Published On: Mon, Feb 22nd, 2016

Do you feel inadequate?

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Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi

Feeling inadequate is a natural phenomenon, which arises mainly out of fear. Many people have demonstrated it in their lives at one time or the other. You feel inadequate to do something because you think you cannot do it. There is the fear of failure and what people will say about you.  At such a time, you forget God’s promises to be with you always and that He makes all things possible. All that occupies your mind is that your self-image will be dented if you fail and that people will lose confidence in you. This feeling of inadequacy can result in failure to take advantage of an opportunity. It can even cause you to miss God’s guidance and blessing.

Often, God turns our areas of inadequacy around for His glory and purpose. He demonstrates that without Him, we can do nothing. There are many things we cannot do in our own strength but we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength. This is why He takes our areas of inadequacy and turns them into strength and the glory becomes His. I Cor. 1:27 says, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things to confound the things which are mighty.

You need to trust and obey God, and walk in His strength when you are called to serve. It is foolishness to reject God’s call because of the feeling of inadequacy. Rejection of the call is disobedience which takes you away from God’s plan for your life. Whatever your feelings or concerns are, believe God and He will transform your weakness into strength.

When God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, he felt grossly inadequate. He demanded assurance from God that the Israelites would believe that He had sent him. God obliged him with three miraculous signs. Despite these miracles, he still presented his slowness of speech and tongue as an excuse to decline his assignment. Even when God assured him of helping and teaching him what to say, he said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” At this stage God became angry with him and quickly assigned his brother, Aaron, to him. He promised to help them with what to say and instructed that Aaron should speak to the people. In addition, he equipped him with a staff for performing miracles.

Can you imagine what might have happened if Moses had eventually turned down God’s directive? First of all, his purpose in life would have been thwarted. His destiny would have remained unfulfilled. Right from birth, God had preserved his life for this purpose and guided him through various stages of life in preparation for the leadership of the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. However, if he had failed, God’s plan of deliverance would still have come to pass.

The attitude of Moses was not an isolated case. What of young Jeremiah when he was called to be a prophet? He presented his age as an area of weakness.   What of Gideon when he was called to save the Israelites from the Midianites? He offered excuses of poverty of his family in Manasseh, and of being the youngest in his family. Despite God’s assurances of being with him, he demanded some signs.

The attitude of these men who later became mightily used of God is not peculiar. Some of us still behave in a similar way today when we are called to serve. We feel inadequate and give hundreds of excuses why we cannot do it.

At the annual conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) held in Kano in 1974, I had an encounter with my friend, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, who was the outgoing national secretary. There was a vacant position for the editor-in-chief of the Society’s journal and a suitable person was being searched for the position. Juli (as he is popularly called) approached me at the bar of Lake Bagauda Hotel, venue of the conference. “Atus”, he said, patting me on the shoulder, “you have to do something for the PSN now.”  “Sure, if I can do it,” I replied.

Then he released the bombshell. “I want to submit your name as the editor-in-chief of our journal and I want you to accept the nomination because I am sure you will perform well.”  I reacted sharply and negatively. “You know I cannot do it. I have never done it before. Don’t expose my ignorance and inadequacy. Please find another person”. Juli listened to me and assured me that two of us would be working together and it was a service to our Society. Eventually, with the assurance of his working closely with me, I accepted to serve. From that moment, I determined to do the work so well as to be the best editor.

I did not realise that God was preparing me for a career in pharmaceutical journalism with the acceptance to serve the Society. From November 1974 to date, I have edited pharmaceutical periodicals. It is likely that if out of feeling of inadequacy, I had rejected the offer to serve, I might have missed God’s purpose for my life.

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Do you feel inadequate?