Feeling Inadequate? God Will Give the Increase
by Erika Bailey
Growing up, I loathed Language Arts. Conjunctions, prepositions, adjectives and all the like were dispiriting topics for my mind to comprehend. Singing along with Schoolhouse Rock! was when I felt most grammatically esteemed. Being raised by a family of singers, singing was my strong suit from an early age. Therefore, I could nail the song “Conjunction Junction, What’s Your Function?” and fool you into thinking I truly knew what I was singing about. I didn’t.
I didn’t enjoy English. I hated it, as a matter of fact. Writing papers, using references, the work, the time and the amount of studying was all too boring for me. Consequently, I only wrote what I had to in order to get by. I never put forth a great deal of effort to comprehend the functions of grammar or to master essay writing. CliffsNotes were this girl’s best friend. After graduation, I made a pact with myself that my English and Language Arts days were over.
Since a bachelor’s degree required English 102, I decided to obtain an associate’s degree to become a registered nurse. My entire 20s were devoted to this calling as a nurse. It was my passion. Helping people in their time of need.
In my early- to mid-30s, a shift took place. I felt a tug on my heart to begin to write. With social media in its prime, my daily login was an everyday admonition of what the Lord wanted me to do. I was quick to remind Him (just in case He had forgotten), “I am not a writer. Remember?”
Moses had a similar conversation with the Lord in Exodus 4:10: “Moses said to the Lord, ‘Lord, I am not a man of words. I have never been. Even now since You spoke to Your servant, I still am not. For I am slow in talking and it is difficult for me to speak’” (NLV). The Lord had revealed that Moses was the one chosen to head Israel’s exodus from Egypt. This title required him to speak before Pharaoh. Once Moses concluded his reminder, God reminded him of an absolute Truth: “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes a man not able to speak or hear? Who makes one blind or able to see? Is it not I, the Lord? So go now. And I will be with your mouth. I will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:11-12, NLV).
Moses is one of the greatest leaders in the Bible. He, too, had thoughts of inadequacy. But despite the doubts, God used him. Even with Moses’ lack, God gave the increase. Just like Moses, I toil with feeling so overwhelmingly underqualified for the calling. I’ve been writing for three years. I still battle with calling myself a “writer.” I wrestle with feelings of inadequacy, interlaced with moments of comedic cluelessness. The comedic part? Joining a critique group with people who live and breathe the things I could only sing along with as a child. This cluelessness has me searching the internet to define grammatical terms they use. Sigh. You see, after three years, I’m still completely out of my comfort zone. And, friend, maybe you feel the same way. Laugh about it and press on. Because, comfort zone or not, one thing is for certain: Acting on our call to write is an act of obedience to the One who gives the increase. That’s all He asks us to do. Obey. He’ll do the rest.
October 10, 2023
January 3, 2023