“The pressure to perform” – Imposter syndrome

“The Pressure to Perform” – Imposter syndrome
by Werner van Rensburg

Being content to stay in Galilee and not travel to Judea

We are consumed and obsessed with chasing clout (influence), approval, and publicity.

Scripture: John 7 vers 1 to 13: (NIV): Jesus goes to the Festival of Tabernacles

Also known as the “Feast of Booths” because people lived in booths, tents and other makeshift shelters for seven days. The Feast of Tabernacles was the feast that God commanded Jews to keep in order to commemorate God having led and provided for them for forty years in the wilderness after freeing them from slavery in Egypt.

In John 6 Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand. Have this huge miracle in the back of your mind.

John 7 verse 1- 3 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do.

John 7 verse 4-5  No one who wants to become a public figure ,acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world. 5 For even His own brothers did not believe in Him.

They supposed that, if he were the Messiah, he would wish to manifest himself as such to the world; and, because he did not do so, they did not believe that He was the salvation of Israel.

John 7 verse 6- 7 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.

John 7 verse 8-12 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come. (I wonder how different our lives would be if we learn the power of those two words: not yet)

9 After He had said this, he stayed in Galilee. (Jesus was pressured to go, but He said NO).

10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is He?”

12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about Him for fear of the leaders.

See vs. 10 – the key verse: “He went in secret.”

This was not the appropriate time for Jesus to fully reveal Himself. He did not act in secrecy because He was afraid or sneaky, but He made His decisions out of the will of God. It was not yet time for Jesus to completely manifest His Messiahship. The time for the cross was still six months ahead.

PRINCIPLE: Discretion is the best side of wisdom.

APPLICATION: There are times when the majority thinks leadership should go in one way. However, the majority opinion may not be right. It takes discernment (decide between truth and error, right and wrong) to distinguish between prevailing opinion and a right decision.

As life often can – when we find ourselves exposed to a particular responsibility that we have never experienced before, not only on the financial side, also on the emotional side of eg. parenting – for example, when we give it all materially, you have nothing left emotionally.

Don’t you sometimes encounter people who are undergoing a lot of stress at work that impacts them emotionally?

It used to be enough that all we had to do was protect our kids, provide for our kids, and prepare our kids. With this, comes the anxiety of letting kids fail a little bit – so they don’t fail a lot. Should you let your kids skin their knees now – so your kids don’t break their necks later?

Should Peter be allowed to sink down into the water but not let him drown? Even Jesus did not prevent the failure –He allowed the failure so the person could learn the lesson.

Sometimes there is so much pressure coming from so many different directions. If you stop to think about the life of Jesus – He was under pressure from the Pharisees who wanted to Kill Him because He threatened their political power. They were watching everything that He did and watched Jesus with scrutinizing eyes – to the point that even if He healed someone they accused him of healing someone on the wrong day of the week (the Sabbath). How would you like to be accused of doing the right thing at the wrong time? This is Jesus. They even followed Him to see if He was going to wash his hands before he ate. The Pharisees were not interested in knowing that Jesus was eating with the unclean as an act of mercy and grace. They were more interested in seeing if He was following their laws. They only focused on the cosmetics. Everything He did was under scrutiny

Often Jesus would perform a miracle for the crowd  but they would miss the deeper meaning.  Jesus had just fed 5000 men + women + children. He provided for their needs in such a great way that they all had their fill.

After filling them physically, Jesus was now trying to fill them spiritually. It turns out that they were following Him not for the spiritual dynamics of who He was, but only for the physical benefits of what He could provide .

When Jesus began to speak in at a deeper level – many of them did not want to hear it – where He says: “Now that you have had bread – now recognize that I am the bread of life – the miracle that I just performed was not about what I did – it was to point to who I am.

And they did not like the phrase “And if you drink my blood and eat my flesh you can remain in me” It was if He had the crowd and then he lost them. Where He had the following and then He lost them.

See John 6:66: From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Many went away because it was a hard saying. Then Jesus turned to his disciples and asked: Do you want to walk away too?

It is one thing to deal with opposition from the devil – it is another thing to deal with opposition that is inside of your own house.

Jesus had seven siblings. His blood brothers pulled him aside and proposed a strategy as to how to get his followers back. They have got it all figured out. They stated: Jesus, do more of the stuff like feeding people  and less of the “cannibal stuff” (I am the bread of life, if you drink my blood and eat my flesh you can remain in me) that you say in your speeches – why don’t you go to Judea to the Feast of the Tabernacle? You can do the flashy stuff that You had been doing in the northern part of Palestine Do publicly what you had been doing privately. This was the feast where they would come to the “Festival of Tabernacle” They would stay for a week and they would thank God for the water, manna, and sustenance that God gave them.

Manna  meaning(When the heavenly bread began to rain down, in the original Hebrew the people of Israel asked. What is it? God meets What is it? with what it is. It shows that God can show up in any situation where he answers the question of what is it with Who He is. It will become what you need for the season that you are in.

Yet his own brothers saaid: Jesus, do some of the flashy stuff.

You can then become a public figure.

See the phrase: “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret.” • And we live in a time where everyone wants to be a public figure.

Even people who have a private account spend their energy posting stuff and commenting on stuff – to create an image and a projection of a reality that bears no resemblance to the reality of their situation.

Jesus’ brothers pull Him aside to say. We have a great idea. Why don’t you show the world who you really are?  The focal point of this text is in verse 5.

However, let’s first look at this: Even Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him. And since they did not believe – they were trying to get him to perform.

Anytime that you have unbelief in your heart, it will cause you to try to perform to prove something that you don’t really believe.

In psychological terms, it is called the fraudulence complex – or some call it the imposter syndrome.

It is called the imposter syndrome because many of us secretly deep down think we are a fraud. Many us secretly deep down think that we have so much less to offer than what people expect of us.

We figure that the reason that they are complementing us is because they don’t really see us for who we are. If they ever saw us for who we are – how stupid we feel – how inexperienced we feel – how nervous we really feel.

This is the fear of being found out to be less than you thought that you were. It is a fear that keeps you in performance mode.

It is the fear that keeps you spending money to look like someone important, because deep down you are afraid that you are really not that important. It is the fear that keeps you overcompensating.

You get into situations and rather than letting other people be the centre of attention – you feel the need to overcompensate – to show how intelligent you are – because deep down you do not feel intelligent enough. You are scared at the conflict between who you are supposed to be and who you feel like and who you really are.

It means that sometimes while we are trying to fulfil our purpose – we feel like a fake. It is not like we are hypocrites. It is not that we are insincere. It is that deep down inside we are. We want to be wise, but sometimes, we feel like a fool.

We say things like: I have to prove I am a good dad. I got prove that I am a good Mom. When you do it to prove it, it takes the joy out of it.

Jesus did not mind performing miracles. He just was not going to do it for the wrong motives. Jesus was going to Judea. He just was not going to make a public spectacle out of His power.  Jesus was ultimately determined to show the world who He was.

The world would think, if He was the Messiah, He would wish to manifest himself as such to the world; with miracles and a road show and, because he did not do so, they did not believe that he was the salvation of Israel.

We believe that we have to make a road show out of our lives for everyone to see. Otherwise we fake.

I think the key thing that He says in the text is: Not now. Jesus says: I am not going to Judea right now. It is such a strange world that we live in. How do we tell kids how to grow up with the constant pressure to perform? Everyone gets to experience performance anxiety. We now perform all of the time for one another. We do it constantly.

If you cook a good meal for your family, this does not count – because you also need to make an Instagram story out of the meal. This “need to perform” is killing us.

Jesus said: If I go to Judea for the wrong reasons, and if I show up with the wrong motives, and If I live My life to perform for others – rather than to glorify my Father – it will kill Me.
What are the things that are potentially killing you? It says that He purposely stayed away from Judea. What does this mean?
What do you purposely need to stop thinking about in this season of your life?
Who do you need to purposely stop comparing yourself to in this season of your life?

I wonder how we look to God trying to do something that we are we not designed for.

The truth of the matter is, some of you are hurting in ways that you do not have to hurt, because you are putting yourself in a position that you were not built to live in.

Jesus said, I am not going to Judea – because you want me to go to Judea. We do not have to post it to prove it. We don’t have to make a roadshow out of everything

We live out of purpose – not popularity.

We live out of purpose – not for the empty praises of others – but only for the praise that can only come from God.

Waking up feeling purposeless is incredibly frustrating.


Is there anyone here to today that is content to stay in Galilee and not travel to Judea – to know that it is your season to be obedient?

Trying to impress people and trying to measure up to arbitrary standards – that are changing so fast –
it will kill your joy,
and it will kill your marriage,
it will kill your ministry,
and it will kill your family.

Not even Jesus could please everybody – and he was sinless and spotless. Think about that: Jesus, the son of God could not please everybody.

And yet, we expect that we can.

Honestly, it was probably a lot of pressure to be a sibling of Jesus – where you bring home FF’s in chemistry and He is changing water into wine – and affecting molecular structures in real time. This is a lot of pressure. Many times the pressure that we feel to be special does not come from God – it comes from culture

Who tells you that you have to be so special – so different – so unique – so set apart – but you already are. We are already set apart.

Jesus says: I do not need to go to Judea to show them who I am. I already know – come to that place where we live for purpose and not for proof.

Because – who are you trying to prove it to? Whoever you are trying to prove it to is not paying attention – because they are trying to prove it to someone else that is also not paying attention – and so while we are busy posting to each other our results to prove to one another what we are worth – our purpose is dying in the place of our insecurity. When you know it is real and you know it is authentic – it enables you to do it from a place of purpose. Jesus is going to go to Judea eventually – to be tortured and to be killed – however, Jesus is not going to go because his brothers pushed him into it. Be careful of what people or cultural norms push you into.

You will never be pushed into purpose.

You will be pulled into purpose from within. Because pushing is not purpose.

God does not drive, he leads. Jesus says: “I will go when it is time for me to go.” I am not going for clout, I am going for Kairos. This is the Greek word that means opportunity or the timing of God. In Greek philosophy, fate determined timing – in Kingdom philosophy, God determines the timing. This means that I am where I need to be right now. I am good staying in Galilee.

We have a whole generation that is trying to be public figures. There is pressure to be special – the pressure to be important. However, if you belong to God and you are living on assignment, and you know that you are anointed, and you know your gift, it will take the pressure off – because we are good in Galilee.

The 2019 version of What Jesus said: I don’t have to post it to prove it. Jesus said: I do not do it because they are clapping. I do it because it is part of my calling. I’m not doing it for clout. I am not chasing their approval, I am fulfilling My assignment. This message is for our generation. We are consumed and obsessed with chasing clout, approval, and publicity.

Somethings need to stay private. Somethings that God does in your life are not for public disclosure. Somethings are not for public display. When you pray, Jesus tells us to pray in private and not to impress someone but to get in a secret place

Ask God this: What I am I called to do – what am I called to be? – I no longer want to take my queues from culture. The crowd is killing me – – God, what do You want me to do in this season of my life? It is too much pressure to please people – God I just want to please you – I do it for You God – I show up for You-– I love for You – I serve for You – I breath for You – I live for You – I worship for You – not for an audience of them – God is my audience.  When God is your audience, the opinions of people are no longer your sustenance. We so need this word from the Lord because we are not going to get it from the world.– how we are all performing for each other – all of the time – it is exhausting, it is a worthless – and it does not matter. And God, give us the word of sanity today. The crowd will kill you.

I love the word that John said: There was widespread whispering about Jesus. Everybody had a comment to make, however, no one had the courage to say it out loud to his face. And this is the world that we live in. When we give too much weight to the whispers of people and not enough weight to the word of God, it will kill us

So, the phrase “Imposter Syndrome” was coined a few decades ago in psychological terms, however the problems is as old as Moses who stood up one day to see a burning bush that was not consumed  pleading ‘who am I that I should stand before King Pharaoh?’ No matter how many miracles that God did through Moses, he still had trouble believing that he was enough to lead the Hebrew people through captivity. This is why he struck the rock instead of speaking to it.

This is why he was still trying to prove his value at the end of his ministry – to prove it to whom? Do you recognise yourself?

Jesus said that I am going to Judea – when it is right for me. God give us the clarity to know what is right for us – what we are not built for – so we stop finding ourselves in such compromising positions that do not even fit our calling – God, give us the wisdom to know that when people are pushing us – just because it is normal does not mean that it is wise – God give us the wisdom to know your timing – give us the wisdom to know when we need to put something in a private journal and not Facebook – Give us the wisdom to know that it is your voice.