Most of us deal with fear by trying to be someone we are not. We try to transform our image by presenting ourselves as someone other than who we really are.
I did this for years. I called it the Imposter Syndrome.
Many of us try to reinvent ourselves, seeking healing and transformation over and over again, through impersonating who we want to be, not who we really are.
This is most often because we don’t love and accept ourselves.
But in the end of this masquerade we find that only as we let go of the false picture and embrace who God created us to be can we really see ourselves as lovable and valuable.
- Even with all of our quirks.
- We find a new self by embracing our original self finally, and let God reveal how unique we really are.
Whenever I was asked to be a public speaker I would have a slow build of panic right up until I actually stood (or sat) before the people. If panic could light up a room, the room would have been glowing when I walked in. On the outside I would look cool as a cucumber. But on the inside I was trying to just breathe through my panic.
Years ago, through a publication of a women’s ministry newsletter that I sent out every month, I was invited to be on a Christian television program through Trinity Broadcast Network. I was so honored and excited.
But as the day approached and I had to drive four hours to the Tustin, Ca. studios, my panic began to rise. I had set my alarm for early that day, but my anxiety had sent me an earlier wakeup call…I simply could not sleep. I imagined all kinds of scenarios.
- I would sound like an idiot.
- I would forget all I knew.
People would laugh at the poor girl trying to make a name for herself.
It went on and on and try as I might I could not get it to stop. I even tried to imagine the worst that could happen to me if I failed and tried to convince myself I wouldn’t die.
- But it didn’t help.
- I would think to myself, “In four hours I will be in a TV studio sitting before millions of people staring at me.” This is where I would tell a world full of women, “You are beautiful and you have a gift and a calling right in your own homes and your personal lives that God wants to use.”
- Lord knows I tried deep breathing, focusing on scripture, begging Jesus to let this cup pass from me, everything I could think of. But I still felt like I was going to throw up.
As I nervously sat in the studio before I was to go on and watched the other guests being interviewed, I started hyperventilating.
- I couldn’t breathe. I tried distracting myself. I couldn’t think of one thing I had planned on saying. Not one!
- Focus, focus, focus.
Five minutes before I was to go on I had this fight or flight thing hit me and I had to go to the bathroom. I just knew if I didn’t go I would embarrass myself on national TV.
- The horror of it.
As I got up to find a restroom I was immediately told to sit down and that I was on in 2 minutes.
- So, this is it, I thought. I am doomed.
“If this anxiety gets worse, I’ll be incoherent on national television.” I stuttered to myself.
The time finally came and the assistant told me to take my place behind the red line and sit down.
I went in terror. Truly.
But an odd thing began to happened as I sat down.
- The moment I sat in the chair every bit of terror left me. Everything changed in me.
- I sat down in that chair opposite the host, and became another person. It was like I set foot into the water and then it parted.
- When the red light came on I was poised, confident, and answered the hosts questions with utmost confidence–as if I was an expert in the field of women’s ministries and like I went on national TV every day.
I was actually sorry when the interview was over. I wanted to say more. This was easy.
As I walked away that day, I thought, “WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THAT?”
Why was I so scared? Why do I do this to myself?
I was always terrified before going before anyone to say anything in a public setting because I didn’t feel good enough.
I felt like I had to reinvent myself for a national audience and be someone I am not, so I would be accepted. I just knew if I did not, I was going to fade away into nothingness.
- I didn’t feel beautiful on the inside. I felt terrified. Yet I was there to tell others that they were loved exceedingly just as they are. I believed it for them but not for myself.
This story was just the beginning of being taught by the Lord to accept myself for who I am, and learning to let go of my feelings of failure and not measuring up to other’s standards.
I was the one He chose to share my story that day, not some nationally well-known speaker.
- He also showed me that this feeling of inferiority began the day I became a childhood incest survivor. At the point of my violation as a little girl I believed something was wrong with me and that feeling followed me all of my life until the Lord showed me how much He loved me.
- For a parent to violate me I had to be really bad, I reasoned. I truly believed it until Jesus healed and opened my eyes to the His truth.
- Everything I did, until the day I had my eyes opened, was shrouded with the feeling that if I did succeed, I fooled everyone. If they knew who I really was they would laugh me out of town.
How sad that so many of us are still hiding behind our masks of inferiority and believe that somehow we aren’t as special as someone else who looks like they have it all together.
Do you relate to this story? Just let me say I know what you are feeling, but it is just simply not true. Your perception of yourself is a trick of the enemy to keep you hidden away from fulfilling your true calling. For you all have a calling. Jesus has a plan for each and every one of us.
- When you get a glimpse into the reality of this truth your life will change forever.
This is why I am a Life Purpose Coach today. I watch Holy Spirit open the eyes of so many I coach with. I never cease to be amazed at this profound and life changing process that coaching transforms in those who seek inner healing from childhood images of themselves.
It is as we learn to love ourselves, that we can truly love one another without pretending.
“And all of us, as with unveiled face, because we continued to behold in the Word of God as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)