Friday, September 10, 2010

Inferiority revisited and dismissed

Do you remember Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live? Al Franken played him in the 90's. Stuart was a hopelessly neurotic self-help guru. He would look in the mirror and recite his affirmations. The most famous one was, "I'm good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." It even became the title of a book of daily affirmations.

If you know me very well, or if you've read my blog much, you are well aware of my inferiority complex. I'm so worried that I am NOT good enough, NOT smart enough, and that people aren't going to like me. My lack of self-confidence extends to nearly every aspect of my life...work, marriage, parenting, friendships, you name it...I know how very inadequate I am and one of my biggest worries is that I'll get caught. Someone is going to find out that I am not really as smart as they originally thought I was. I'm going to get busted for being not nearly good enough.

Feeling inferior is a huge stumbling block in my service to God. I worry that my Bible study lessons lack substance. The questions I'm asking aren't good enough, or they are too personal, or no one wants to talk about the topics I've chosen. I'm hesitant and apologetic and ineffective. I often doubt myself, and so I don't step up to the service that I feel called to do.

Today, when I was doing my morning devotions, my scripture was from the first chapter of 1Timothy. Inferior me was especially drawn to verse 12: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him" (NLT).

Take that, inferiority complex! Jesus thinks I am qualified to do His work. In fact, he has created me to do just that. He has given me special gifts and talents to use in His service. Paul goes on to talk about what a terrible person he had been before he came to salvation, and how easily his past could have prevented him from serving God. Instead of looking at his failings as an excuse, he claimed God's mercy and grace and used his past as his primary qualification as a servant of Christ.

So, if Jesus has redeemed me and appointed ME to do His work, what do I have to feel inferior about? I'm good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, HE loves me!

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