Words of My Life 5: Inadequate


In ongoing celebration of my Jubilee year of 50 years in ministry and 70 years of life, I am sharing some of the words of my life. In high school my friends said I was a know-it-all.

In college I made good grades without much effort.

As a cocky young writer/editor, my boss told me I thought too highly of myself.

As the newly appointed editor of a magazine, I was really proud that we won the top prize in a press competition.

I thought I was adequate for any task I undertook.  I knew my abilities were gifts from God, and I was sure He was pleased that I would use them in serving Him.

But He was also committed to my understanding that in myself, I was not so adequate and able.  In fact, I was totally inadequate.

That began a journey over many years, in many arenas, to learn that, in myself, I am totally inadequate.  I began to grasp the truth of Matthew 19:26: “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

When I thought I would be promoted to director of  publications,  my lack of management skills disqualified me.  I was not happy, but God assured me He was in it—He had much to teach me.

Three years later I was named publications director and, despite good mentoring, I quickly discovered leading 30 staff was more than I was prepared for. Recognizing my inadequacy, I consistently asked God for wisdom.  He brought together an amazing team.

My first child revealed my inadequacy at new level.  A constantly upset tummy kept my daughter crying for months.  I felt like a total failure as a mother—I couldn’t comfort my baby.  God assured me I was the right mother for her—and she was right for me to learn that I was not in control as I liked to be.

The reality of my personal inadequacy was further revealed as my husband took global responsibility in our ministry.  I partnered with him and found myself traveling the world, encouraging and guiding staff and speaking to small and large groups.

Now I was really over my head. I didn’t feel I had the cross-cultural experience, the wisdom or the spiritual maturity for my opportunities and responsibilities.

Then I heard my Father say, “Yes, my daughter.  You are inadequate.  You can’t possibly do what I have asked you to do.  In your own power.  But I am with you every minute.  And My Spirit will fill you, empower you and speak and teach through you.”

What a relief!  To know I am indeed inadequate, but to be assured that the Holy Spirit in me is more than adequate for any challenge.

What about you?  Where has God provided needed adequacy for you? 

C2014 Judy Douglass