If I were to be honest, and I will right now (although I think it is always interesting when someone has to declare they are being honest), one of my biggest areas of personal insecurity is a sense of belonging.
When I’m not careful, I look at the people around me and wonder how I fit. They are smarter, more talented, have a deeper pool of experience and appear to be ALWAYS confident. While I do believe it’s good to surround myself with those more capable than me, it can also lead to an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy.
I don’t belong.
This unguarded feeling, if not confronted, leads to isolation and a general lack of motivation. I effectively stop allowing God to use me because I somehow, in my own mind, just don’t measure up.
But here’s the crazy thing and the thing I would never say out loud. When I discount who I am because I’m comparing myself to others, I am essentially telling God that He made a mistake. I’m telling Him that I am not useful and don’t have a real purpose because He gave me less than He gave to others. What does God think about that?
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
We could look at quite a few other verses, but hopefully these make the point. God made us exactly as He wants us to be and He gave us all that we need to fulfill His will for our lives!
Another important verse for us to consider:
2Corinthians 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
The truth for all of us is that we do belong! It’s only in the comparison to others that we feel inadequate or out of place. God has a plan for you just as He has a plan for them but the only plan you are responsible for is YOURS.
One more Bible passage:
1Corinthians 12:14 “For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.”
You belong! I Belong! We have exactly what we need to fulfill the purpose that God has placed on our lives. And when we’re all doing what God has uniquely equipped us to do, our individual talents, abilities and opportunities work together for His bigger purpose.
So, instead of feeling bad about what you don’t have, work to understand what you do!
How do you understand what God has gifted you to do? Here are a few thoughts. (I have also written about this here)
1. Stop comparing yourself to others. Hopefully this point has been made, but the worst thing we can do is compare what we have to what we perceive in others. I could spend an entire post just on this point, but everyone is dealing with their own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. The only person you are responsible for is you. Stop comparing yourself to others.
2. Commit to taking advantage of the opportunities that God does put in front of you. Decide ahead of time that when an opportunity to use your God-given talents presents itself, regardless of how big or small, that you will take advantage of it. When you have more opportunities than time, evaluate the most important opportunities. If that’s not an issue, take advantage of the opportunities given.
3. DO WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS! The Bible has direction that applies to everyone, everywhere. Things like communicating the Gospel and spending time in prayer and Bible study (and quite a few others). Don’t think that opportunities unique to you will be given if you are not first doing what you know you should be doing. Start with the known. Let God reveal the unknown.
4. Invest in the talents you do have. If you are good at writing-write. If you are good at painting-paint. If you have a gift for encouraging others-encourage. Work with what you have. Stewardship is about caring for what God has placed in your hands. He gets to decide how that grows. You are responsible to nurture and care for it.
5. Focus on the responsibilities that you currently have. If you are father or husband, that is your God-given responsibility right now. Don’t look past what you should be doing to find out what may happen in the future.
6. Find someone further down the road than you and ask a lot of questions. I have addressed this here, but having someone from the outside speak into your life can be invaluable. Give someone that you trust that opportunity to share what they see in you and help you to engage with the gifts that you have been given.
7. Read and Pray. I cannot emphasize this point enough, but you need to be faithfully consuming the Bible to hear from God. You need to go to God in prayer asking for wisdom and direction.
8. Be patient. None of this will look the way that you think it will or happen in the timing that you anticipate. Don’t set expectations other than the expectation to be faithful with the talents, opportunities, and gifts that you have been given.
You belong even when you think you don’t! God has a plan for your life that only He fully understands. Steward over your gifts well and trust Him for the rest.