Have you heard of Imposter Syndrome?
Lately, the kids have been obsessed with a game called ‘Among Us’. You can play it online with each other but this past weekend, Blake and Summer worked their butts off to create a real live version that we could play in the house. Let me explain to you how it works.
It is all about the fact that there is an imposter ‘among us’. You don’t know who it is but the imposter goes around killing people – in our version, you tap (or kick) them on the shin with your foot and they fall down dead.
When you think you have information or you know who it is, you call an emergency meeting to discuss it with the others who are still alive. Eventually you vote on who you think the imposter is.
If you’re right, the game is done; if you’re wrong, you keep playing and wait for the imposter to mess up and reveal who they really are.
On Monday, when my parents were running around the house hiding and ‘dying’ and ‘killing’ and giggling, I thought my heart was going to melt out of my body.
As I’ve watched the kids play, I’ve thought a lot about the meaning of imposter or even ‘imposter syndrome’.
Imposter Syndrome is ‘a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.’
An imposter is ‘a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain.’
I think sometimes in my walk with God, I struggle with both of these terms.
I often try to put on the appearance of having it all together…perfect marriage/husband, perfect kids, perfect discipline and parenting, perfect finances. All of our ducks in a perfect row.
What a tough
job it is
to keep up
To be an imposter.
During our game on Monday, I ended up being the imposter twice.
The first time, I managed to stay fairly calm and do my business and I actually won…I faked everybody out.
But the second time, I saw Ted and decided I was going to ‘kill’ him but as I decided this, Avery walked around the corner. I panicked!
It was too late so I just kicked both of them but as I did that, Blake and my mom walked around the corner too! Blake managed to dodge me but I nailed my mom. (It was hysterical, by the way)
Blake immediately called an emergency meeting and I was voted out as the imposter.
Sometimes I can be really good at the appearance of perfection in life…especially if I keep my distance from most people. I can just make quick, short appearances where I can sustain the act.
However, at some point, there’s too much, too many people around, I can’t go into hiding. I panic and all the imperfections come oozing out.
It’s EXHAUSTING keeping up appearances.
And let’s be honest, when was the last time you felt connected to someone who seemed to have it all together?
Imposter Syndrome, on the other hand, is a whole different way to live life and I struggle with this one too.
I’ve been a massage therapist for over 19 years and there hasn’t been a day that goes by that I don’t fear that, somehow, it will get out that I don’t know what I’m doing.
There’s actually no basis for that as I’ve done all my schooling, but I just have never accepted that I’m qualified or that I’m capable. I feel like I’m a sham waiting to be discovered.
I think I feel this way in life.
I think there is a perception out there that people are Christians because they are perfect.
Therefore, you should have the perfect life and make perfect decisions and never screw up. I also think I buy into that thinking.
I signed up for God’s team so now I play for the “Christians” and that means being as perfect as our coach, Jesus. But I can’t do that. I can’t live up to that standard.
And neither can you or anybody else on the team. The good news is that the coach isn’t cutting us because of that. We are still on the roster.
I’m a Christian because I’m NOT perfect. Never will be.
I don’t have to pretend.
I don’t have to be an imposter.
And everyone else in the world who critiques me…they are just armchair quarterbacks.
Do the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen really listen to what the viewers at home are saying? Do they care about the fans’ analysis and suggestions for a game plan? No!
They listen to the only voice that matters…
The one who has the wisdom.
The one who draws up the plays.
The one who knows there will be mistakes
but also knows there are other plays
that can be drawn up.
So where the heck am I going with all of this, you might be wondering.
First, it is exhausting to be an imposter…to play a role and not actually be you. As hard as it is, we need to let the idea of ‘looking good’ go.
Second, none of us are perfect. And we’d feel a lot less pressure to be perfect if we were more honest about our imperfections.
And maybe if others see us put our guard down, maybe they’d feel safe to put theirs down, too. We’d set ourselves free and probably some others around us.
What a lighter burden on our shoulders
if we didn’t carry around the burden of perfection
along with all of the other hard things we are going through.
What a lighter burden to not play the ‘imposter’ anymore.
And finally, our coach.
He doesn’t want an imposter on His team.
Thank God we don’t have a coach who berates us for our shortcomings; who benches us for having a bad day; who makes us the water boy because we don’t have what it takes.
We have a coach who believes in us; who is great at writing up new plays; who has compassion because He’s been in the game before. And above all else, He knows it isn’t up to us to win…He did the hard part already.
What about you? Is it hard for you to let your defenses down? Do you fight for perfection? What is the worst thing that would happen if people knew you didn’t have it all together? Do you believe God is okay with your imperfections?