’t like trying new things. The irony of those statements aren’t lost on me. I’m a complicated individual.

To clarify, I love brand new gadgets, technology, cars, houses, and clothes. If I have the option to buy new or used, I lean towards new every time. There is just something comforting about it. Sometimes new brings peace of mind, however that peace of mind isn’t usually worth the price tag, i.e. a new car. And like my friend, Jake Bradshaw, with Do It Big Homes and Do It Big Studios, says, “New wears off.”

As far as trying new things goes, I’m extremely hesitant and have to gather all the facts before I will try it. I love food, but trying new food is incredibly difficult for me. Up until 10 years ago, I could only eat a couple vegetables. Alissa has always encouraged me to eat better and at times guilted me into eating more vegetables. “If you don’t eat them, what makes you think our kids will?” Every bite now is an omen to my kids. Alissa has been my catalyst for eating healthier.

As a kid, trying new rides at an amusement park would nearly make me hyperventilate on the inside. No one could see it, but I was terrified. Actually, maybe they could see it because I am not great at hiding my emotions. Either way, I’ve often allowed my fears to dictate what I do and don’t do.

When I bought my house, I was shaking as I signed on the line, because I felt completely in over my head. The day after buying my first brand new car, I called my friend that sold it to me with buyers remorse. Trying new things isn’t my strong suit because of the negative possibilities. Most of the time, those negative possibilities are built up in my head more than anything I ever have to confront.

Recently, I had to get a night guard for sleeping because I clench my teeth and I also had popping in my jaw that happens every time I open my mouth to take a bite, chew, or yawn. I was not looking forward to it and debated on whether or not to actually go through with getting it. I told myself I will never be able to sleep with it in. But, I went ahead and got it because it may actually help me over time.

What I’ve come to realize is that if we allow our fears to hold us back, we may miss out on new things to love. Fears infiltrate every aspect of our lives and will put down roots and grow if we allow them too.

My food phobias kept me from eating a lot of the foods I enjoy today. I remember my dad making me sit at the table until I finished everything on my plate. Cooked or steamed vegetables taste worse when they are cold. So the memory of those experiences kept me from wanting to even try those foods again as an adult. I was even hesitant to try foods I had never eaten before. But, did you know your palate changes every five to seven years? What you didn’t like may actually be one of your favorites, if you would just try it again. A good salad is one of my favorite, healthy go to meals. I’m thankful Alissa has always pushed me and encouraged me to eat new foods.

As a kid, roller coasters and rides that pushed me to face my fear of heights terrified me. God created gravity for a reason, to keep us on the ground. And that is where I like to keep my feet firmly planted. When I took my first ministry position as a junior high youth pastor, amusement park trips became an annual event for me. I couldn’t let those sixth, seventh, and eighth graders know I was afraid of the rides they loved. So, I rode every ride with them. I pushed myself past the fears that tend to hold me back. I’m glad I did, because now, roller coasters are my favorite rides at amusement parks. I still get a little nervous from time to time, but it’s no longer a fear holding me back.

There have been times when my fear has turned out to be true, but when I stick with it and push through, I find the benefits are on the other side. The night guard was not fun the first couple of nights. And I complained about it to Alissa and anyone that asked me how it was going. It was awful. This morning, a week and a half in, I woke up with less discomfort and slept through the night. The popping in my jaw is less noticeable and my jaw muscles aren’t aching. Sometimes we just have to push through until we get a breakthrough.

I think having faith to try something new is what Jesus was talking about when He and Peter walked on water. Peter had enough faith to step out of the boat, but when he took his eyes off of Jesus and placed them on the waves around him, he began to sink. We need to try new things like Peter did when he stepped out of the boat. No fear. He just did it. Jesus said that God cares about every part of our lives and He wants us to live the best life. The best life is lived without fear.

Trying new things seems to always be facing a fear for me. A lot of times those new things seem like huge, monstrous dogs that eat people for breakfast. However, when you face those fears, the new things turn out to be just like little puppies. Sure they may bite you every once in a while, but they are harmless. And who knows, when we face our fears we may find ourselves walking on waves.

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Why Doesn’t God Answer Me?

Wednesday night I had the privilege of speaking to FC Students. We started a series entitled, “Ask”. The entire series is on the topic of prayer. What an incredibly difficult topic to cover. What is prayer? Why is it important? How do we do pray.

When Michael, our Student Ministries Director, asked me to speak I was more than excited. Telling others about Jesus and how to have a better walk with Him is something I love to do. When I found out that the series was on prayer and Michael asked me which of the topics I would cover, I chose the hardest one I could find.

Why doesn’t God answer me?

A topic I have struggled with a time or two in my life, I was more than excited to tackle this message. As I prepared, I kept coming back to the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. What an incredible story that transpires.

Lazarus is sick and so his sisters send for Jesus to heal him, but Jesus waits. Why did he wait? He could have just said the word and Lazarus would have been healed. But, he waited. Two days in fact. For the Roman centurion, whose daughter was sick and dying, Jesus told him his faith had made her well and that he could go to her and she’d be better.

What I’ve come to realize is that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but He doesn’t do things in he same way. Whatever your circumstance, have faith and believe that God is going to work it out. It may not be in the way you intend, but it will be in a way where He receives the most praise. God has to get us out of the way so we don’t get any of the credit.

Here is my message from Wednesday night. I hope you enjoy.

Love Notes & The Walking Dead

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