We’re all inadequate – every last one of us. We’re all not ________ enough (insert your own personal flaw). I myself need several blank spaces to write my own list of inadequacies and there are days when everything I do and everyone I encounter only serve to remind me of them. On such days I have to revisit the part of myself that I trust to remind me and convince me that I am not the sum-total of my flaws, the part of me that knows that there is more to me than all the things I don’t get right.

Our inadequacies are not skeletons to be hidden in closets. They are rather tools of enlightenment that can teach us about ourselves and others around us. Consider those who when faced with the blinding glare of our inadequacies and flaws, turn away to shield themselves, but not before pointing and highlighting us in that way that crushes spirits and annihilates souls. Would we be privy to their true character if not for our flaws? These are normally painful lessons and revelations that we must learn as we wade through the river of life. They are not meant to make us bitter or to close our souls off from growth. They are meant to strengthen us, but we must be prepared to be honest. Open wounds get the opportunity to heal. We must not allow ourselves to be preoccupied with worries about appearance and impressions. Sometimes the very people we spend our time worrying about and trying to impress are too busy to even take note of us because they themselves are already preoccupied with their own game of charades, trying to do an awesome job of convincing us and others that all is well with them. Inadequacies and flaws are universal; they are not unique to a particular culture, gender, class or race. We each have our own struggle. Sometimes it is this simple truth that makes the awful days bearable; that and the help of good friends who take on the mammoth task of safeguarding our flawed and broken souls.

You know who they are. Those of us who are truly blessed often have cheerleaders in our corner. These are not delusional advocates who praise blindly, but genuine supporters who have seen us naked, and stood next to us, to shield our nakedness from the world instead of walking away, all the while acknowledging our nakedness but doing so in a way that seeks to build and not tear down. These advocates are sometimes the earthly guardians of our souls who protect us at all cost. They are the ones who know us so intimately that they know what words to speak to bring us crashing to our knees but we need not fear for they would never want to see us there. They know how to rescue us from desperation, skillfully maneuvering the landmines of our negative thoughts. These guardians give without asking, protect without charging, console without complaining.  With them in our corner we know life doesn’t stand a chance of demolishing us. With them in tow we feel larger than life – and perhaps we are, as their presence often takes the shame out of being merely human and serves to highlight all that is right with us. The rest we can tackle one day at a time.