Do you ever second guess yourself? Do you doubt your own ability to excel in a task that other seemingly less qualified, and less experienced people seem to have no problem doing? Then you are probably familiar with Impostor Syndrome – that nagging feeling of inadequacy, and the voices in your head that whisper, “are you sure you got this?”
Maybe you have tried to deal with the voices by attempting to shut them down, and psych up yourself to take on the task. Or you have tried to argue with yourself that far less accomplished people are getting on quite well with similar tasks. These methods may work, although they often fail, but there is a way to deal with impostor syndrome that never fails.
The bible has a long list of heroes that battled impostor syndrome on their way to astounding victories – there is a lot we can learn from their experiences. When the angel appeared and called Gideon a mighty man of valour, his response was essentially, “who? me? Naaaaaa!” When God told Moses he wanted him to go tell Pharaoh to free His people, he tried to argue God out of it by claiming he was a stammerer. When Saul was to be anointed king, he went AWOL.
As you would find with some of these, and many other examples in the bible, feeling inadequate came quite naturally to them. The truth of the matter is, we are inadequate! In the big scheme of things, we are minutiae. As the psalmist said, When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, (Psalm 8:3-4a). Is it possible that our episodic feelings of inadequacy although triggered by specific situations are actually rooted in our intuitive awareness of our rather minuscule place in this vast universe, ruled by an infinite God? I think it is.
Knowing then that this state of things – our puniness and His infiniteness are unalterable, how might we prevent the awareness of our inadequacy from weighing down so much that we become timid and ineffective? Better yet, can we redeem this awareness and deploy it to our advantage?
Apparently, we can. The hack is to realize that we don’t have to be adequate. For when God said to Paul the Apostle “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Something flipped. Thereafter, he (Paul) thought that inadequacies were to be boasted about not lamented, because only then can the power of Christ rest on us (2 Corinthians 12:9). Indeed, God is only able to show himself strong on our behalf if we are manifestly inadequate and therefore able to demonstrate that the things we are able to do, are in fact being done by him. This is what is meant by the scripture which says; this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us —is held in a perishable container, that is, in our weak bodies. Everyone can see that the glorious power within must be from God and is not our own. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
The way then to make the most of our impostor syndrome is to embrace it – to acknowledge that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), and having done so, to be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. (Ephesians 6:10 AMP). It is by drawing on the boundless might of the infinite God, that we are able to obtain a good report like it says of the elders who by faith [that is, with an enduring trust in God and His promises] subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions, extinguished the power of [raging] fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty and unbeatable in battle, putting enemy forces to flight (Hebrews 11:33-34 AMP).