Dealing with the Impostor Syndrome

by Marcia Lee Laycock @MarciaLaycock

A friend once emailed me to ask for prayer. “I’m having a huge case of Imposter Syndrome,” she explained. She had been asked to lead a workshop at a writers’ conference but was on the edge of backing out. Though she was an accomplished writer with a long CV, she felt inadequate for the job.

Another writer friend once said: “I keep getting the feeling that someday someone will discover what a fraud I am and the jig will be up!”

Sound familiar? 
I think many writers, and I include myself in that number, feel this way at some point – inadequate, even hypocritical. We know the struggle we’ve had to get to the place where we can call ourselves writers. We know there are many writers who have accomplished more, writers we would consider far beyond our level, and we sometimes feel that even our best work just isn’t good enough. I think this is the same ‘syndrome’ that hits people who are applauded for doing some kind of heroic act. Often their first thought, their first words, are, “I’m no hero.”

This can be a serious barrier to creativity. It is the same barrier that blocks many believers in Christ. We are taught that we are dust, that we are sinful, that we just don’t measure up to the holiness of Christ. All true, but we are also called children of God (John 1:12), a holy people (Colossians 1:12) and priests of the kingdom (1 Peter 2:9). The dichotomy is sometimes hard to sort out.

My husband once addressed this in one of his sermons dealing with positional sanctification and experiential sanctification – we live in the world and therefore live with our failings and our sin, but in the moment we accept Christ as our Saviour we receive the Spirit of God and are made holy and yes, perfect in Him. “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14). Experientially, we don’t live in perfection. But positionally we are “perfect … as (our) heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

It is important as believers and as writers of faith that we understand the difference and live our lives in that balance, with humility and grace. Someone once said that humility is confidence properly placed – the confidence comes from knowing who we truly are as sons and daughters of our Father. It is properly placed when we recognize who He truly is.

Believing we and the work we do has value because of our connection to Christ releases us from all the uncertainties and false humility that keep us from doing the work we are called to do. In Christ, we are released us to do God’s work for God’s kingdom.

Take a moment to think about who would want to prevent that. Yes, Satan’s scheme is to keep whispering that we aren’t good enough. When we hear that sibilant voice, we would do well to swat it away and remember the truth: God values us and what we do. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

TWEETABLES

Dealing with the Impostor Syndrome by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

We know there are many writers who have accomplished more~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Humility is confidence properly placed~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords or on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format on Amazon.

Her most recent release is Celebrate This Day, a devotional book for special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving.

Visit Marcia’s Website

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur

My Day of Epiphany

by Marcia Lee Laycock

I was in tears. No, not tears of sorrow but the kind that spring from being touched deeply and profoundly. Interesting that it happened to be January 6, traditionally known as the day of Epiphany.

It happened as I began a writing course called The Creative Way by Ted Dekker. A few months ago I almost emptied my writing bank account to buy this course. I’d seen it advertised a few times and kept thinking about it, looking at it, trying to gauge whether or not it was worth the money. I kept thinking about the exchange rate and how that bumped the product up to a cost I would not normally entertain. But I kept going back to it again and again. I felt there was something there that God wanted me to investigate. So I took the plunge.

The first module stirred me deeply, not because it was anything I hadn’t heard before but because it was all about something my heart reaches for – abiding in Christ. Mr. Dekker tells his own story and then gets to the bottom line – our identity does not lie in who we are as mothers or fathers or plumbers or dentists or yes, even as novelists. Our true identity lies in the fact that we are children of God. Our freedom and release spiritually and creatively lies in believing how deeply He loves us. The premise is that “transformative fiction” comes from a heart that is resting in that place because that heart is first and foremost seeking to go deeper into that identity. The process teaches us to love God, love ourselves and others as ourselves and our work becomes part of that process.

I knew that. I believed that. But until yesterday I was not whole-heartedly pursuing that path.

I remember chatting with a writer friend some time ago about the fact that I’m a two time cancer survivor. I mentioned that I did not once ask God, “why me?” My only question as I walked down that path, was, “Who are you, God? Who are you really?”

My friend smiled. “You’re ready,” she said.

I didn’t understand what she meant then, but I do now. I’m ready to let go of me – as a mother, pastor’s wife, church leader and yes, even as a writer. I’m ready to get to know who I really am. I have a feeling this course is going to do what Ted promised in his introduction. It is going to change my life and my work.

I’ll be blogging about it here as I go, and no doubt what I learn will spill over into this blog as well. I welcome any comments along the way.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 


TWEETABLES

My Day of Epiphany by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Our true identity lies in the fact that we are children of God~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

It is going to change my life and my work.~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet) 

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central
Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult
daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award
for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short
listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four
devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work
has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark
Buchanan. Visit Marcia’s Website

Abundant
Rain,
an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords
or on Amazon.
It is also now available in Journal
format on Amazon. 

Her
most recent release is Celebrate
This Day
, a devotional book for special
occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 

Sign
up to receive her devotional column, The
Spur

Wishing I Could be Jesus

 by Marcia Lee Laycock


I recently attended a funeral for a young man who died too soon, leaving a wife and three young girls. The sadness overwhelms at times and it makes me wish I could be Jesus, especially now, at Christmas time, just for a few minutes, just long enough to say, as He did, “arise.”

But then, I realize that He doesn’t need me to do His work for Him. He has already done it. He has already said that wondrous, mysterious word and brought that young man into His kingdom, given him time to have a productive, full life here on this earth, and then brought Him home, to the place where he has wanted to be, as a believer in Christ.

Often things don’t seem right to us. The world seems off kilter and full of so much pain and suffering it overwhelms us at times. And we want to be Jesus. We want to snap our fingers and make it all better. But He has already been at work. He has a plan for this earth, for each one of us, a plan that goes far beyond what we could ever imagine. He told the Hebrew people that, when they were in circumstances that were full of pain and suffering – their captivity in Babylon. Living as slaves, they no doubt often cried out to God to bring them relief from all the suffering and pain they saw around them.

This was His answer – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

Sometimes, in my writing, I try to be Jesus. I try to erase all the pain and sorrow and make the world a better place, a more pleasant place. An admirable purpose, perhaps, but does it serve my readers? Does it serve them to deny the pain that Jesus has allowed in the world? Would it not be better to show how we can all move beyond that pain?

Would it not be better to show them how to look up? Would it not be good to remind them that when we see all those decorated Christmas trees, we should look for the star or the angel on the top, and know Jesus is with us?

Would it not be an encouragement to show them how to look around and see there are others who are struggling, and nudge them to reach out?

Would it not be best to direct them how to look ahead, to know that Jesus has promised a bright future, and given us a way to know we are secure in his hand, even in the worst of times?

Yes, there are times I wish I could be Jesus. And there are times I write as though I am. But then I remember – He is the Messiah, the Living God, our hope and our comfort and we can survive anything with Him at our side. If I strive to portray that reality in my writing I will have done my job well.

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central
Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult
daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award
for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone, was also short
listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four
devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work
has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark
Buchanan.

Her
most recent release is Christmas, a collection of short stories that will take you from the far reaches of the galaxy to the streets of an inner city and the cold landscape of the far north. In every setting the Christmas Spirit is alive and well. Now available on Amazon in paperback and ebook form.

Sign
up to receive her devotional column, The
Spur

God’s Best Plan: Stop Writing

By Marcia Lee Laycock

“Why don’t you ever have time for me?”

My
heart stopped and I turned to my nine-year old daughter as she burst
into tears. I gathered her in my arms and we talked. She had needed me
when she came home from school that day, but I was glued to the computer
screen, and had only given her a vague “uhuh” when she started to tell
me what was on her heart.

A short time after that, a man stood
up in a congregation and said, “What you are doing is good but your
obsession with it is not.” I knew immediately God was speaking to me. I
knew my writing had become an idol in my life. When I needed comfort, I
wrote. When I was afraid, I wrote. When I was angry, I wrote. I went to
my writing instead of my God.

So I prayed and God answered.
“Stop writing fiction.” I didn’t like that answer and I argued with Him
about it. But eventually I gave in but I asked the Lord for one thing –
“Please, please take away the stories that continually flow through my
head.” I feared I would go mad if they continued and I was not able to
write them down. He answered that prayer. For over two years. No story ideas, no scenes, no characters came to mind. I continued to write devotionals and articles for a local newspaper, but no fiction.

Then one Sunday morning, after the service, I  chatted
with a woman about abortion. She asked, “Can you imagine what it would
be like for someone to discover that his mother had tried to abort him?”
I did imagine. A character began to take shape in my mind so vividly I
knew God had released me to write his story. I prayed and then I wrote.
That novel, One Smooth Stone, won the Best New Canadian Christian Author
Award. And I wept, not just because of the award, but because of what
God had taught me.

He taught me that if I am obedient to Him He
will bless me in ways I could never have imagined. He taught me that a
strong “no” may seem harsh but will always be given with loving intent.
He taught me that He intends “to prosper (me) and not to harm (me)… to
give (me) a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Those years
of fasting from fiction changed me and changed my work. It was, in a
way, a time in the wilderness that stripped away what was not good and
left a clearer, truer path. The withering away of what was dead left room for the new and necessary growth.

“Stop writing fiction” was not what I wanted to hear, but it was God’s best plan. 

TWEETABLES
God’s Best Plan: Stop Writing by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)


If I’m obedient to Him He will bless me in ways I could have never imagined~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central
Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult
daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award
for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed
in The Word Awards. Marcia also has four devotional books in print and has
contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund
Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 

Abundant
Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords
or on Amazon.
It is also now available in Journal
format on Amazon. 

Her
most recent release is Celebrate
This Day
, a devotional book for special
occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 
Sign
up to receive her devotional column, The
Spur