Fear of Inadequacy: The Roadblock to Living in Purpose

The Urge to Do What You Love

Have you ever experienced a burning desire to do what you love; to step out on faith and do something extraordinary with your life?

Do you have a life purpose or calling that is so immense and impactful it’s intimidating?

Fear spelled out on scrabble board pieces

All of us have natural abilities and talents that could be a blessing to the lives of others. The works in which we would partake for the sheer joy of doing them, without the promise of monetary gain or other accolades. We think to ourselves “if only I had the opportunity to do what I really loved-one day.” Then that “one day” arrives and we are unable to move in our purpose. We are paralyzed by that pesky emotion called fear.

The fear of being noticed or scrutinized

The fear of not meeting, or surpassing, the standard

My Experience with Fear

I know this emotion all too well. We are besties. Even when it came to this moment, writing my very first blog post, I was frozen in place by fear.

Keep reading, there is a silver lining in this story.

I have always had some level of understanding of what type of gifts I possess. One of these gifts is writing. It has been the easiest way for me to communicate and connect with people, so it’s natural that my life’s purpose would involve using this skill at some capacity. Throughout my education, I depended on my writing ability to save me from my reluctance to speak in class and earn treasured participation points. In college, like many students, I would write 20 page papers a couple of days before they were due and somehow manage to get great grades (procrastination tends to be my thing). I was always eager to take creative writing or poetry classes and excelled.

Based on these experiences, I had all the confirmation I needed to assure myself this was one of the things I could do well. My affinity seemed to match my ability. The idea of writing for more than an audience of 1 (me, myself, and I) or a class instructor seemed appealing. However, the idea of bringing that dream to fruition did, and at times still does, make me wince in fear of potential inadequacy.

Have You Experienced this Type of Fear too?

Maybe you can relate? What is this creeping feeling of not being enough in our present state? This feeling of “not being good enough” is an obstacle that prevents many of us from taking a chance on ourselves. Now fear itself can stem from many things, some of which I will surely cover in future posts. However, at this moment we will discuss fear stemming from the perception that we do not measure up to some arbitrary standard. Even with external validation from recognition or success, we still count the ways in which we are not good enough to step into our true calling. Mainstream psychology might call this Imposter Syndrome-the inability to internalize accomplishments that result from using our natural gifts and talents accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a “fraud” or scrutinized.

Accepting that You Have to Step Out on Faith

Based on my ongoing relationship with this feeling, I would call it a deterrent or distraction from God’s will. God’s will for us involves using our gifts. His wills for us to seize opportunities to love others as ourselves by using our gifts as acts of service. I am learning to keep this in mind when fear arises. I am also learning to let go my ego; a ego that is the source of my fear. It is not necessarily about us or our emotions that sometimes impede our ability to live purposefully.

However, it is about our total submission to God and our ability to let him use us as vessels, even when we ourselves falsely believe that we are inadequate. For He has given us all we need. It may be true that there is always room for growth and that will naturally occur with time, but at this present moment we are enough…rephrase, we are more than enough. Because of God’s goodness, I have more than enough skill to be a great writer. You have more than enough talent to be a chef, teacher, doctor, preacher, or whatever it is your heart desires.

While preparing this blog post, I came across a verse in the Bible that really hit home. Joshua 1:9 reads:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

As we can see, God has already told us that we should not let fear break us. God’s presence strengthens us. It makes us more courageous fulfilling his will. Whatever it is that is pulling at your heart or God has called you to do, step out on faith. You are never alone.

How has the fear of inadequacy operated in your life? What measures are you taking to overcome this fear in order to accomplish your dreams? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Purpose Maven Written by:

A Writer, Thinker, Change Maker, and Motivator I created this space to help others beat obstacles that stop them from reaching their highest potential.

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  1. Nova Caine
    November 5, 2016

    I totally relate to this, i had no idea about the Imposter syndrome. What things can i say about the matter that you haven’t touched on. Fear is the biggest obstacle. I feel that when approached with my purpose i have lost my super powers and it is so strange. I cannot understand how my own personal talent is confronted by fear so much that i am unabke to use it for my own healing. I run from it. People say just do it as if it were a nike commercial. They dont understand that using it for your purpose will be met with anxiety and opposition and adversity. It seems so much easier to walk away from it to just have a moments peace! Wow. What is the solution though? Id love to have the solution. I do music and there is this “necessity” to be cocky and somewhat arrogant but my desire is to kill my ego and cast good spellings and not the curses that my genre (hip hop/rap) has reluctantly used for mere profit and worldwide attention. I feel like Chance the rapper is super dope and that there should be more artists like him and less artists that glorify violence sex and money and drugs. We have an obligation to people because we have a voice. My whole purpose is going against the whole of what hip hop has turned into.

  2. kenneth micheal
    November 4, 2016

    Complacency can rob you of plateaus you may have have set early on in life, circumstances change and as you age fear and uncertainty emerges; you’ve forgotten dreams and aspirations you had for yourself, then one one life slows down and gives a chance to think, damn, where has time gone, what happened, there were so many things I was going to do, you’re right amber, put fears aside now before you’re force to asked yourself that question; where has time gone, what did I do with my life.

    • November 4, 2016

      You’re right dad! It is normal to feel fear, but we must overcome it in order to fulfill our purpose. And remember, it is never too late to chase your dreams!

  3. Leigh A. Luckey
    November 3, 2016

    I absolutely love, love this blog! I believe many readers will find it very inspirational as I know many people including myself, suffer from the feat of being inadequate on many different levels of life.

  4. November 2, 2016

    Fear comes into place in my life when it comes to creativity. I want to do more creative impactful things but don’t feel like I quiet meet up compared to other creatives. I think because by nature I don’t feel like one. I have ideas but don’t know how or if I can make them come alive . The only way for me to overcome is to try and not be afraid of failure.

    • November 4, 2016

      We have to resist comparison. I do this all the time too. Your delivery will not be the same as someone else’s and that’s how it is supposed to be 🙂 People are eager to see a creative work presented “Passione style” lol. I know I am!

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