how to combat spiritual inadequacy

This world isn’t exactly prone to making people feeling good enough. There’s always more we need. More we should be. A way we are lacking and lagging behind the rest. And if you don’t notice it yourself, chances are that someone will tell you.

Of course, humanity isn’t perfect. We are flawed and bound to make some mistakes along the bumpy road of life. Even in spiritual spaces, our abilities and self-esteem come into question. However, despite any sense of spiritual inadequacy, there’s truth that never ceases: we are always good enough for God. Isn’t that why we cling to God in the first place?

Between our spiritual and public lives, and the murky area in between those two, it can feel like we’re being pulled in opposite directions with conflicting messages. Feel good enough for God and combating spiritual inadequacy isn’t easy. However, when we uncover the truth beneath our nagging doubts and insecurities, we bring forth more compassion for ourselves and one another.

the struggle is real.

Let me tell you, I’ve thought my own share of spiritual inadequacy countless times. Whether it was my wandering confusion about which direction life should take me, or pursuing ministry as an autistic person, I couldn’t help but wonder, Am I good enough for any of this?

Good ol’ imposter syndrome. My problem especially came when I wasn’t yet aware of my autism and constantly compared myself to others. I noticed how much “better” others were doing or how much “prettier” others looked. Don’t even get me started on productivity, and that vicious cycle involved with feeling lazy and “falling behind,” only to overwork myself and experience autistic burnout.

Turning it back to spiritual inadequacy, there’s always been a sense that others have a deeper connection to the Divine than I do. Others pray more often, have more rituals, read more religious texts. How can I expect others to rely upon my spiritual leadership if all I feel is spiritual inadequacy?

I’ve noticed that when I’m in my darkest places, I struggle to connect with God at all. My spiritual life seems to take the back burner as I try to grapple with my inner demons alone. I feel lost, hopeless, isolated…any negative emotion, all piling on at once and burying me alive. I feel ashamed to go to God feeling utterly broken.

But we aren’t meant to take it all on alone: revisit Psalm 23 as a testament to this. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me…” The fears that burden our minds dissipate in Spirit’s presence.

God’s counterargument to spiritual inadequacy

Part of not feeling good enough comes from mental illness, suffering from chronic depression and anxiety. Another part is getting lost in my own thoughts and negative societal influences. In my weakest moments, I forget to turn to God and instead depend upon societal norms and worldly expectations, most of which weren’t even designed for autistic people.

With every doubt that pops into our heads, God has an answer to ease our minds. When we aren’t feeling good enough, it’s easy to assume God won’t even want to hear from us. Certainly there are bigger problems in the world than our minute existence and self-esteem, right?

God is always here for us. However you understand the Divine, that resource never wavers and will remain steady whenever we need it. As tempting as it is to isolate and wallow in self-pity, acknowledge how you feel and turn to your spiritual resources. That could be Scripture, nature, an altar, your yoga mat: you name it, God is within reach.

Every crevice and living being in God’s creation reflects who God is. We know God embodies all the world’s strength, compassion, and complex wisdom. And all of those qualities are present in your own existence!

We’ve each been brought into this world for a purpose: to bring God’s presence directly to others. Maybe our occupation and career path and body image aren’t up to snuff. As the Smiths sang, there’s a light that never goes out. That light is God. The Divine is always within us. Life is constantly changing and buckling beneath us, but that light is steadfast.

Perhaps your experiences in church and spiritual spaces relied upon condemning doctrine, a continual need for repentance from our “sinful nature.” I instead encourage you to focus on love. Regardless of how many mistakes you may make, you’re ultimately a source of love meant to radiate and blossom.

changing the inner dialogue.

Whenever we feel the doubts creeping back in, trying to deceive us, we must equip ourselves with God’s essence. We must remind ourselves that feeling good enough for God is a guarantee. If God is within us and breathes life into us, how can we reasonably accept spiritual inadequacy?

Before spiraling down that pit of despair, slow down. Really listen to your inner dialogue. What lies have spun into your thoughts? What people or inner voices are steering you away from God? Pinpoint what’s bringing you down, and then reflect on how God would respond to it.

For example, let’s take the message that we’re wasting away our precious time by not actively pursuing a specific vision. Thoughts are just thoughts, but heaven knows they can become blown out of proportion. “You’re falling behind everyone else! You’re not doing well enough! Stop disappointing others and yourself!”

God could tell you otherwise. Your life’s path has already been marked, and even in a time of stagnancy, you have every right to feel good enough for God. You’re still worthy of love. You’re still making a greater impact on others and the world than you realize.

Habakkuk 2:3 says, “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” God has perfect timing. Times of spiritual inadequacy likely suggest growing pains as you prepare for for remarkable things. Questioning ourselves, in turn, questions God. If you lack your own answers, then let God help.

Try this with any of your own insecurities, the nagging thoughts making you feel not good enough for God. No matter what life throws at you, God perseveres. Divine love and compassion live on forever. It’s not a practice that comes easily; give yourself grace and patience as you learn to become more conscious of that deeper voice that may only whisper beneath the louder sounds surrounding you.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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Hannah R
3rd August 2018 at 7:49 am

I LOVE THIS! I can so relate to your struggles x

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