Imposter syndrome – ever hear of that? Probably somewhere along your journey in life. It is a real, complex mix of emotional feelings of inadequacy and fraud, first identified in the 1970’s by two psychologists. When it comes to the imposter syndrome – know the enemy’s tricks.
Imposter syndrome causes anxiety in the workplace and relationships. Even celebrities and other high achievers are not immune to it. Read some of their quotes on imposter syndrome.
That Feeling of Doubt Creeping In
You know the ones I’m talking about. They can go something like this…
Who do you think you are?
That you can accomplish something so GRAND?
Wait until ‘they’ find out you know nothing about…
what you were hired to do…
what you’re talking about…
how to create this…THING.
It usually centers on some form of achievement you have now, want for your future, or what God has called you to do.
That is the imposter syndrome, and it’s a trick of the enemy.
Yeah, trust me… I could fill in the blank on those statements many times over. Oh, some or even most days I’m pretty good and the doubt is far, far behind me. Then, at the first sign of a challenge, doubt starts creeping back in. There are times when new jobs and new client projects can really get me.
How Do We Get That Way?
Now I’m no psychologist, and I don’t claim to have all the answers, but here are a few thoughts that come to mind.
Maybe it’s because of our background, education level or experience, or something else.
Maybe it’s our own insecurities and self-doubts. Or perhaps, these thoughts come from family, friends, acquaintances.
And dare I say it… maybe even someone we live with… not just planting seeds of doubt, but flat out telling us all this.
I have dealt with the imposter syndrome and still do. Even writing on this blog. The enemy always wants you to believe what you are doing is insignificant and unfruitful.
Imposter Syndrome – Know the Enemy’s Tricks
There are days I feel overwhelmingly unqualified to do what I’m called to do, or hired to do, or both.
It can paralyze you into inaction or under achieving.
That’s a trick of the enemy and exactly what the enemy wants. Here are ten ways the enemy works (or tries to work) in our lives:
- Satan Comes To Steal, Kill And Destroy
” The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
- Satan Is A Liar… The Father Of Lies
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44 (Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, see v.13)
- Satan Is The Author Of Confusion
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33
We need to turn that around and see the other side of that truth. If God is not the author of confusion, then who is? Who does not bring peace? Satan.
- Satan Is The Adversary
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
- Satan Is A Deceiver
”So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:9
- Satan Tries To Undo God’s Work
“And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.” Mark 4:15
This is part of an explanation of the meaning of the parable Jesus gave to His disciples (v. 10) after He had told the parable to the great multitude by the sea (Mark 4:1). In verse 14, Jesus says “The sower sows the word.” And then continues with verse 15.
- Satan Insinuates Doubt
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”” Genesis 3:1
- Satan Misuses Scripture
“and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘you shall not [a]tempt the Lord your God.” Matthew 4:6-7
Know The Truth
A little explanation here: In these verses, SATAN IS QUOTING Psalm 91:11-12 …for it is written…BUT only a PARTIAL VERSE of verse 11, omitting some essential wordsthat we need to remember
LOOK AT THE WHOLE VERSE
11For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
The implication in verse 12 is that the angels have protection over Jesus. BUT when you go back to Psalm 91:1 we see where our protection comes from:
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
Jesus answers the enemy back by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16.
- Satan Uses Schemes
“so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11
Paul is talking about the importance of forgiving others so satan can’t take advantage of us.
- Satan Afflicts Believers
“So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” Luke 13:16 (NASB)
Now, I am in no way saying that Christians are elevated above non-believers, so please don’t get all riled up. But we know the enemy does afflict believers, and this woman was a believer who was afflicted by Satan. Jesus is talking in this verse. He said so. (I used the NASB translation here because it was a little easier to understand.)
Stand Against the Enemy
Stand against this imposter syndrome. See beyond you’re ‘here and now’ circumstances and fight the enemy. God has put you in the place you are in for a reason.
Your ‘place’ could be your workplace, because He wants you to learn a new skill, make a difference in a particular area that is way out of your comfort zone, or maybe to meet people and show them His love.
And maybe God has put you in a place for a season, meaning a time period in your life. Think of it as an ‘assignment’ of sorts.
- Be sober, be vigilant
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
- Submit to God.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Examine what is He trying to do in your life. This can take many forms. Here are a few to consider: Is He refining you to be more conformed into His image? One way to check this is the nine fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-25. The enemy can use those works of the flesh traits Galatians 5:19-21 against you.
My Imposter Syndrome Moments
Anyone who tries to do anything ‘big’ in life (whatever ‘big’ is to you) will have felt this imposter syndrome in some form or another. Maybe it’s time to share a few of my recent imposter moments in hopes of helping you recognize some of yours.
I remember the time I got the opportunity to write an application for a federal cooperative agreement for a client. WAY, way out of my league at the time. I didn’t respond to an ad… but was recommended by a colleague and was asked to interview.
I was overwhelmed by the prospect. Sure, I was familiar with the topic, but the process was very different than anything I’d done before. We really needed the money, so couldn’t afford to turn it down.
I interviewed well and got the job, but let me tell you, the doubt did not subside. There was a lot at stake for them –a multi-year state-wide project worth millions in funding. And I was the first time I had ever been a lead grant writer.
Through this process I had to keep remembering this whole opportunity was God appointed. A promotion, if you will.
I prayed A LOT and persevered and everything finally came together. It was my biggest grant, and largest award amount to date.
I’m in a similar situation now. A role I’ve never been in before. Everything looks uncertain. How do I do this? I know the general goals and objectives, but the path to get there??? Not so much. So I pray a lot and follow where I feel led and trust that He will take care of everything else.
Same with this blog. I remember praying years ago that I wanted to write for God, and felt led to start this blog.
While that seems like a simple thing, I have definitely had enemy interference every step of the way. I have dealt with imposter syndrome issues and continue to do so, every day. But, God still puts things on my heart to write. I’m filling up a notebook.
So, today I’m declaring the enemy is not going to keep me from what God has for me any longer. Do I know where all this will lead? Nope! But I’m going to follow His leading and trust the process. It’s got to be good if the enemy is trying to keep me from it.
Believe Jesus Can Do What He’s Called Us To Do
We know God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. There are many scriptures to stand on when you are stepping out in faith. Below are a few to remember.
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ’Isaiah 41:10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Ephesians 6:10
Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face evermore! 1 Chronicles 16:11
This Message Is For You Too
I am positive we all have gone through some variation of these imposter syndrome feelings at one time or another, and I’m sure you could share your own stories. Right?
That really isn’t my point.
What I want you to remember is that you are a child of God, fearfully and wonderfully made and He has plans for you. No matter what He has put on your heart to do, He can help you accomplish it. However outrageously crazy or beyond your comfort zone it might be.
I’m also convinced that God can use you, no matter your experiences, challenges or hardships. Or the string of places you have worked in… it’s all part of this beautiful tapestry of skills and experience that God is weaving together for you to accomplish what He has for you to do.
Not so sure? Look Rahab, or Joseph, or Esther or Ruth.
God knows you, sees not the outward woman that the world sees, but the woman he created you to be. YOU, lovely lady, are fearfully and wonderfully made, in the image of God (Psalm 139:14) and he has called you to do something for His Kingdom. Remember whose you are and stand against the enemy. You are not an imposter; you are a daughter of the Most High God!
Holy Cow! Are you fired up and encouraged? I know I am.
Let’s stand together against the enemy to usher in what God has for each of us!
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Pam is an experienced, professional, freelance B2B copywriter, consultant and trainer. She blends her love of studying God’s Word and interests in natural beauty, health and home alternatives and communication skills to bring you resources to improve your everyday life. You can also find her at