May 17, 2021
By David VanEpps
I have no business writing this. I’m not even a real writer. I often hear the words, “Stop, imposter!” While I’ve authored two books and dozens of blog posts, I still don’t consider myself to be a real writer. I’m not as talented as most writers and I’ve never had a New York Times Best Seller. I don’t always have the greatest ability to put my stories on paper, and I even struggle with things like grammar at times. Apparently, I’m not a real writer.
At least that’s what the enemy convinces me of every time I sit down to write. I’ve also noticed that the more my writing involves stories of faith, the stronger the voice against me saying, “Stop, imposter!”
We All Feel Like Imposters
I’ve been a triathlete for the past seven years, completing the Ironman distance triathlon multiple times, and running a dozen marathons. Yet I often look at myself and think that I’m a phony. I’m not as fast as other runners, so I must not be a real runner. I’m not a great swimmer, so I must not be a real triathlete.
Ironically, when I hear new runners claiming that they are not “real runners,” I’m very quick to remind them, “You run, so you’re a real runner.” I’ve even done the same thing with other writers. They somehow feel unqualified to write because they have not yet authored a New York Times Bestseller. I give them the same advice, “You write, therefore you are a real writer.”
Imposter Syndrome is a real thing, and we all suffer from it to some degree. In a May 2015 article, Scientific American said, “Impostor Syndrome is a pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary.” It often strikes smart, successful people, especially after a noteworthy accomplishment.
Unfortunately, most of us have these thoughts at times, whether in our family, our profession, our hobbies, or even our faith. We always seem to feel like everyone else has it all together and knows exactly what they are doing while we’re trying our very best just to keep up. Evidence suggests otherwise.
God Also Says Otherwise
The term Imposter Syndrome may not have been around 2,000 years ago, but in the Bible, God seems to address the idea of being confident in who you are quite a bit. He continually reminds us that we are good enough and that we have what it takes, which is exactly the opposite of what Satan tries to say.
The apostle Paul was perhaps the greatest evangelist of all time. Yet if one person could be considered an imposter, it would have been Paul. For the first part of his life, he was a religious leader committed to persecuting Christians. He would routinely order them to be beaten or killed. Once he had an encounter with Jesus, everything changed. Paul then wrote much of the New Testament in the Bible, and he spent his entire life spreading the Gospel of Jesus across the Mediterranean rim. He very easily could have felt like an imposter, given his history, but in the book of Romans and in his second letter to the Corinthians, he talks about his confidence as a child of God.
- “Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Cor 3:4-5 NIV).
- “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:16-17 NIV).
- “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Cor 4:10 NIV).
- “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 Cor 12:9 NIV).
Confidence in the Calling
I felt called to write, and I firmly believe that calling was from God. It wasn’t a loud, audible voice, but I did feel a very persistent nudge to write books and blogs about my faith. Knowing that calling, I wrote, and therefore, I’m a real writer. I have a hard time accepting that fact, but I know God has given me everything I need to be a writer. I may never become a best-selling author, but a real writer doesn’t need to be a best-seller. A real writer just needs to write.
It’s taken some work, but I’ve also started considering myself a real runner and a real triathlete. I may never win a race, but you don’t have to win races to be a real runner or a real triathlete. To be a real runner, I simply need to run. Wherever you struggle, I challenge you to see yourself the way God sees you. I challenge you to see yourself for what you do, not what you don’t do. I challenge you to see yourself in the effort, not only in the outcome. And lastly, I challenge you to see yourself pursuing your passion, not giving up a dream under false pretenses.
Photo Credit: Art Lasovsky