Listening and Going

Today’s reading is on Moses (Exodus 5:1-6:13, 14:5-31).

“Imposter syndrome” is something I hear about in my office or on LinkedIn every once in a while these days. It is the internalized fear, often completely misguided, that someone hasn’t really deserved any of their accomplishments, that they have gotten by solely on luck, and could be exposed as a “fraud” at any point, made out to appear foolish. Even among people who do great at their jobs, some of us just can’t see our own true strengths and abilities. We can doubt ourselves, compare ourselves to those around us who appear so collected and composed, and consider ourselves lesser options for our position.

In Exodus, a young Moses experiences something similar when confronted by God. Often, when we too are suddenly confronted with an arduous task by God, we immediately launch into cycles of doubt and fear. Over and over again, as God reveals Himself to Moses and commands him to go to Egypt and demand the Israelites be freed for a feast of worship. This is, by logical accounts, an impossible request. Leading the Israelites out of Egypt would require going up to Pharaoh, a direct link with the gods in the eyes of the Egyptians, a man of immeasurable wealth on Earth, and ask him to let his nation’s slaves go for three days to worship their God. It would look to be an impossible task to anyone, but as 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “we live by faith, not by sight.”

Yet instead of acting in faith when confronted by Creator of the Universe and Lord over all, Moses asks “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And again, when given direct instructions from Go of what to say to the Israelites there, he asks “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, The Lord did not appear to you?” Yet again, when told how to perform miracles as a sign of God’s power, Moses complains “I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.” Even as God gives him the most explicit of directions, Moses considers himself unskilled, untalented, and unable to do God’s work.

Even though Moses’s eventual journey to Egypt and plea to Pharaoh does not go easily, and Pharaoh instead makes life even more miserable for the Israelites, God’s plan fails to cease. When Moses cries out in doubt, the Lord answers in chapter 6. The Lord ensures He will lead His people out of Egypt safely. What His answer begins and ends with is simply yet truthfully “I am the Lord.” And over the next few chapters, as God unleashes a host of vile plagues as retribution against Pharaoh and ultimately leads His people out safely, Moses continues following His word and acting upon it.

Moses may not have believed himself to be capable or the most qualified for God’s plan, but in the end he follows what the Lord has to say. When we focus on our shortcomings and how we can fail to do anything in the situation provided for us, we should instead listen to what God has to say here. We may be weak, and unbecoming, and not very eloquent, but God is Lord. We may fall short in our own subjective measures, but God is Lord. We are only human, but God is Lord! Rather than succumbing to imposter syndrome in our own callings, it is important to remember that God has chosen us to fulfill the role He has placed us in, and that is what matters here. Just look at Moses here: yes, he may have been afraid, and had trouble standing up against Pharaoh on his own. God provided him his brother Aaron and a loving family to encourage and help him, and through his tribulations Moses finds courage and strength. Rather than looking inward to what you need in the moment to accomplish something, look around and take stock in what the Lord has given you to help you learn and grow. Rather than simply making us perfect for our position from the get-go, it brings Him glory and praise when we look to Him for guidance and wisdom along our journeys.

You might hear God calling you to go out and live for Him in some way today. That calling may be intimidating, and it may seem impossible. It can be easy to count ourselves out, to look at our negative qualities and how they will only hamper our progress moving forward. But God is not calling us to do these things in a vacuum: he has surrounded us with ways to find strength and grow in faith to live for Him. Remember today that He is Lord, and as He lifted his hand against Pharaoh and guided the Israelites out of captivity into their promised rewards, He will guide you out of your own troubles. More so, He will accept you just as you are, and you will succeed in any endeavor you are called to, so long as your faith and trust in Him guide you.