When You Feel Like An Imposter
Years ago, when anyone and everyone began to create Facebook pages and join Facebook groups, I started discovering scores of old friends I had known when I was a young man working at Walt Disney World.
As I began fielding friend requests as well as sending a few of my own, almost every one of these people I had known back then had the same question for me:
"Are you really a pastor?"
They knew who I was when I was a twenty-something young fellow who had never met a party he didn't like. And there were stories they could tell about many things I had either forgotten or didn't want to remember, if you know what I mean.
I also discovered that there were more than a few people to whom I owed apologies because of my ungentlemanly, boorish, and uncaring actions during that time. It wasn't much fun, but I did my best to make things right.
But there was one friend from long ago who had a different kind of story to tell.
He messaged me privately and said, "Hey, I know many people are shocked that you ended up being a pastor, but I'm not surprised."
Then he went on to tell me how I had been his supervisor during the time when his father had passed away suddenly. He had to call me that day to let me know he wasn't coming to work. I was the first person he shared the news of his father's death with right after it had happened.
"I don't remember much of what you said," he told me. "But I do remember how you spoke to me kindly and how much it meant that you cared so much to take the time to let me know how sorry you were and how I shouldn't worry about work at all that day."
Then he told me that I was doing exactly what I should be doing, and he knew that because he saw the evidence of it back when we were young.
I remember reading that message and then just weeping like a baby.
I hadn't realized until that moment how much I'd felt like a fraud. My imposter syndrome had kicked in something fierce after all of the messages from my old friends and acquaintances, but the words from my friend's message fell on me like grace.
The other day, I read this fantastic line from Bob Goff:
We don't need to let who we used to be decide who we're going to be.