by LeeAnah James, Convention Speaker

From time to time, I go through moments of inadequacy. I get stuck in the trap of comparison and self doubt. I start to wonder if I am being intentionally excluded or left out. Sometimes I feel as if I am unworthy of companionship; after all, what do I have to bring to the table? These are silent battles.

These battles are fought, lost, and won within the confines of my mind. They rarely show up on the outside except in the case of desperate pleas for accountability and prayer. These are fights with whispers. Loud, persistent, haunting whispers in the dark. “You’re not good enough.” “You aren’t successful enough.” “You’re not a good enough mom.” “You’re too hard.” “You’re too soft.” “You. Are. Not. Enough.”

Feelings Are Lies!
Then there are the feelings that follow these whispers. Hopelessness, anger, fear… feelings are lies! They are fleeting vapors changing with circumstance or setting. I am not suggesting that feelings don’t matter. They are very important, but they are rarely permanent, and they change quickly. The enemy loves to capitalize on our feelings. We use our feelings as excuses to make decisions both good and bad. We also use our feelings as a reason not to act. Our emotions should be more like advisers in our lives and less like dictators. Once we have identified how we allow our emotions to rule our lives, we can put them into their proper place.

While experiencing moments of inadequacy and comparison it is easy for me to transfer those feelings of frustration or irritation to my husband or children. It is easy to find scapegoat excuses, “Well, sure I am a little irritated, but they should have…” When justifications start, it is time for me to stop. It’s time to pause and identify my true feelings and why. The Bible tells us it’s important to know the affliction of our own hearts.

1 Kings 8:38-40 says, “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is  whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You have given to our fathers.”

Life Happens
Life happens, hard times come, we lose people, money, and things. Our heart gets broken and we experience hurt and sadness. This Scripture is saying that whatever is going on in the world around you, know what is ailing you specifically. Then turn your attention to those in your family. Once you acknowledge and know how you truly feel you can come before the Lord knowing the root of the issue you want him to address.

Jeremiah 14:20 puts it this way, “We know our wickedness, O LORD, the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You.”

I have come to realize when I am focused on my inadequacies I am being self-centered. When I focus on what I am lacking, what desires are being unfulfilled and what areas may need work instead of focusing on God and what He has designed me to do (or getting closer to Him through studying His word) it becomes evident that the root of my issue is pride. I want to be as perfect as I can, so others will want me, want to be like me, and see me as the correct example of Christ. I am not saying that we shouldn’t address our issues and seek to be like Christ. We should wholly and completely surrender ourselves to be re-made by the creator of the universe. I am simply saying we need to constantly check our hearts, knowing our wickedness and acknowledging that if we were not wicked we wouldn’t need Christ in the first place. My goal should not be that others see me as an example of Christ but that others see Christ only.

David says it so sincerely here,

Psalms 51:3: “For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.”

Create In Me a Clean Heart
My heart translates this as, “I know I am not deserving of your love. In everything I do I see that.” In verse 10 after acknowledging his state of being, he asks God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

David recognized that he was far from perfect; everywhere he looked he could see where he’d messed up. Yet this was the man that was after God’s own heart. This man was a murderer, an adulterer, and a deserter; but he was also a warrior, a worshipper, and a student of faith. He realized he did not deserve God’s grace and he basked in it. David came to God as a child.

Matthew 18:3 “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

My kids know there is nothing they can do to make me stop loving them. With this in mind they literally climb all over me at any given opportunity. They have no problem getting comfortable at the expense of my discomfort. Even after getting in trouble they are right there by my side again, longing for my touch, for interaction with me. Sure, they mess up, sure they have a lot to learn but they don’t mind getting messy while learning.

David was like this. He made a mess of life at times, but he was steadfast and sure in God’s love for him. He treated God like He was his father basking in His presence despite any previous infractions. This is how we should be with God. We can be sure that if nothing else is true, constant, and secure, His love is.

LeeAnah James, MBA, is a corporate trainer, homeschooling mom, and church leader. While completing undergraduate work at Grambling State University LeeAnah traveled to seven countries. She now uses this love for international cultures to home educate her children: Summer (6), Kristian (5), and Autumn Reign (2). While in graduate school she studied Emotional Intelligence and its benefits to the workplace; she found the same concepts in the Bible and wrote about it in her book How to Lead with Emotional Intelligence: How to Handle Your Emotions According to God’s Word. LeeAnah is Small Group Coordinator, a member of the Administrative Leadership team, and a part of the Children’s Ministry team at her church, Shield of Faith Christian Center in Pomona, CA.

LeeAnah will be speakinig on Emotional Intelligence for Teens and Integrating Cultural Diversity Into Your Homeschool Curriculum