We’ve been talking about Christian impostor syndrome for the last couple weeks, looking at three questions designed to help us grapple with those feelings of inadequacy. Today, we’re asking the second of those three questions: “Am I really contributing anything?”
Ironically, one of the things that can most easily make us feel like an impostor Christian is… other Christians.
Our peers. Our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And it’s not something they do maliciously. It’s not even something they do on purpose. In fact, I’m certain most of them have absolutely no idea it’s happening in the first place.
Really, it’s something we do to ourselves. When the Bible tells us what it means to follow Jesus Christ, it’s easy to look through those lists of character traits and talents and think, “Longsuffering, that’s not me… joy, I’m not really good at that… gentleness, oh boy, uh… peace, hah, okay…”
And then we can go back though that same list and think, “But you know who’s great at being joyful? So-and-so. So-and-so is the most joyful person I know. I will never be as joyful as So-and-so.”
And from there it’s a short trip to convincing ourselves that we are impostors. There’s always someone doing better than us at everything—what are we even doing here? What purpose can we possibly be serving besides just being dead weight for the talented Christians to haul around, right?
This is not a new problem. We are not the first Christians in Church history to wonder if we’re inadequate because others seem to have a better handle on things than we do. That is a thing people have wrestled with all the way back to the earliest congregations in the first century.
Paul explained to the Corinthians, in, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).
This is a core analogy for the Church. We, collectively, are the body of Christ. We, collectively, make up one single spiritual body—but that body is made up of unique, individual parts.
If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
(1 Corinthians 12:15-22)
You may have heard the quote, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” That’s kind of what’s going on here.
Paul says it’s just as silly for a foot to say, “Well, I can’t do any of the things a hand can do, so I must not belong here,” as it is for us to say, “Well, I’m not as good at being joyful as So-and-so over there, so I must not belong here.”
The big toe does an awful job at being the ear. But it’s not meant to be the ear. Can you imagine what would happen to the human body if it was nothing but ears?
…Now stop imagining it. That’s terrifying.
Paul said that “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.”
That tells us something important. He didn’t say, “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased, except for you, Steve.”
You are where you are in the body of Christ because God decided to place you there.
This is true regardless of whether you’re a hand or a foot or a toenail. The God who knows our hearts, who formed each of us in the womb and made us a unique blend of talents and aptitudes and inclinations, that God created you and said, “I have the perfect spot for this one.”
And here you are.
No accidents. No overlooked loose ends. No unnecessary filler. No puzzle pieces from the wrong box.
Paul is telling us in no uncertain terms, “If you didn’t have a purpose here, God would not have placed you here.”
You’re here. You have a purpose.
We all do.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the body of Christ and how we all fit into it. As part of that discussion, he said, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:15, ESV).
Every joint. Each part. You are one of those joints or one of those parts. None of us are tasked with being the best joint in the body. We’re tasked to serve how we can, where we can, and leave the rest to God.
God placed you where He placed you so that you can play a role in helping the body grow. You might not be completely sure what that job is; you might not even know you’re doing it. You might be serving a function that won’t be obvious to you until everything’s said and done.
But you are where you’re supposed to be—because God placed you where you’re supposed to be.
Until next time,