By Aaron Earls
Most church leaders can recognize the damage prolonged doubt can have on their ministry.
It’s hard to lead people in following God when we’re struggling with significant doubts about who He is and what He has done for us.
However, many church leaders wrestle with doubts about God while not recognizing it as such or even seeing it as humility.
Many of us deal with “imposter syndrome,” which is feeling like a fraud who doesn’t belong in your position or have the competency to continue there.
We believe we are completely inadequate, and we just hope no one else notices.
Yet we fail to see such feelings as doubting God’s sovereignty in placing us in our current role—be it senior pastor, church staff, small group leader, or simply an influential member.
God’s role in situating individuals is not limited to Esther being made queen “for such a time as this.”
The same sovereign God placed you where you are. No amount of imposter syndrome can change that.
But as you sense those feelings stir in your mind, consider these tips for overcoming the imposter syndrome.
1. Recognize who deals with it.
The most basic lie associated with the imposter syndrome is that you and you alone are feeling this way.
Everyone around me seems to have it all together, but I’m struggling to get through the day.
In reality, virtually everyone feels like a fraud—at least occasionally. Some researchers have estimated 70% of the population confronts such feelings.
2. Note when it most often occurs for you.
Different situations are more likely to spark feeling like an imposter more than others. Keeping this in mind can help you better prepare for it.
Maybe you often feel like an imposter in the middle of success. For some, it may grab you right after a failure. Embarking on a new assignment may spark it in others.
3. Remember past victories (and failures).
More than likely you’ve achieved success in a related area in the past. You’ve probably also failed before.
Yet you’re still here and someone has enough confidence in you to place you in your current situation.
It’s important to remember how God has used you before and been faithful to you through those tasks, regardless of how well you did.
4. Clarify expectations.
You may feel overwhelmed but having a better grasp on what’s expected of you can help alleviate fears that fan the flames of the impostor syndrome.
Ask questions to determine exactly what needs to be accomplished to prevent your mind from running wild with expectations that may be impossible to meet.
5. Talk to someone.
We can be our own worst enemies. Talking to someone else can grant us better perspective.
Sharing our mental burden with others is biblical and beneficial. Simply turning those thoughts over in our own mind often allows the imposter feelings to fester.
Those we talk with can remind us of many of the previous steps in dealing with feelings of inadequacy. Others deal with similar feelings. We’ve faced similar situations before. Our imaginations are running wild.
6. Rest in God’s grace.
Church leaders can spend a lifetime teaching about God’s grace to others while failing to internalize the message themselves.
In fact, church leaders are often the most likely to miss out the freedom God grants them for the tasks He has given them.
As we approach kingdom responsibilities, we can feel the weight while forgetting that Jesus promised His yoke would be light.
We don’t have to be perfect. Christ has already accomplished that. We can move on to simply walking in obedience.
Ultimately, God has sovereignly placed you in your current situation for your good and His glory. Even if you mess up, even if you feel like a fraud, He will never leave you or forsake you.
Aaron is the senior writer at Lifeway Research.