How to Handle Our Inadequacy and Shame

How to Handle Our Inadequacy and Shame

How to Handle Our Inadequacy and Shame

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Inferiority is the miserable anguish that arises when people believe they are insignificant and unworthy. God doesn’t create us that way, but life convinces us we are. Inadequacy comes from the Latin adaequatus which means “made equal to.” When you’re in-adaequatus you don’t feel equal to the task, or other people.

Those who fight with inadequacy also struggle with feelings of shame. Shame says, “I’m damaged. I’m a problem. I need to hide my real self because people will reject me.” There is a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt says, “I did something wrong.” Guilt is helpful because it motivates us to acknowledge and change our ways. But shame says, “There is something wrong with me. I am the wrong.” Guilt is temporary. Shame can be permanent.

In Exodus 3:5 God said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” It was an Egyptian custom to remove sandals before entering a temple. This practice is still observed in the middle east today. It’s a sign of reverence, a physical act symbolizing an attitude of the heart. Moses wanted to remove any impurity and sin to have personal contact with a holy God. As he bowed his face to the ground, the Lord spoke. In Exodus 3:9 God gave Moses a wildly unreasonable command, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

Moses was like many gifted, capable leaders. He had the goods – talent, energy, training, skill, and smarts, but all was hidden under a cloak of shame.

Moses never groped or grasped for promotion or place of influence. He needed prodding. Drawn out of hiding by God’s call he had to give voice to his fears. For every question, God had an answer. Let’s look at each.

Exodus 3:11 Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He was saying, “You’re 40 years too late. You’ve got the wrong guy for the job.” Instead of failure being an event, it became his identity. He was the failure.

Notice God’s answer. In Exodus 3:12 God said, “I will be with you…”

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