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  • Writer's pictureNicky Stade

Have you ever felt unqualified for something? Despite your training, your calling, your experience, and your ability to grow and learn, do you sometimes wonder that if anyone knew “the real you” the jig would be up? You’d be fired, dumped, or forced out of town?

This, my friend, is Imposter Syndrome.

And I’m quite familiar with it.

I think at some point in our social or spiritual development, we begin to believe the lie that “you have to fake it till you make it.” We lose the ability to be our authentic selves, because we’re too busy being our “best selves.” We get so comfortable striving for the ideal life, that we no longer recognize when we’ve actually reached it.

“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭9‬-‭10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

This verse jumped off the page for me this week. It’s simple decree is a breath of fresh air:

  • Love.

  • Really love.

  • Love deeply.

  • Be humble.

  • Be real.

  • And for the love of all that is holy, run from evil and hold on for dear life to what is good.

Imposter Syndrome lies to you. It turns the words of others into seeds that are planted deeply into your soul. It makes you forget how to love and be loved—especially how to be loved.

Somewhere down the line, someone told me I wasn’t cut out for ministry. I remember the conversation like it was yesterday, and it still makes my breath catch in my throat. I’ve been left out, uninvited, excluded—you name it.

Another time, someone told me I was making a mistake to forgo college to marry and start a family so young. The accusations of being selfish if I do and selfish if I don’t still echo in my mind.

Once I was told I needed to be quiet because I was just seeking attention. In fact, I was terrified to speak but knew the Lord had laid the words on my heart.

I’ve been told I laugh too loud, and too often—that I need to be more serious.

These are the voices that attack like a snake, hiding in the grass when I least expect it. These are the seeds that still try to sprout in my soul if left unchecked.

But I don’t have to live in defense of my calling, my abilities, or even my quirks. My offensive weapon is love. Loving others, authentically, from the center of who I am. I don’t have to be fake. As a Christ-follower, it is His Holy Spirit who is at the center of who I am. I can’t let those voices be the thing that keeps me from being authentic or from following where God may lead.

Instead, I surround myself with good friends who love me deeply, and I recall the many encouraging words they have said to me, said over me…and said about me when I wasn’t in the room.

I think of all of the people who have prayed for me, cheered me on, and called me on my insecurities when I needed it.

When old roots try to take hold or that snake tries to strike, I remember that I am surrounded by people who believe in me. God-given friends who love deeply. They don’t allow me to fake it.

I think tonight I just want to say thank you to those friends. And to those who haven’t yet found friends like this, I see you. You are loved. How can I be that friend for you?

  • Writer's pictureNicky Stade

It’s been a busy season for me. God is stretching me in ways I could never have imagined. Even just a few years ago, I would have snapped like a twig. As I sipped the last cup of coffee remaining in my house this morning (because who has time to go grocery shopping? Ha!), I read Psalm 29 in The Message and I was in awe. Most other translations refer to “God’s voice” or “the voice of the Lord”, but Peterson calls it “God’s thunder.”

"God thunders across the waters," "God’s thunder tympanic,” “God’s thunder symphonic." "God’s thunder spits fire.” “God thunders, the wilderness quakes;" "God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing"

When I was in middle school, I lived in the midwest, right in tornado alley. Any thunder or lightening struck fear in me, especially at night when I couldn’t see what might be lurking in the distance. I read this Psalm and at first glance I picture a giant storm brewing, loud and chaotic—and it sounds terrifying. I’m not currently living in the path of a literal hurricane as some of my dear friends, but it certainly feels like there is thunder all around me in this season.

This Psalm has shifted my perspective, though. What if the sound I’m hearing is not thunder, but God’s voice? What if the proverbial storm you’re experiencing right now is God quaking the wilderness around you? There are some trees who rely on the whipping wind and pounding rain to strengthen its root system. What if this season we're in isn’t designed to destroy us, but to embrace and empower us?

These words illuminated off the page today…almost as if highlighted by the very lightening in my soul:

Above the floodwaters is God’s throne
 from which his power flows,
 from which he rules the world. God makes his people strong.
 God gives his people peace. Psalm 29:10-11

God is above our storms. He’s not afraid. He’s not struggling through it. He is above it, and his power is greater. But it doesn’t end there—God makes his people strong. And God gives his people peace.

There is a promise in your storm today. Hold onto that with dear life, and when the sun shines again, you’ll be so glad you did! Love you, friends.

  • Writer's pictureNicky Stade

I’m a coffee person. On most mornings, I take a sweetener and some non-dairy vanilla creamer in my coffee. Not long ago, I discovered the joys of the Nespresso. During the week that I had access to one, I drank a lot of coffee with frothed milk instead of my usual non-dairy creamer.


I began to notice that my body was doing weird things, and the only thing I could think of that had changed was the absolute ridiculous amount of dairy I was consuming. It made me think back to all the other times I had noticed (and promptly written off) various symptoms that coincidentally happened when I would drink a regular latte, eat cheese, yogurt, a strawberry In-N-Out milkshake… At 41 years old, I began to wonder if I’m lactose intolerant and never knew it!

It also made me wonder how many other things we unnecessarily suffer through because we refuse to give up various poisons. You may not be lactose intolerant, but what else do you indulge in that is making you miserable? Maybe, like me, you never even put two and two together…

As we close out 2020, let me give you a few suggestions to consider detoxing:

  • Bitterness/Anger

  • Envy/Comparison

  • Negativity

  • Self-sabotage/Insecurity

  • Slothfulness

  • A toxic relationship

  • Inauthenticity

  • Unnecessary fears

What would you add to this list?

When I gave up dairy, I noticed that my body got worse before it got better. I had unknowingly become dependent on it, and had to be diligent about scrubbing it out of my diet because it can be sneaky. You might be amazed at how many things are made with milk! I also had to be diligent about finding a substitute that would suffice. There are so many things I could use in place of real milk, but what is best?

Giving up other toxins can bring the same struggles—perhaps you have been self-sabotaging for so long that you no longer know what you want in life, much less how to set a goal and achieve it. Or maybe you’ve been so gripped with bitterness or negativity that you never knew just how many places it was hiding in your life. Be diligent to root it out and starve it from your system. Remind yourself that you’re removing a poison from your life.

But don’t just scrub it out—substitute it with something that is better! Commit to reading your Bible each day, even if it’s just a few verses (try to focus on ones that specifically talk about the issue with which you’re struggling). Develop a habit of prayer in the morning, before you reach for your phone to scroll through social media. At night before bed, instead of reaching for the remote, reach for a journal and a pen. Rather than mindlessly scrolling through everyone else’s highlight reels, text a friend and have a real conversation.

On Christmas Day, I said to heck with it all and enjoyed homemade macaroni & cheese, rosemary crostini’s with delicious Brie & apricot jam, and creamy mashed potatoes. I ate as much milk chocolate as I could stand, and would substitute a few things here and there to justify my discrepancies. “But it’s Christmas!,” I told myself.

Was it delicious? You bet your stocking stuffers it was! But was it worth it?

Some of the issues I noticed when I would eat dairy were internal, private. Those were the ones I thought were fine if I cheated, because no one would know, right? However, there are external symptoms that can rear their ugly heads, too—acne for one. This is a correlation I hadn’t even considered until my Christmas splurge! Three days later, though, it’s painfully obvious that I had over-indulged.

It’s the same with other toxins like bitterness, envy, or fear. We walk around with these poisons in our system and we think no one knows because we don’t talk about it, but it leaks out in other ways. The truth is, often these toxic traits are written all over our faces.

I’m going to continue to eliminate dietary poisons from my daily habits, along with a few other things on this list. Will you do a personal inventory and quit something with me?

Let’s do better to be better this coming year.

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