We feel inadequate because oftentimes we may be inadequate compared to other people. God does not compare you and me to other people. If He called you to do something, He will equip you to do it. Therefore, our feelings of inadequacy are not bad feelings; they're not wrong feelings. They're not sinful feelings if we respond to them in the right way.
—Charles F. Stanley, “The Blessings of Our Inadequacy”
I know I’m probably preaching to the choir when I say this, but this whole motherhood gig is rough. Granted, I’m only six years into it, raising two sons I gained through adoption, but even though my experience is relatively limited, I can tell you honestly that raising kids is the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done (and will likely ever do).
That’s why church can be such a challenge for me sometimes. Many of the women with whom I worship are really bringing their A-game every Sunday. I mean, if mothering were an Olympic sport, most of them would be right up there on the podium like Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, and Usain Bolt—smiling and waving, medals around their graceful necks and a tiny bouquet in each of their perfectly manicured hands.
One mother in particular always leaves me feeling “less than.” There are some Sundays I can barely get my boys into pants (which are always wrinkled because, no matter how many times I teach them how to use a hanger, they can never seem to manage it). Her trio, on the other hand, comes to church in coordinating outfits—each item of clothing professionally monogrammed. No, I’m not kidding.
“God does not compare you and me to other people.”
But it doesn’t stop there. I bring a store-bought dessert to a potluck because I run out of time to prepare something. She shows up with homemade cupcakes artfully arranged in a three-layer stand. I take notes for small group in the margins of the book we’re studying; she has them neatly typed up, printed out, and stored in a three-ring binder. I don’t know the words to “Rise and Shine,” but she sure does. I half expect her to whip out a ukulele and sing the song in French when we work children’s church together.
It should be mentioned that this lovely woman never works to make me feel like a failure. She’s never been less than kind to me—always complimentary and positive. It’s my own feelings of inadequacy that are to blame. I’d like to have it all together, to be the epitome of polish and perfection, but I’m not. And that’s okay. As Dr. Stanley says, “If [God] called you to do something, He will equip you to do it.”
As the daughter of a retail manager, I got used to picking up and moving at a moment’s notice. I could never have my life “just so,” no matter how badly I wanted it. Rather than fall apart, I learned how to make the best of whatever was presented to me, even if it was less than ideal in my eyes. As a result, I’ve become accustomed to a certain amount of chaos.
I’d like to have it all together, to be the epitome of polish and perfection, but I’m not.
If something doesn’t work out, I just roll with it. And if I’ve learned anything from raising adopted children, it’s that there is plenty of disorder and change to be managed. They’ve come from a world where their basic needs weren’t met, where they were often neglected or forgotten. So if I’m providing a loving and stable place where they can grow up feeling safe and cared for—much as my parents did for me despite all the upheaval—I’m doing a pretty bang-up job. No monograms or Pinterest-worthy cupcakes required.
I may not look like “the perfect mother” (whatever that means) to the outside world, but I’m exactly what my family needs. Even though I may not always feel like it, I’m well suited to the work God has allotted to me. And so are you.