Most Christians, including leaders, stuggle with feelings of insecurity or self-doubt at some point or another. The term “Imposter Syndrome” has become a frequently used phrase to describe those feelings. Typically, it rears its ugly head when we are in positions of influence. Many of us will then, as Christian Leaders, feel guilty for this on top of the insecurity. So, let’s break down the meaning, origin, and cure for Imposter Syndrome from a Christian perspective.
What exactly is Imposter Syndrome?
Basically, it is just a feeling. We feel that we are not educated or skilled enough to be doing what we are about to do. We think someone else is more qualified to do what we have been asked to do. And sometimes elected to do.
Here is a list of inner thoughts that people have shared on a variety of platforms:
*I am incompetent
*People don’t want to hear what I have to say
*People are asking themselves, “Who gave you authority to be here?”
*I’m not worthy of success
*If I make a mistake they will humiliate me
*I don’t belong
*People will discover I am inadequate
*I feel like a fraud
*What will other say?
*My success is due to luck
*I’m not good enough
The bottom line is Imposter Syndrome is a pervasive doubt in your abilities.
As Christian Leaders, the guilt is added to this doubt due to the belief that our relationship with God should resolve this. Especially in like of 2 Timothy 1:7, which says we have not been given a spirit of fear. Thus, many don’t reach out and seek help. And suffer secretly. I know this is true because I have friends who are Christian Leaders in muli-million dollar ministries, and others in churches of 25 members. And the struggle is the same regardless of the size of their ministry.
Where does it come from?
When I introduce myself in networking environments or places like Clubhouse, I say, “Hi, I’m Pastor Elaine and I teach about Identity Abuse because no one is born with low self-esteem.” So, if we think about that for a minute, there has to be a starting point. What I help people do is discover where their identity was hijacked and they started believing a lie.
Strangely, as I have helped people across the globe with this issue, it most frequently happened in 2nd grade (or 7 years old). This is rather sad considering I work primarily with adults. The internal message of inadequacy may be fully subconscious. Many adults will recoil from the idea that their past is impacting their now. They will be frustrated that they just can’t let it go or get past it. “It shouldn’t bother me anymore,” is a common response I hear.
Is there a “Christian” cure?
Once you understand where it comes from, it is much easier to apply the cure from a Christian perspective. Discovering the internal message that came from earlier events, releases us from the guilt we struggle with. We can understand that it is not inherent in our character or makeup. This gives us more ability to apply critical thinking to the situation.
When we receive messages as youngsters, we don’t realize we have an option to ‘not believe’ the message. No one is there with an opposing view, or even a truthful view. Thus, it becomes part of our world view. And may become fully subconscious. However, when we think about inadequacy it often is attached to a feeling. What I have found is that people are believing the feeling. We have an easier time believing things that ‘feel’ true.
In the end we have to employ critical thinking to the situation. We must look at who gave us the message, and how true it is. Not what the person or situation projected. But what a mature and caring Christian adult would take from the situation. We then have a “CHOICE” to make: believe the situation, or believe the truth.
The enemy is a liar and ONLY uses emotions to keep us stagnant. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Visualize this: he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Can you picture that? We have an enemy. He wants us to believe a lie. But God has given us the grace to have a sound mind! We can CHOOSE to believe. The truth sets us free.
For a worksheet go to cure.identityAbuse.com
God has wonderful things for you to do! We must fight against the lies so we can walk in confidence and authenticity. Christians can be freed from Imposter Syndrome! May you find freedom from the lies and freedom to be all that God has called you to be!
~ Pastor Elaine 🌻