“Why don’t I feel like everyone else does?” “Everyone else seems to all be the same,” “Maybe I’m not even a Christian at all.”
Have you ever found yourself saying any of these things? If so, you may be struggling with a rarely talked about, but very real struggle in the church called Imposter Syndrome.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome at its root, is the fear or mentality that you are somehow a “fake” or “fraud” in a group context or setting. Some of the most common worries and thought patterns in Imposter Syndrome include blaming one’s successes on luck, feeling like a failure, and having distrust for others. This can make those who struggle with Imposter Syndrome feel like an outcast or feel as though they are “on the outside” in social circles. As believers, we are not immune to such struggles. In fact, many Christians have even reported experiencing symptoms of Imposter Syndrome within a church setting.
Some examples of Imposter Syndrome in The Church include:
-Feeling like a “fake Christian” and doubting one’s salvation
-Dismissing God’s work in your life as “just a coincidence.” The feeling that God really isn’t working in your life.
-Excessive comparing oneself to others.
-Dismissing the kindness of others as being “fake” and that “they don’t actually like me.”
While Imposter Syndrome can indeed be difficult to cope with in the moment, there are a number of ways that we can bring ourselves back to the knowledge that God IS present in our lives and that God DOES indeed care about us and love us just as much as everyone else.
1. Acknowledge Your Own Growth and God’s Work in your Life
Psalm 77 states “I will remember the works of The LORD.” Remembering The LORD’s work in our life not only reaffirms that God’s hands have in fact been working in us, but also helps us to remember how far we’ve come.
While we give all of the glory of our growth to The LORD, it can be very therapeutic to recognize where we used to be, and where we are today. How many times have we been in a “slump,” or a “dry season” and felt like it was never going to get better? We may have spent days or even weeks praying for God to get us through because we felt like we weren’t going to be able to make it or “hold on” for much longer.
Yet here we are today.
God got us through, didn’t He? If you feel as though God is absent from your life, remember those moments where you felt like you weren’t going to get through yet somehow, God was able to make a way. It’s often in our moments of pain and suffering that we see God’s hand at work clearer than ever.
As it says in 2 Corinthians, God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. If you start do doubt whether or not God “actually cares” for you, remember those times in which the ONLY explanation for your overcoming is that God was at work.
2. Acknowledge That Your Thoughts Are Not What Defines You
Our thoughts are probably one of the most influential elements of our decision making and how we view the world. However sometimes, we give them way too much power. Our thoughts can lie to us and can tell us things that aren’t true.
In Proverbs, it even says to trust in The LORD and LEAN NOT on our own understanding. God knows that our brains can be prone to overthinking and assuming the worst in a situation. That is why He addresses in His Word that we can trust in Him despite what our brains might be telling us.
Perhaps the people we think are whispering about us in church are actually just discussing a personal matter they don’t want others to hear about. Maybe the people we think are being “fake” to us are actually just nice welcoming people! Just because the thought is strong, doesn’t always make it true.
3. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others,
At church and in our friend groups, it can be very discouraging to feel as though everyone else is being blessed except you. You might find yourself asking “God, why does it seem as though everyone’s prayers are being answered except mine?” Maybe it even feels like God has forgotten you.
However, God promises that those who wait on The LORD will not be put to shame. Yet sometimes that waiting might feel as though others are not waiting “as long as we are.” It is in these moments that we need to acknowledge that everyone’s spiritual journey looks different.
Some prayers may take longer for God to answer because they require something more, whether that be growth on our part, on somebody else’s part, or just simply the fact that it may not be the right time. We are all at different stages in our spiritual walk so it would only make sense that we all receive blessings and go through trials at different times.
Imposter Syndrome can be extremely difficult for a believer to deal with. It causes us to assume things about ourselves and others that are not true. However, despite these feelings and thoughts that plague our minds, it extremely important that we ground ourselves in the love of God and remember that NOBODY is perfect, and even the people who seem to “have it all together” are just as loved by God as ourselves. No one is “more saved” than anyone else, and we are ALL saved only by what Christ has done alone. NONE of us have anything to boast in before God and that should be a source of comfort for us all.
Jack is a 23 year old from the East Coast. He became a believer in college after joining campus ministry and learning about the sufficiency of Christ. His passion in life is to help spread the Good News and simplicity of The Gospel to those who may not always hear it while also advocating for mental health, both of which he does on his youtube channel “christianconvos.” In addition, Jack also loves reading and “outdoorsy” activities like hiking. His favorite verse is Acts 16:30-31.