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).

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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

When God Says Go by Marcia Lee Laycock

I had to prepare for a speaking engagement lately that made me a little nervous. I was asked to speak to a gathering of over a hundred Christian motorcyclists. I hesitated, until God made it clear that he wanted me to accept the invitation and let me know what it was I was to say. But I was still nervous. The only bike I’ve ever been on was a mini trail bike when I was about eight years old. That’s not much for “street cred.”

But then I thought about the message God had given me and realized how perfect it was. And I remembered what Jesus said to Moses in Exodus 4:12 – “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Was it arrogant to expect He would do the same for me? I remembered too what happened when Moses asked Him to send someone else. God was angry.

So I studied the scripture passage, and did what I was told.

It never ceases to amaze me when God shows up. That’s what the message was about and He demonstrated it that morning.

I’ve had a number of writing projects on the go too. I’ve been using these precious days of summer to tie up some loose ends. One especially I almost let die. It’s a fantasy series that was almost published twice by reputable publishing houses but each time the deals fell through. Then a publisher asked to see it. He liked the idea so a contract for the first book came quickly. There were a couple of things I didn’t like about his process, but sent him the second book. He liked it too and sent another contract. Things began to go awry at that point and to make a long story short I ended up on the wrong end of the stick and the second book never did make it to print. That’s when I almost let it die.

But I received an email from the mom of a boy who had read the first book. He was wondering about book two. Then someone else asked about it. I took that as an indication that God was saying “Go.” So I pulled out those files and went to work, did some editing on book one and refreshed my memory about Createspace. Book two is almost ready to go and I have the cover ready for book three. It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed renewing my acquaintance with the characters and playing with some of the plot line. Finding just the right images for the covers was also exciting.

I have no idea what God intends with these little books, but I know He has said, “Go,” and go I will. I’m pretty sure He’s going to show up and demonstrate His sovereignty once again, even when it concerns a fantasy series that almost died.

He’s like that. And when He says “Go,” it’s best not to argue.
**** 

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 two 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 a devotional book for travelers: A Traveler’s Advisory
Sign
up to receive her devotional column, The
Spur

Dwell in the Land, and Cultivate Faithfulness

I’m pleased to have my friend Joylene M. Bailey do a guest post today. I trust you will be inspired by her thoughts on apprenticeship.
****

The problem with me is that I want to learn everything at once. I love learning. But I often don’t take the time to learn something well before I’m off to the next thing. (Which is a strange practice for a perfectionist, now that I think about it.)

I just want to know everything. I can’t begin to explain how disappointed I was at the age of 34 – married with children – to suddenly come to the realization that I would never know everything there was to know in the world.

Devastated doesn’t even come close.
*****

Apprenticeship is very different from learning something quickly and moving on to the next enticing thing. When I picture an apprentice, I picture a student walking with his master. Watching closely, listening carefully, mimicking the movements, learning the tone of voice.

Apprentices of the Middle Ages actually lived with their masters’ families. For several years!

By the end of their apprenticeship they would have understood the meaning in every raised eyebrow, every twitch of the lips, every “harrumph!” that they encountered in their master’s actions. And they would have understood their craft inside out and backwards.

This week I have been pondering Psalm 37, with regards to my writing. Verses familiar to me that I have had highlighted for many years:

Verse 3. Trust in the LORD, and do good …

Verse 4. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Verse 5. Commit your way to the LORD …

Verse 7. Rest in the LORD …

But what’s this? Artfully tucked between Trust in the LORD and Delight yourself in the LORD are two little lines conveniently skipped over time and again:

Dwell in the land

and cultivate faithfulness.

That, to me, is apprenticeship at its core. Dwelling in the land of writers is an apprenticeship with community. I like to dwell in the land of writers.

I am fresh off a Spring WorDshop, (sponsored by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship) where it was invigorating to breathe the same air as like-minded people. And I learned so many things I had never thought about in quite that way before.

I love my writers group, where I can bounce ideas off of trusted writer friends, get constructive feedback, and grow in my craft.

That’s dwelling in the land of writers.

Cultivating faithfulness takes work and attention, and is part of the apprenticeship that is often done alone.

The definition of cultivate is:

– – to grow and care for

– – to foster the growth of

– – to improve by labour, care, and study

There is something about this part of apprenticeship that is just so … daily. It’s not something quickly learned, enabling me to blissfully skip off to learn something new. It’s a step by step, day by day growing, improving, and knowing.

It’s being faithful to the word and the Word.

Day in and day out, sitting my bottom in the chair and putting my fingers to the keyboard. This is the hard part for someone who likes to go off to learn the latest thing. Someone like me. But I think that dwelling in the land and cultivating faithfulness with my writing is the best possible apprenticeship I could have.

LORD, I trust in You. I commit my writing to You. Grant me the motivation, determination, and focus to be faithful in my apprenticeship. Above all, may it bring You glory.
Amen.
****

Joylene
M. Bailey writes because. What began as making up childhood stories to put
herself to sleep at night, became creating stories and songs for her three
daughters. This entertainment morphed into writing articles and stories
for children’s publications, writing rhymes for her grandson, and blogging at www.scrapsofjoy.com
Her current work
in progress is a novel about a wandering little girl and her flawed but loving
mother. Joy and her husband live in Alberta, Canada, and are relishing their recent
transition to empty nesting.

Delayed Reactions

Geranium budding

By Marcia Lee Laycock

I’m a delayed reaction kind of person. I seem to take things in all quickly, all in one swoop, but it takes a while before anything comes back out. It’s often weeks before my will, emotions, and brain kick in and something results. This was particularly frustrating when I was in school and the quick-witted would make fun of me or maliciously attack. The words that would come days later were often equal to the enemy both in cynicism and cruelty. I’m glad, now, that they were never uttered.

This delayed reaction thing is also frustrating as a writer. I once spent ten days traveling to Greece and Israel, touring sites from Mars Hill to the Temple Mount. The days were full of stunning sites and moments that literally caused me to gasp. There were also some moments that caused me to moan. But as I sat down to write about them, there seemed to be a block. Things hadn’t settled enough yet. The images and feelings were all still too raw. I knew from experience that it would take time and I must be patient. Rushing into it would result in writing that was half-baked and shallow. Like picking a flower before it has fully bloomed. To truly get to the meat of things, I had to wait.

In writing, as in most things in life, timing is everything.

And that’s where I have to rely on God. I ask Him to give me the words, and to nudge me at the right moment, when those words are ready to be put on a page. In the meantime I content myself with jottings as the images come back and the emotions are resurrected. I sort my photos and skim my journal. And wait.

Often God seems to specialize in delayed reactions. I petition Him in prayer but the answer doesn’t appear right away. I get frustrated, sometimes even angry. There is a danger at that point, that I may react, take action on my own. I speak from experience when I say the results are usually disastrous. It is then I must remember 2Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Timing is everything – His timing, not mine. Trusting that He has it all under control isn’t easy. I’m a lot like Martha, who accused Jesus of not caring enough to be there in time to cure her brother. But Jesus did care. He cared enough to not only resurrect Lazarus back to life, but to reveal the true identity of the One who raised him. Mary and Martha knew Jesus but they did not understand His resurrection power until they saw it with their own eyes.

And that’s the meat of the story – the deep, vital core – knowing Jesus in all his glory is worth everything, all the frustration, all the tears, all the anguish. And then we hear Him whisper – “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
****

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 three devotional books in print and has
contributed to several anthologies, including the Hot Apple Cider books. 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 A
Traveler’s Advisory
, Stories of God’s Grace
Along the Way.

Sign up to
receive her devotional column, The
Spur