Battling Spiritual Imposter Syndrome
Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough? Do you find yourself constantly worried that you don’t deserve the life you have and someone is going to call you out on it? I’ll be the first to tell you that I often question my self-worth and God’s ability to use me. I’m currently knee-deep in the job-hunting trenches, and while I know that I am qualified for the positions I’m applying for, I still find myself doubting my abilities and feeling like a fake.
An article from Psychology Today defines Imposter Syndrome as, “a psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.” The term originated in the late 1970s, but the idea of Imposter Syndrome is being discussed more in recent years. Most articles take a self-help approach to battling Imposter Syndrome by encouraging you to believe in yourself and use your own strength to overcome it. However, the issue is actually a spiritual one that we all suffer from. Here are some biblical truths to help free us from feeling like an imposter.
Shame is a liar
I’m guilty of listening to the negative voices of self-doubt, instead of clinging to the truth of God’s Word. The devil wants to deceive us, and he often uses our thoughts to make us feel ashamed. But God does not work in shame. That voice telling you you won’t amount to anything is not God. He is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31). Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
So the next time those self-deprecating thoughts start attacking you, call them what they are: lies. It takes a conscious decision to stop them in their tracks and replace them with the truth of scripture instead. Thoughts are powerful, and if we are ever going to battle Imposter Syndrome, it starts with the spiritual battle of the mind.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
It’s about God’s power, not ours
We often feel like imposters because we think it all depends on us. But the truth is that God is the one in control, and He has graciously invited us to be a part of what He is doing in the world. He has given each of us unique gifts that we are to use for His kingdom. Yet, often we feel like we aren’t good enough or qualified enough to do what God has called us to do. But hear this – if God calls us to it, He will equip us through it.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
However, this doesn’t mean we will always be the perfect person for the job or that we will have the exact skills necessary for the task at hand or even that we will feel totally confident in the role we are placed in. What it does mean is that God will work through us despite our shortcomings. He chooses “the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27), and the Bible is filled with stories of God using the underdog to accomplish great things.
We are not enough, but He is. Thanks be to God we don’t have to rely on our own power! Instead, we get to watch God’s power at work in our lives: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Our identity is in Christ
Imposter Syndrome is rooted in our identity. When we compare ourselves to others or seek significance in what we do, instead of who we are, we are left feeling inadequate and unfulfilled. But when we rest in the knowledge that we are in Christ and nothing can change that, we are better able to feel comfortable in our roles and live from a place of purpose, rather than insecurity.
If you are feeling like you don’t belong where you are or that you don’t deserve the things you have, remember that Jesus’ sacrifice makes us worthy, not our actions. Galatians 3:26-27 says, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
As children of God, we don’t have to be a slave to pleasing the world and measuring our worth by earthly standards. When our Heavenly Father looks at us, He doesn’t see an imposter. He sees a daughter worthy of love and good things. Let us seek to find our identity in Christ, who always makes us feel like we belong.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
What are some ways you can battle Spiritual Imposter Syndrome today?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abigail is a 25-year-old freelance writer from Jackson, MS who earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and English from Mississippi College in 2015. She spends most of her time climbing ladders and recommending her favorite authors at Lemuria Books. You can read more of her writing at abbiewalker.com.