inadequate disciple?

7.22.2012 |

have you ever lacked the value of positive self-worth?  have you ever felt as though you are not living up to your potential? that everyone else has figured it out but you?  have you ever just felt like you're not quite doing enough, yet if you tried to squeeze even one more thing into your busy schedule, your head may very well combust?  have you ever felt inadequate?

maybe this doesn't describe you in any aspect of your life, but if you are a human being like me (which i'll assume you are) then it probably struck some chord deep within.  whether you have been suppressing these sentiments or wear them openly on your sleeve, please know that you are not alone in your struggle of inadequacy.

let me brief you on my most recent struggle of inadequacy.  many of my friends whom of which are firmly rooted in the truths of the gospel have summer internships or are/have participated in missionaries this summer.  i am stuck in starkville, mississippi or occasionally indianapolis, indiana and i float through memphis, tennessee at times.  i am not working with high school youth and i am not sleeping in a third-world village. i don't get to hike up a mountain and tell middle school girls how to face the realities of the coming days or give talks on jesus.  so what exactly is my problem? my struggle of inadequacy comes from comparison and outward appearance.  i feel as though i am not making a mark for jesus, i feel useless, i feel unworthy because i don't have the same opportunities as others.  when i get down to the bones of it, when my friends and i sit around with coffee in hand and bibles in tote to discuss our adventures, i am not going to have a cool story of how jesus lead me to lead others to christ this summer.  someone please slap me for being so vain.

therefore, i dig myself into a self-loathing and pitiful grave.

this morning at church, chip fed us with a talk on missions.  i'm sure grumbles and ughs could be heard as a dull groan throughout the baptist congregation because isn't this topic engraved into baptists' wiring, it's the bread and butter, and the take home message of every sermon?  however, i knew i was in for a real treat due to my recent inadequate discovery.  bring it on brother chip.
"jesus came and told the disciples, 'i have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth.  therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  teach these new disciples to obey all the commands i have given you. and be sure of this: i am with you always, even to the end of the age'."
–matthew 28:18-20
now, it wasn't the words in matthew that necessarily enlightened me or brought me to a sense of understanding on my dilemma.  rather, it was jesus tugging at my heart, telling me to wake up and smell the sweat on the track which is (and has always been) my mission field! i'm so blind sometimes.  slap me again, would you!?

my eyes were opened to the responsibility and delight that it is to go on missions by reading the life-altering book, radical by david platt.  my friends are going on missions foreign and domestic. my heart is aching for those who don't know jesus, and yet just because i am not walking on persecuted ground and because i don't get to spend countless hours supervising hormonal adolescents, i feel worthless? my logic is flawed, isn't it?

you may be thinking, "renee, this is quite absurd thinking" but this is how i genuinely feel.  it is toxic to my heart and has pervaded every element of my attitude this past week.

upon leaving church, i was relieved and revived, refreshed and ready.

it is true, that i may not be in a place right now that allocates time to go abroad, but that does not give me an excuse to not ever go.  it does not give me an excuse to not be jesus to everyone i meet.  jesus told us to go to all the nations.  chip changed my perspective when he said, "you're in a college town, the nations are practically coming to you and you still aren't doing anything about it!  reader, how can i go and make disciples if i am not living out daily the promises of jesus?

in all, chip's sermon told me to simply wake up and stop feeling inadequate.

in my roommate's words, i have a "stunningly unique gift of running and leadership."  i happen run cross-country and track at mississippi state university where i am the team captain. ok, my mission field is established. why am i seeing this mission field as any different than alien soil? than going on camping trips with 20 middle-schoolers? than repurposing housing units in the inner city? (all of which in and of themselves are wonderful things and if that is what you are/have been doing, keep doing it! you rock, thank you).

comparison is the thief of joy.  it is something we all do whether we realize it or not.  you may not compare yourself to others spiritually as i do which feeds my feeling of inadequacy, but you may try to stack up against others.  girls, you compare body types, clothes, hair, grades, character of your children against other children.  guys, you compare muscles, facial hair, financial status, and career paths. the lists are essentially endless.  regardless, when you start comparing yourself to others, you will always always always find fault with yourself and you will always always always end up internally judging those who you "are better than/doing more than/ have more than."  you know as well as i do, that comparison cannot make its home in our hearts or we will forever be less than what God desired.

wake up, people! our mission fields are everywhere around us.  not that we should ever neglect our duty to "go to all nations" or use excuses to say that God's words don't apply to you in that scenario,  but how can we expect to be God's tool in making disciples in foreign lands when we don't have a single nice word to say to our coworkers (and we can forget about trying to smile!), when we can't even take time to sit down with a hurting friend or have the neighbors over for dinner every once in a while, when we cannot defend our beliefs during an unexpected conversation at a starbucks?

i am as guilty as they come when pointing the finger of comparison and excuse making.  it's time to stop, self.  i'm sipping on a decaf americano at (surprise) strangebrew after attending a prayer meeting about caring for the orphans.  after watching a tv show on TLC last week about pregnant mothers planning to give their children up for adoption, my heart was exposed to a different mission field.  i have a few friends that i have met in college who are actually adopted and my youth leader as a child adopted two children about 12 years ago.  whether or not this is an avenue God needs me to pursue, i am glad me eyes were further opened to such commands.
"father to the fatherless, defender of widows – this is God, whose dwelling is holy.  God places the lonely in families; he sets prisoners free and gives them joy."
–psalm 68:5-6a
back to my feelings of inadequacy: essentially these feelings were brought about by jealousy, destructive self-worth, selfishness, comparison, and distrust of my Maker. i failed to see what God has placed before me, because i was too worried about what i didn't have.  i was fretting that because i didn't have "this" trait or "these" qualities, i saw myself as unusable.


God has placed before us each unique and creative characteristics! look for what God has given you, instead of what he hasn't.  chances are, you have specific qualities in which other brothers and sisters desire. the circle of comparison is vicious if we give into it, stand firm on the foundation and promises of God.  he has blessed you with so much, yet we continue to barely scratch the surface of his blessings because we are blinded.

where is your mission field?

what are your unique qualities?

how are you going to go and make disciples of all the nations?

i am planning to go somewhere, anywhere foreign or domestic over christmas break this year.  if you have ideas or know of any opportunities, please don't hesitate to let me know.  i want to and will go, even if it's across the street.


  1. this post is... i don't have words. it's SO good.
    your heart for the Lord is so beautiful.
    thank you for sharing and being so open and for being YOU. :)

    1. thank you amber, that is so very sweet of you. i'm enjoying your blog so very much. you have a very gentle heart and bold spirit from what i can read between the lines. you are such an encouragement and send great reminders at the right time! God is so faithful!!

      my heart certainly has a very long way to go, but i really hope it does mirror the Lord.

  2. Thanks for expressing what I have been trying to tell folks for years. My mission field is where God calls me to be. Right now its in a small company doing computer programming for His glory. We are missionaries right here right now.

    Great Post!!!!!

    1. thanks for the comment mr. bruce!

  3. Thanks for being so honest, Renee !! You and I are alike, I think, in that we are both pretty hard on ourselves. I am struggling alot with this right now. I feel confused, overwhelmed, and extremely inadequate. So I am going to tell you what God tells me through other people daily: Don't be so hard on yourself, daughter of the King. Your light shines farther than you know, and there are alot of people counting on and looking up to you in Starkville !! So keep your chin up and do what you do best ;) much love !

    1. thank you, anon. :) that warmed my heart and was a huge encouragement. i really appreciate you taking time to read my post and commenting.

      i am hard on myself. and yeah, probably a little too hard at times, holding myself to unrealistic expectations :/ thanks for reminding me that i am a daughter of the King. when we look at our lives as personalized to God, we are humbled in a super way.

      thank you for the encouragement. it really came at a perfect time.


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