Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Psalm 139 (PART ONE)

LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

In a recent conversation with a friend about "imposter's syndrome" I was reminded that most of us experience this fear of being identified as NOT what everyone has assumed us to be. "What if they find out that I'm not really as smart as they think I am?" or "What if they find out that I'm not really capable of doing this job that is far to important to leave in the hands of someone who is so incapable?" It goes something like that.

I have experienced this every time I've taken a new role. Sometimes the emotions that go with it are stronger than others and sometimes the voices take longer to silence (or at least back off to a manageable mummer in the background). Once you've experienced this often enough and had the conversations with others to know it's not uncommon, it is not so surprising when it comes with a new title or new portfolio or new assignment.

For me, it is less manageable when it swoops from behind a corner in the middle of a thing, unannounced and unpredictable.

The point of all this is not cathartic blog-therapy or a cry for affirmation because I'm in a funk (though I might not have seen this without having been metaphorically cut off in traffic by this shadowy uncertainty in recent days).

God knows me fully -- will never be surprised when the truth comes out about my opportunities for growth (weaknesses) or my unwise choices (sin). He knows what I do (and don't do) as well as what I think. All of the time.

Whether I intentionally run from him or am swept away by a strong current of self-doubt or popular opinion, He is there. He comes along for the ride, has my back, and--wherever I land--greets me upon arrival.

He knows that I'm going to say before I do. He knows when I'm going to let him speak truth and light through me and He knows when I'm going to verbally step in it and track it all over the carpet before realizing that I am the one who smells funny.

None of my best or worst (words, actions, attitudes, ideas) surprises him. He is not taken off guard. Not shocked. Oh, he is sometimes (often?) offended or hurt -- and the fact that my attitudes and words and thought can actually impact the God of the Universe who is Almighty and Holy is absolutely beyond my comprehension. And, truly amazing, nothing I do or say or think is beyond his redemption.

This really is too much.

When my feet are covered with dirt and dung, Jesus does not go running from the room until I can get things cleaned up and put in order and smelling fresh. He gets up from the table, puts a towel over his arm, takes a bucket of water and washes my feet. Then he sits back down at the table and offers me another slice of bread, another glass of wine - his eyes sparkling with joy and delight and unquenchable love.


  1. Beautiful thoughts!
    Is "impostor's syndrom" a technical term?
    Anyway, thanks for sharing and I hope you have or will soon find the exit of the shadowy uncertainty.

  2. Good post. It's interesting that you mention the impostor syndrome. I just wrote a book on the subject.

    Your readers can take a 20 question test to see how much the impostor syndrome affects you at: www.ImpostorQuiz.com.

    John Graden

  3. Part One means a Part Two or more are sure to follow. Looking forward to it.