I Just Can’t

I just can’t get it out of my head, you know… those thoughts of inadequacy. It’s so easy to let them bounce around in there, running into everything that forms who I am, or at least who I thought I was. Years went into forming my identity but it takes mere minutes to knock it all down. I wander around my mind picking up the damaged pieces of my self-esteem, trying to reassemble things the way they were but nothing can stop the thoughts of inadequacy from returning. With every cycle more damage is done and although I pick the pieces up and put them back where they were, things will never look the same again.

Behind the layers I am fragile, weak, but then most of us are.

I don’t want people to see who I am, so I cover up as much as possible. Even when I am okay letting others see a bit more of me, the well-rehearsed behaviours and responses built up over time act like calluses, protecting me from anyone that might get a little too close. As the cold wind of inadequacy blows around in my head I put back on the layers of protection. Don’t let anyone see anything, I may be callused but why take a chance that someone may make it beyond my thick skin to find the fragile layer that lies just beneath, so I cover up.

I’ve been cut, I have been burnt and I have blistered; I don’t like it.

Words of criticism draw blood even if they are meant to instruct and guide. People’s broken promises burn even though many fell victim to circumstance rather than being the natural outcome of an outright lie.  My repeated attempts to earn trust, respect and even love have produced nothing but blisters because no matter how much you trust, respect and even love me it will never be enough. I cover up so people can’t see me, can’t cut me, can’t burn me and so that blisters won’t form because underneath all those layers is the one thing that guarantees I will get hurt, my feeling of inadequacy.

I am led to believe it is just a flaw in my thinking.

A positive outlook, a change of focus, think about the good things, remember your accomplishments. If you just change the way you think, the way you see the world around you then inadequacy will no longer bounce around in there, running into everything that forms who you are. It won’t be long before you can strip off the layers and lose your fear of letting people see who you really are.

Sounds good until reality gets in the way.

Maybe I can, with a new outlook, a change of focus, change the way I think, the way I see the world. Maybe I can see myself as less inadequate, more competent, more valuable. Maybe I can strip a few layers of protection off and just be me. Cuts heal, burns scar and blisters pop, each leading to a new opportunity to get out there and… if they heal, scar and pop, do I really want to get cut, burnt, or blistered all over again? Regardless of my new outlook, my new focus, no matter how I change my thinking or see the world, at some point I must accept that I will be inadequate in some area of my life.

Thoughts of inadequacy, it’s so easy to let them bounce around in there.

I guess it’s not so bad feeling inadequate, everyone does it at some point in their life. I would even say most people live with some sense of inadequacy all through their life.  What if I will never be good enough at everything? What if almost every promise made is broken? What if I can’t always make people trust, respect and love me? Maybe being inadequate is just part of being human. Maybe I cover up what I am so that others will not think less of me but by doing so I make them cover up what they are so I will not think less of them.

Maybe being human is about being inadequate so covering it up is covering up who I am.

I am so inadequate that I cannot give myself life. I am so inadequate that I cannot live without air, food, water and shelter. I am so inadequate that I cannot stop focussing on being inadequate. I am so inadequate that I cannot stop myself from sinning. I am so inadequate that I cannot save myself from eternal separation from the one who created me.

If I am so inadequate then you must be too.

If inadequacy bounces around in our thoughts destroying who we are then maybe we should form who we are around being inadequate.

…I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 (NIV)

Inadequacy is not my issue, my issue is who I let address my inadequacy, the one who accuses me of being inadequate or the one who replaces my inadequacy with His adequacy.

10 comments

  1. Ahhhhh! I thought I had my walls up, but “No!” You shot me right through the heart! And now I will be looking at myself from that dark, dark past, where everything is unclear except for the fact that it was…”My fault!” And yet, God still loves me!

    Good word, Dave. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Years went into forming my identity but it takes mere minutes to knock it all down.”

    “Words of criticism draw blood even if they are meant to instruct and guide. ”

    Could be me, too. Great words. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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