Falling short, or what some people call being inadequate in certain areas, is a difficult experience. I can tell you from personal experience, it is not a very comfortable feeling. And, as we all know, falling short can take on many forms.
At times, we have such feelings because we’ve been criticized too much. It’s easy to feel competent when others support us and applaud our efforts. But if criticism comes (and if it comes often from a source you care about) it may be hard to regain much needed confidence to move forward and keep trying.
Maybe these feelings of inadequacy are tied to failures in our lives — perceived or actual. We all fail at times. Sometimes we fail a lot. I won’t go into the many failures of folks like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein or Abraham Lincoln — they are well-known. But look at what they each achieved in the end. We must not let failures keep us from continuing to try to move forward.
A poor self-image may also be the culprit when it comes to feeling like we miss the mark. We may not really like who we are; we might think we are unworthy. This may be because of our own actions, or because — again — someone we placed our trust in along the way spoke negative things into our lives that we just haven’t been able to shake those negative thoughts. Because of this, we may struggle with insecurities.
Maybe we just feel ill-equipped. Even our own life experiences may lead us to feel disadvantaged in some way. Lack of education, economic position, and upbringing may make us feel like we don’t quite measure up.
For believers, sometimes we feel like we fall short because of lack of faith — or maybe weak faith. If we find ourselves doubting God’s promises, especially the promise to equip us, we’ll feel unable to accomplish whatever he has called us to do. But whenever God calls us and gives us a mission, of sorts, he will equip us with all we need to complete the task. We see such examples in the scriptures.
Moses saw his lack of eloquence as an obstacle to bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt.
Gideon, because of what he saw as his lowly lineage, doubted his own ability to deliver his people from their enemies.
The great prophet of God — Jeremiah —claimed he couldn’t speak to the people on God’s behalf for several reasons.
The solution to all of our feelings of falling short, especially for believers, is knowing that our creator enables us as we live in relationship with him through his son and his holy spirit. He has given us his Holy Spirit to empower us. When feelings of self-doubt creep into, we don’t have to be enslaved or imprisoned to those thoughts, because God, through Christ, has given us the power to overcome them.
We need to stop letting our insecurities stop us from moving on and stretching the boundaries of what we see as our own abilities. Let’s look at what we have been calling shortcomings in a different light. Let us, instead, call them opportunities.