When we don’t feel competent.

ShoesYou and I both wrestle with feeling competent. We tell ourselves, “A competent ____ would do x, y, z. And I don’t do those things.That’s why I say I’m incompetent.”

Though it looks like emotional algebra, It’s a pretty helpful formula for making ourselves feel guilty.

  • A competent dad would . . .
  • A competent chaplain would . .
  • A competent teacher would . . .
  • A competent follower of Jesus would . .

After we’ve made the list, we point out to ourselves that we don’t do those things, or don’t do them well, and we spend the rest of our lives apologetic or frustrated or angry or sad.

But let’s consider your definition of ____ and why you believe that competence is measured by x,y,z. Who created the definition? What’s the voice in your head that is setting the standard?

Is the standard coming from an advertisement, trying to help you believe that you will be competent if you buy their product? (“Competent moms buy Kool-aid”). Or from a family member who will be vindicated if you are shown to be incompetent? Or from someone who wants something from you? “A good Christian would give me lots of money.”

And let’s consider your actual actions. When you are teaching, what do you fill the time with? When you are a mom, what are the ways that you care and provide and encourage? What if the things you actually do reflect a deeper competence than exists in your definition?

If we turn to the prophet, we get a picture of spiritual competence: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

That’s different than the standard of competence than we often hear about followers of God.  But it’s a good one.


Another reflection on Micah