Have you ever felt unqualified?
My entire life has been filled with moment after moment of nerve-wracking situations in which I feel I’m the last person who should be doing what I’m doing. There have been times when I’ve felt too young, too inexperienced, too tall, too shy, too self-conscious, too uneducated, less than, and not as good as.
If only I had a bigger personality, more followers, a better story to tell, better fashion sense, a consistent exercise routine... then maybe I’d be qualified. Then maybe I’d feel like I wasn’t trying to imitate what I’ve already seen.
But guess what? If you wait until you feel qualified, you’ll never achieve anything at all. Everything I’ve been able to look back on and feel satisfied with has all started with the same anxious, nagging feeling in my gut. It’s as if I have an inner cartoon character jumping up and down on the brakes, insistently yelling, “No!” No is always my knee-jerk reaction. It’s always where I begin.
I’m not capable of doing that.
I’ve never done anything else like that.
What if I let someone down?
What if I don’t live up to expectations?
What if everything goes wrong?
This voice is a lie. It’s deceptive and it likes to be in control. You can’t fail at what you don’t try. You know what that voice can’t stand? Faith.
I don’t see the outcome, but I will try anyway.
Even if this doesn’t work like I thought, at least I’ll learn.
It might be hard work, but I’ll be prepared.
Doing the best you possibly can and treating others well is enough.
The only way to overcome fear is to face it head on. The bad thing is it’s a battle that will have to be won over and over and over again. The more times you stand up to fear, the more your comfort zone will expand. Unfortunately, that means learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. (Super fun, right?) For me this has looked like:
Moving across the country at 18
Teaching a Sunday school class
Saying yes to a date
Quitting my job to pursue photography on my own
Yes, even writing this blog post.
All these things are examples of times when I wanted to quit before I began. I stood at the edge, looked down below and wanted to be ok with observing from the sidelines. I wanted to play it safe, but if there’s one thing that scares me more than fear, it’s the regret that comes from not trying at all. The scariest things I’ve had to take leaps of faith to pursue have also been the most rewarding. These are the things that have allowed me to grow and learn lessons I would have never experienced otherwise.
If you've ever struggled with feeling unqualified, fear, or failure you are not alone. Keep trying and keep learning. Don't wait until you feel fully qualified because that day just might not come. There are people in this world who need your exact combination of gifts, just as they are, right now.
When is a time when you have felt unqualified, but took a leap anyway? I'd love to hear your story in the comments!
2 Timothy 1:7 - For God did not give you a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-control.
2 Corinthians 12:8 - My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.