As I write this, I am returning from a global conference on marine conservation in California, where I spoke on three panels about my work in Virginia. Many colleagues who have PhDs and are leaders in the field of marine conservation were also on these panels. It did not take me long to start fretting that my contributions were trifling and pedestrian compared to the innovative and dazzling work of my august and ambitious peers. I felt like an imposter, on verge of full exposure and expulsion from the club.
Moses also struggled with imposter syndrome. In the Exodus reading for today, he desperately tries to convince God that he is unworthy of his call, consumed by anxiety of public speaking and being perceived as a fraud.
God will have none of it. God tells Moses to get over himself and his insecurities—as if to say: “Moses, this is NOT about you!” God does not call Moses to succeed as a leader or public speaker, but rather, calls Moses to bear faithful witness to God’s will. In fact, Moses never actually made it to the Promised Land; his unwavering faithfulness along the epic journey is what made him the great prophet of the Hebrew Bible.
Mother Teresa said, “We are not called to be successful, but faithful.” How do we heed this call in a society that obsessively worships the false gods of career achievements and success? Father Gregory Boyle, S.J., said, “If you surrender your need for results and outcomes, success becomes God’s business.” How true!
However, we can only surrender if we truly believe that God adores and delights in our true selves and that any—and all—gifts we have to offer are enough, without exception. The call to faithfulness then is the call to freedom and authenticity where none are imposters and all belong to the club called God’s Kingdom on Earth.
— Gwynn Crichton