Accepting the Lord into your heart and knowing that He has saved you can feel like the most refreshing and humbling moment in a new Christian’s life. It can also be the shining moment before an inward spiral of self-doubt.
When I was saved, there was a series of events that the Lord led me through that showed me his loving grace. I was on top of the world, basking in his love, gathering every book I could to learn more about Him and looking for the perfect church. That was the exciting period but shortly after finding the perfect (for me) church, the anxiety started.
I was in small group and said something that someone corrected in a sweet way but I immediately started analyzing myself. “Does everyone here think I’m a fake?” Then it progressed from me being worried that other people would think I’m not a REAL Christian to me thinking I wasn’t. “What if they find out I’m a fraud?” I spent my spare moments reading literature to strengthen my relationship with the Lord and here I was questioning myself because of one wrong answer.
I started wondering if people were going to be talking about how I don’t know scripture or that I am too new to answer questions in group. Searches for “impostor syndrome” and “feeling like a fake” were filling up my phone and I wasn’t finding any answers. This season was like a sinking black hole that I couldn’t get out of. I prayed for Him to help me not feel like a fake and to help me be closer to Him so that I wouldn’t be a “fake Christian.”
I want to share some things that helped me get out of this season and to thrive in my relationship with God. You aren’t alone in your feelings. This is very common and there might even be people at your church who have been Christians for years who feel this way.
You Are Saved
If you look up impostor syndrome, you’ll find this information: “It often rears its head after an especially notable accomplishment.” Accepting our Lord, repenting our sin and drawing closer to God is the greatest accomplishment I can think of. We are experiencing a life giving and lifesaving moment and our savior gave it to us. So really, it makes sense that you feel this way. It’s also a beacon to the enemy that another warrior is on the battlefield. He will start his spiritual attack on you and try to convince you that you should be alone, that no one wants you around and that you don’t really have faith anyway.
The enemy wants us to doubt our salvation and feel like we aren’t real Christians but we need to turn to the scripture. Teach 4 the Heart has an amazing article about doubting your salvation where she explains her own experience. One of the things she mentioned that really helped me is Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”. We have called upon the Lord and he has saved us. There isn’t anything that the enemy can do to take away what Jesus has done for you. He lost at the cross and he will lose the battle in your heart. You are a real Christian and the enemy cannot take that from you.
Do Life Together
During my lowest moments of feeling like a fraud, I reached out to my community group leader and shared how I was feeling. She was so encouraging and was the one who helped me to see that it was the enemy trying to pull me away. He doesn’t want us to encourage each other, he wants us to be alone. It’s easier for him to be heard when we don’t have the positive encouragement of other Christians around. When Christians are together and helping each other, we are truly acting as the bride we are meant to be.
God’s covenant community (you and me) were created to do life together. We aren’t meant to be alone and to try and figure everything out by ourselves. We are supposed to reach out when we are alone in the dark and another covenant member will show us the light. Hebrews 3:12-13 tells us “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Exhort means to encourage; we are to encourage each other every day to protect each other from the enemy who wants us to fall away from God. Just because God isn’t speaking directly to you, it doesn’t mean God isn’t telling you something. If you don’t have a community you are in, please feel free to reach out directly to me. I’d love to get to know you more and help in any way I can.
Have Faith in Your Faith
As a new Christian, there are times when you feel like your faith is constantly being tested. You are adjusting to changing your entire life and it can be easy to fall back into old habits. I still have a hard time with cursing and listening to hardcore gangster rap (seriously). Everyone has their sin that they work through with the Lord, but feeling like a fake can lead you to feeling as though you don’t have ENOUGH faith. In James 5:15 “and the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” If you have prayed for God to accomplish what he has promised in His word then you have prayed the prayer of faith according to Ligionier Ministries.
No one knows what is in your heart but you and our Father. If you have accepted Him into your heart, know that Jesus is your savior, admitted your sin and asked for forgiveness then that is between you and God. It is important to live in covenant community as explained above but it is also important to understand that no one else’s judgement of your amount of faith is as important as your relationship with the Lord. If someone is criticizing your faith, try paying attention to our creator and not your critic. Our place as Christian’s isn’t to rank people’s faith, so feel comfort in the love of fellow Christians instead of anxiety and those who might be against you.
Pray for Strength
In every challenge, it is crucial to be in conversations with the Lord. He might be guiding you through a lesson that will help you have an even deeper faith. In this particular challenge, you might feel like retreating and not reaching out to the Lord in fear of judgement but he wants to hear from you. He wants to hear from you what is plaguing your heart. The Psalms has the perfect scripture for finding strength to defeat the enemy and your feelings of inadequacy in Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea (you might feel like this right now), though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
He is your refuge that means in times of pursuit, danger or trouble he is there for you. In times when your heart is troubled, He will listen and guide you. The enemy wants you to pull away from God and to stop speaking with Him. Pray to our Father about what is causing your anxiety, have faith, speak with others in your community and know that you are saved and He will be with you always.
Every Christian no matter how long they have been a Christian is on a journey to be more Christ-like and none of us are perfect. The only one who was perfect gave His life for ours. Keep that in mind the next time you worry about being a fake Christian.