At Grace Church this month, we’re talking about using our spiritual gifts to heal the brokenness of the world in Jesus’ name. If you’re unfamiliar with spiritual gifts or need to discover what yours are, be sure to check out the spiritual gifts assessment available here. The assessment even matches your gifts with ideas for ways you can serve inside and outside the walls of Grace Church.
One of the ways I’ve been using my own spiritual gifts to serve is by writing for the blog since 2016. It’s been a great fit for using my gifts of knowledge, encouragement, and faith. However, something nearly stopped me from following the call God placed on my life to use my gifts in this way. Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome refers to an internalized feeling of inadequacy despite a clear call of God on our lives and external evidence of competence. Many of us encounter this struggle across various roles and situations including leadership, sharing knowledge or insight, and opportunities for creativity. That’s just naming a few! In a culture that favors high achievement, feelings of inadequacy may be stirred up frequently and can be difficult to dodge. Consequently, imposter syndrome may often hinder us from fully embracing and utilizing our spiritual gifts. Sounds like a strategy of evil, right?
That’s why I’ve taken some time to contemplate and clarify the ways I’ve succeeded in combatting imposter syndrome. In my role as a blog writer for Grace Church, I’ve had plenty of practice in standing firm and persevering in the face of this spiritual force. There have been times when thoughts of withdrawal have seemed tempting, like it would relieve some discomfort in my life. But I distinctively feel that call of God to use my skills in ways that help our readers with encouragement, navigating their pain, and finding hope. In fact, perhaps this article is just what you needed in order to get past your own experience of imposter syndrome! If so, I hope you’ll find the following tips and insights to be of help.
Ways to Combat Imposter Syndrome
Start small. One of the ways I started moving forward in my calling to write for the Grace Church blog was to recap the weekly sermons. Because of its simplicity and the fact that the content was essentially developed by our incredibly knowledgeable team of teaching pastors, sermon recaps became the #1 way for our new writers to cut their blogging teeth. Starting small just feels more attainable and less terrifying, tbh!
Let yourself experience discomfort. Understand and embrace that discomfort is God’s process of stretching us for spiritual development. The best way to get past fear is to step out in faith. Lean into God’s strength through prayer and contemplation.
Review your reasons. If you feel called by God to begin a new journey into serving, write down your reasons so you can revisit them anytime doubts and fears start to creep in and interrupt your intentions. God will bless your reasons and use them to fuel your forward motion.
Measure your results by faith. Depending on the role, we don't always see the results of our efforts and our output may be incredibly difficult to quantify. Gauge your success by the depth of your relationship with God throughout your serving experience. Notice the connection between your obedience to the Holy Spirit and the frequency and intensity by which you feel God’s presence in your life.
Embrace your own vulnerability. People who have flipped the script on vulnerability learn to see it as an opportunity for connection with others. Others may begin to feel exceedingly comfortable around you if they can tell you’re willing to let them see your imperfections. When you’re at peace with not being perfect, you’ll be less likely to feel weary about stepping out of your comfort zone.
Adjust your expectations. You don’t have it all figured out, because God does! Success looks different to God than it looks to us. Sometimes what we perceive as a failure is success in God’s eyes. Be realistic with your expectations for your own performance and goals. Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks. Celebrate small victories and recognize that success often involves incremental progress.
Use feelings of inadequacy as motivation. When I first started writing for the Grace blog, I felt very inadequate in my understanding of the Bible and the spiritual concepts that it contained. These feelings were fueled by the fact that I hadn’t read it all the way through, and I almost let that keep me from starting my journey in blog writing for the church. But through that expoerience, God sparked my desire to dive into the Bible and put my missing pieces together. Since that time, I have read the Bible front to back three times. God turned that doubt into confidence, and now evil is not able to use it against me effectively anymore. I still have a lot to learn, but I do so with desire instead of doubt.
Now, step out and serve!
Have you been thinking about engaging in a new serving opportunity? That’s great! Remember, God led you here to reveal his image in you. Every time you serve, you’re following Jesus—and his image is shining in you with a light that will spread to others’ lives. If you don’t have a specific serving opportunity in mind yet, be sure to take the Spiritual Gifts Assessment to be paired with a range of serving ideas well-suited to your unique gifting. You’ll be saying, “Put me in, coach!” in no time!