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Faith & Imposter Syndrome: Can You Have Both?


“Can you have faith and feel like an imposter at the same time?”

I recently asked myself this question as I was going through a difficult time in my life and felt like an imposter in my business.


Have you ever experienced this?


I believe that you can experience both these feelings. However, they can’t coexist peacefully. No, not for a long time, anyways. But let’s start at the beginning.

 

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a term that was first introduced by psychologists, Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes. The concept refers to feeling that you aren’t worthy of your achievement. You feel like a fraud. There’s a persistent fear of being found out. You’re constantly wondering when someone will recognize that you don’t belong or that you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s a questioning of your own qualifications, capabilities, and worth. You experience fear and doubt that causes you to constantly question yourself.


Although the term imposter syndrome is a behavioral health concept, this phrase has become deeply entrenched in social jargon. We hear it used quite frequently on social media and in conversations.


But do Believers experience imposter syndrome?

 

Faith

As we journey with God, we first learn to increase our awareness of Him. As we get to know Jesus, we begin to understand that God has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives. As we continue our journey with God, we learn to trust Him and as we grow in faith, we transition from head knowledge of God to heart knowledge.

From intellectual trust in God to surrendering our hearts to Him. Thus, moving to heart knowledge.

From intellectual trust in God to surrendering our hearts to Him. Thus, moving to heart knowledge.


As we navigate life, and we journey with God, we come to understand that faith exists on a continuum for us. Faith fluctuates. As we walk through life, our faith fluctuates based on the trials we experience, our knowledge, understanding, and trust in, and of, God.


The harder the trials, the harder it is to keep our faith levels high.


The less time we spend in God’s Word, in His Presence, around other Believers, the more our faith decreases.


Our individual practices determine the levels of our faith.

 

Faith & Imposter Syndrome

When you start something new, you’re usually bad at it. There’s no way around it.

For you to move forward, to walk in purpose, to walk out God’s purpose and plans for your life, you must be willing to get started right now. The reality is that any plan that God has for your life is going to be bigger than what you imagined or thought.


Just take a review of the lives of Abraham, Daniel, Esther, Paul, and so many other Bible characters, and you will see that you will never have the full vision for your life at the start of your journey with God. He gives us visions, instructions, and guidance for the next step. So, you must be willing to start small, to do something poorly, and you must trust the process that you will get better with practice, with time, and with deeper faith in God.


Whether you want to write a book, start a business, change careers, end a relationship, or whatever the task that God has laid on your heart, you owe it to yourself to start the journey, to get moving.


And, as I’ve explained above about imposter syndrome, you will feel its effects.

You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to mess up. It’s going to feel messy. You’re going to question God’s Presence on your journey. Just as with Abraham and Moses, you’re going to question your capability, your skills, and your capacity. You’re going to feel like you’re failing. You’re going to feel like someone will find out your flaws. You will feel like you don’t belong.


 

Where Faith & Imposter Syndrome Diverge

Where faith and imposter syndrome diverge in your life is where you are now in your life. As I mentioned above, yes, I believe that you can experience both these feelings. But, they diverge based on the one you feed the most.


If you’re engaging in practices to increase your faith, you will feel the pull to keep going,

to keep trying,

to keep seeking,

to keep trusting,

to keep hoping,

to keep believing,

to keep knocking,

to keep sowing,

to keep waiting

…for God to show up and show out, for Him to do His part because you believe deep down that this path leads to somewhere. You believe that what He has for you is worth the fight, is worth the wait. You believe that what He has for you is exceedingly and abundantly more than you can ask for, or dream of.

 

But if you feel like your faith is withering,

if your fear of being found out is overwhelming you,

if your doubt that you are where He called you to be is stronger than your faith,

and if you have given up because you feel that His plan is just too big for you, then imposter syndrome is ringing loudly in your life.


So, today, my fellow Believer, my friend, I encourage you to start again. I encourage you to acknowledge your fear and doubt. I encourage you to bring them openly before Christ.

And I encourage you to hold your fear and doubt in one hand, and hold courage and compassion in the other hand, and keep moving.

I encourage you to hold your fear and doubt in one hand, and hold courage and compassion in the other hand, and keep moving.

You will never be free of fear and doubt in your journey with God. Just as with faith, your level of fear and doubt will fluctuate based on your assignments.


But I want you to increase your faith by believing, and knowing, that God will meet you right where you are. Because He will not shame you for your fear and your doubt. And He will never not fulfil His Word.


Just start today. Or keep moving. Each day, do one thing that feeds and increases your faith instead of feeding your fear and doubt.



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About the Author:

Charmaine Perry is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of NJ and the owner of Prolific Life Wellness & Counseling. Charmaine teaches healthy coping skills for trauma and life transitions in her private practice. Charmaine also writes about faith and mental health. Connect with Charmaine @ Prolific Life and at CharmainePerry.com.


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