Imposter Syndrome (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Imposter Syndrome.

This term, also known as imposter phenomenon, was coined by Drs. Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in a 1978 article entitled, “The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention.” It is defined as “the situation in which highly accomplished, successful individuals paradoxically believe they are frauds who ultimately will fail and be unmasked as incompetent.”

Source: American Psychological Association

The phenomenon is pervasive and widely acknowledged as a significant psychological barrier for individuals to succeed in business. It is not limited to women but cuts across genders, race, and culture. Growing up, I felt privileged to attend an excellent private high school. Yet, I knew that I was not as qualified as my peers, when I compared myself to their grades and accomplishments. They were all so much more well-rounded than I-science fair finalists, scholar-athletes, and members of prestigious national honor societies. I hoped college would be different, however, when I left Hawaii to attend college on the mainland, the doubts magnified. One third of my freshman classmates were either valedictorians or salutatorians of their respective high schools! Not me! I knew it was only a matter of time before I was revealed to be a fraud; I did not deserve to be there. The doubts crept into my personal life as well. If I wasn’t a good enough student, perhaps I was not as good a son or friend as I thought I was? Was I deluding myself?

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 (CSB)

In my sophomore year of college, God intervened in my life and by His grace and mercy, I was able to confess and repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I no longer had to fear that I was not good enough as my peers, nor did I have to believe that I would be unmasked as a fraud. When He saved me, I saw myself the way that God saw me. I am a sinner but was saved, not by any righteous works, but washed and cleansed by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. I was no longer fearful but grateful. 

Before Jesus Christ, I suffered from imposter syndrome and labeled myself a fraud. After He saved me, I became a child of God with my identity and self-worth resting in Jesus Christ alone.

Praise God!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

“Yes Brother. My wife used to be married before she came to Jesus Christ. Our two children are from her previous marriage.”

I was a first year medical student and was seeking a new home church. It was my first new church since I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in my sophomore year in college. This was my first one on one meeting with the head pastor. 

“So is her ex-husband still in the picture?”

The pastor smiled. “Yes, he is. You may know him. He’s Jake, one of the elders of the church.”

“Jake? Really?”

I was astonished. This church began as an outgrowth of a Bible study the pastor led when he was working as a staff member at a sister church. Through this study, many became Christians, including his current wife and her ex-husband. I later learned that it was an acrimonious divorce, wreaking havoc upon the entire family. Many outsiders were surprised to see both of them attending the Bible study and later became Christians. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (ESV)

When I became a Christian, lofty theological terms like reconciliation, propitiation, and sanctification were now a part of my vocabulary. Although I could regurgitate a textbook definition, I did not have practical experience within my three years since accepting the Lord. Here, in this new home church, was a vivid and tangible example of reconciliation. The power of God reconciled a formerly estranged couple and their children. God reconciled the new husband with the former husband. Broken family relationships were now reconciled within the family of God.


God always turns our expectations upside down. When the world says it will never happen, God says, “Believe in my Son and the power of the resurrection.” Jesus Christ reconciled a world, lost to the corrupting power of sin, through His death and resurrection on the Cross. When we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, that same power is ours through the Holy Spirit indwelling within us. What do we do with this power? We are given a ministry of reconciliation. Estranged spouses, broken friendships, toxic work environments. Nothing is too difficult for God when we place our faith and trust in Him.


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Rate Limiting Step (Isaiah 40:31)

“You’ve completed it already?”

I smiled as I read the email from my chief of dermatology. I was tasked to complete a project for our dermatology residency program. I was part of a group of five other faculty members and the due date was in a week. However, I was aware that the sooner I completed my portion of the project, the sooner my chief could begin working on the next phase. Over the next two days, I spent every free moment completing the task, to the delight of my chief.

I learned a long time ago that I never want to be the rate limiting step with any assignment. When I was in elementary school, I experienced a painful lesson. I procrastinated on a homework assignment until the weekend before it was due. When I finally started, I discovered that it would require a trip to the public library as well as visiting several local landmarks to complete it. The library was closing early for repairs and several of the landmarks were open for limited hours on Saturday only. My father and I scrambled to get the necessary references and visit the landmarks. We barely finished on time and upon completion, my father reproved me. “Someday, other people may be relying upon you to complete your assignment in a timely manner. This time it was only you, the next time, your entire team may suffer.”  Lesson learned. 

What about my spiritual life? Am I the rate limiting step? My inclination is to bolt forward with my decisions instead of waiting for God’s directions. While I could never be criticized for procrastination, a more serious issue emerges. Acting upon my impulsive nature exposes my lack of faith in God’s promises. This is the opposite of what God asks of all believers. 

Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will  mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. 

Isaiah 40:31 (NASB)

As a child of God, Jesus Christ needs to be my rate limiting step. Instead of forcing my solution for a situation, I need to wait on my Lord, seeking His direction and guidance rather than acting on my own volition. It is not easy to undo years of compulsive behavior but I am not doing it alone. God, through His Holy Spirit, empowers me to gain new strength. Slowly I am learning that when I wait on the Lord, He is able to do all things exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that I ever ask or think.


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Tribute (Psalms 39:4-7)

“There are places I remember…all my life, though some have changed.”

The familiar strains of the classic Beatles tune filled the sanctuary of the church. On a large overhead screen, a video montage of photographs highlighted tender moments in the life of the woman we were gathered together to honor and remember. The video ended and the pastor ascended to the podium and shared this poignant remembrance. “Before she passed away, Sally reviewed that video with her daughter who helped to put it together.”

Sally’s memorial service was a lovely celebration of her life. She knew she was dying and wanted to make sure the service was a blessing for everyone. Her daughter worked with her to choose the photos that were to be included in the presentation. What a wonderful tribute to honor the matriarch of their family!

LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath. We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. 

Psalms 39:4-7 (NLT)

Some of us, because of illness or other circumstances, may have a clearer idea when we will pass from this life. Others are resolved to do everything possible to cling to this life. However, from the moment we are born, we are all dying. Many of us have viewed similar video montages but I have never seen one that included sad or painful images. We chose to remember only the good times because this is the way we would like others to remember our lives. There is also the hope that there is a better afterlife, that what we did in this life makes a difference after we pass. For Christian believers, like Sally, it is not just a hope. Death is a passing from this life to eternity that will be spent in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The greatest tribute that we can receive in this lifetime is to confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Only Jesus can bestow eternal life and salvation to all who call upon His Name.


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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“Oh Yeah…Thanks!” (Psalms 33:10-11)

“And have a Happy Thanksgiving!”

“Oh yeah…thanks!”

It was the shortened Thanksgiving week and as I completed my phone conversations with client’s offices, I ended with this phrase. After several encounters, I noticed a trend. The majority of the offices would not return my well wishes. Instead of the usual, “Happy Thanksgiving!” it was an awkward exchange, as illustrated above. Disheartening, but not unexpected.

Several years ago, this trend began with Christmas when “Merry Christmas” was replaced with “Happy Holidays”. It has now spread to Thanksgiving. Any reference to religious overtones or the origins of the holiday are quietly being put away or worse. Politically correct pundits and their social media allies have attacked the Thanksgiving holiday as an example of racism, symbolic of the injustices that white Americans have perpetrated upon native Americans and other non-white races. The flowery and idyllic scenes portrayed in movies and paintings belie the often hostile relations between the first European settlers in America and native Americans. Protests have increased and have called for Thanksgiving to be a “National Day of Mourning” rather than a day to give thanks to God, as was the original intent when President Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863.  “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

It is easy to be discouraged by the social reconditioning that is pervasive in our society. Even when the initial intentions are noble, there will always be those who seek out the darkest motives, encouraging others to shame and publicly cancel events.  By the subtle shifts in our greetings, it may be succeeding. Man even tries in vain to undo the work of God, but this will never succeed. For over two thousand years, cynics have dismissed Jesus Christ as merely a good man and a gifted teacher. Others, including some churches claiming to be Christian, proffer a more generous opinion that Jesus is one of many gods. 

With nearly everything man has planned or created, there may be dark undertones and origins that may gloss over sinister details. Only God’s creations are perfect, unchanging, and initiated with purest of intentions. His plans, like His Word, stand forever. 

The LORD frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.

But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. 

Psalms 33:10-11 (NLT)

God will never be mocked or denied. Jesus Christ is God and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This Thanksgiving, I gave thanks to my Lord for His grace and mercy to my life and His abundant blessings. I pray that others will focus on the blessings of God rather than the complaints of man.

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Doing The Dance (Matthew 16:26)

My friend was recounting the effort his wife was undertaking to purchase an exclusive designer bag from a high-end fashion house. “They have to do the dance.”

I was intrigued. “Tell me!”

My friend rolled his eyes as he sat down in front of me. “Because these bags are in such high demand, the company wants to make sure that it creates the aura that it is very difficult to obtain.”

“How do they do this?”

“If you want to purchase this bag, you simply cannot walk into the store, plunk down your money, and buy it. It doesn’t matter who you are or even if you are paying for it in cash.”

“Wow. What do you have to do?”

“That’s when the dance begins. You have to establish a relationship with a salesperson. Once that happens, you have to work up to it. You purchase something that is expensive but not the coveted bag. That way, they see you are interested and you get your name in their system.”

“So, it is like putting a downpayment, putting your name in the queue?”

“Yeah, something like that. Meanwhile, you have to keep on calling and texting them, showing them you’re interested, and then, only if the salesperson likes you, will they return the inquiries and invite you to return to look at the bag. If they do, you can’t make any wrong move, like asking the price. If you do, the deal is off!”

“What? So after all that, the salesperson may not invite you back?”

“Yup, then you have to start all over again with someone else.”

I shook my head. “Amazing!”

Doing the dance. 

I was dumbfounded that such an elaborate interaction was needed to purchase this coveted bag, but then, when something is truly desired, one may go to extremes to obtain it. I know. Jesus Christ did the same for all humanity.

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

Matthew 16:26 (NLT)

We may have to do an elaborate dance with no guarantee that our actions will secure an exclusive bag. A bag is simply a worldly possession that will someday turn to dust. The most important possession we have is our soul. Jesus gave His life for us so that if we confess and repent of our sins and accept Him as Lord and Savior, we will have salvation and eternal life. No dance, just faith and belief in Jesus Christ. 


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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“Retirement Is Not Found In The Bible!” (Ephesians 2:10)

It was like reviewing the lineup for an all-star game, but instead of athletes, the participants were pastors. The august gathering of God’s shepherds was a retirement party for my former pastor, celebrating his twenty seven years of service as senior pastor of his church. Joined by dozens of current and former members of the church, our family was grateful to honor the pastor and his wife for so many faithful years of service to God.

Different speakers took turns offering tributes and recounting humorous stories of the pastor and his family, culminating in a speech and benediction from a pastor of a sister church who also recently retired. He spoke of his own experiences of retirement and what his expectations were and how they were either met or shattered. It led to a startling statement, “Retirement is not found in the Bible!”

After reflecting for a few seconds, I realized it was true. None of the great saints of the Bible ever retired. The way they served God changed over their lifetimes, but their service to God never faltered or stopped. The point of the statement was although our pastor was now retiring, it did not mean that his service to God was ending. It was a beautiful reminder of our true calling as followers of Jesus Christ. We do not retire, we re-purpose. 

I have arrived at the life stage where many of my friends and co-workers have retired. Some have devoted their newly discovered free time to their families, hobbies, and travel. These are all noble endeavors and certainly something I have considered, but what about our direct service to God and His Church? 

A dear sister in Jesus Christ inspired me to aspire to a different goal. Several years ago when she retired, she requested our pastor to use her in any way he saw a need in the church. As the pastor remarked upon hearing this, “This is the kind of request that brings joy to the ears of any pastor!” She admirably fulfilled her request, serving on the board for the church and using her creative and organizational skills to spearhead numerous outreach projects. 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)

I am prayerfully seeking God’s guidance to answer the question if and when I should retire. When that day arrives, I will certainly enjoy the extra time I will have to pursue my interests. Yet, God reminds me that if He has given me the financial security to retire, I should prioritize and pursue activities that further the Kingdom of God. As a child of God, I was created by Him to pursue good works in the Name of Jesus Christ so that I, and everyone I meet, will walk in them.


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Equality Versus Equity (Ephesians 2:13-16)


Equality and equity are terms that are casually and liberally used by politicians and social media, but what does it really mean? The above illustrations dramatically clarify the differences. The images may be familiar but the third image is often missing, and this image deeply resonates with me. These barriers affect everyone and cross over into race, culture, gender, and disabilities. There are many initiatives to create an equitable world, striving to remove systemic barriers. These are noble goals but how does one begin? Legislation and introducing laws are a beginning. Creating social programs can assist. Is there anything or anyone that can remove all systemic barriers allowing all people to be treated equitably?

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Ephesians 2:13-16 (NIV)

Barriers are man-made. They are the direct result of our sinful nature, leading to man’s inhumanity to man. The only solution is to confront our sin but we have erected a barrier around our hearts, composed of layers of pride, arrogance, and social conditioning. We do not need man-made solutions but a God-solution. Only when we recognize that God created all of us with a soul that is unsatisfied and incomplete unless it is united with Him through faith and belief in Jesus Christ, will we be able to address and eliminate the barriers that have caused so much division and inequity in this fallen world. Jesus Christ gave His life for us to abolish these barriers. Through the supernatural power of His resurrection, we will be more than conquerors and be victorious.

It begins with each of us. It begins with Jesus Christ. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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What If I Fail? (Hebrews 11:39-40)

“But what if I fail? I don’t want to do this if I know I may fail!”

“Don’t worry, you’ve practiced for this. I know you are ready.”

I shook my head. I was in 9th grade and my orchestra teacher wanted me to audition for the state youth symphony. Although I was the concertmaster for our high school orchestra, we were a small school and I knew the high level of proficiency that was expected to successfully join this group. One girl, three years younger than myself, was already a recognized prodigy on the violin. Her parents even purchased her a violin that was rumored to cost $10,000. She was auditioning, what chance did I have? I would only embarrass myself. 

“It doesn’t matter if you fail, but if you don’t try, you will never make it. I would rather have you try and give it your best effort than simply give up.” My teacher smiled at me. “This is the time you have to try, when you are young. I know you…you’re not a quitter.”

Her words bolstered my confidence. I took a step of faith, successfully auditioned, and was invited to join the symphony. It was an important step in my musical development and personal growth. Years later, I would take a similar step of faith when I considered whether to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. 

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. 

Hebrews 11:39-40 (NLT)

Who are all these people? The Book of Hebrews lists dozens of great saints like Abraham, Moses, and David. They all trusted God by faith with an important qualification. None of them received all that God had promised. Why would anyone do this? Why would anyone suffer persecution, torture, and even death for a promise? The great 19th century Anglican priest and poet, G. A. Studdert Kennedy, eloquently wrote, “Faith is not believing in spite of evidence; it is obeying in spite of consequence.” Here is an important kernel of truth. 

When I took an even greater step in faith and confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, it was based upon the promises that God had revealed to me in the Bible. Like my orchestra audition, I did it in spite of the consequences, but it was not a blind faith. God promised that He would transform and conform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. He gave me the witnesses of the great saints of the Bible who claimed the promise of faith and were rewarded, both in this lifetime and in eternity. 

What if I fail?

Failure is never an option when one is a child of God!


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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“We’re Better Than This!” (Romans 8:37)

“”We’re better than this!”

The microphone that was worn by the basketball coach broadcast his earnest pleading between him and his players during the timeout. Down by two points with seconds left, what should have been an easy win for the team was derailed by numerous turnovers and errors. They still had a chance to win this playoff game and advance to the finals. The coach attempted to encourage the team, reigniting the confidence they played with the entire season. This scenario is repeated in every sport and so many other life situations. When the trials of life weigh heavy upon us, we may lose our confidence and embark upon the slippery slope of self-doubt. If we can simply remember what we have accomplished with prior confrontations, it may be enough to purge the doubt and fear and lead us to victory and success once again. 

Our spiritual lives are no different. If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, He has already secured an eternal victory for your soul. So why do we live as if we are defeated by Satan and sin? Why do we focus upon the problem when we have been given the triumphant solution? The Apostle Paul asked the same question in his letter to the Romans.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 

Romans 8:35 (NASB)

Who or what will ever separate us from the love of Jesus Christ? Nothing!

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 

Romans 8:37 (NASB)

We’re better than this!

Indeed we are, but only by the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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