Have you ever had something you really wanted to do, but you were scared of doing? Maybe performing in a musical recital, applying for your dream job, or introducing yourself to someone new?
I remember how nervous I was to meet with my first client at my first full time counseling job. As we sat down in my freshly painted office, I did my best to appear capable and composed. I looked the part of a polished professional in my dress pants and heels, but inside told a different story: my stomach buzzed, my head thrummed, and my skin prickled.
I was painfully aware of how much I didn’t know and how far I had to go to become the counselor I wanted to be. Questions loomed: Do I have what it takes? Will this client think I’m a joke? Will they come back?
It’s time like these that I’ve reminded myself, “Fake it till you make it. Act confident, like you have it together, and, eventually, you will.”
Fake it till you make it.
It’s not a bad idea, and there is even some science that supports its effectiveness (it must work, because, to my great relief, the client came back the next week).
Recently, though, I heard a variation of the phrase that made me decide to kick “fakin’ it” to the curb.
In an interview on MarieTV, birth doula and author Latham Thomas explained why, instead of saying “Fake it till you make it,” she uses the phrase “Faith it till you make it.” She said, “There is nothing fake about you…There’s nothing to pretend…We’re becoming. So, you’re not fake because you aren’t there yet.”
“You’re not fake because you aren’t there yet.” This concept really hit home with me.
I thought I was faking it with my first client because I was nervous and inexperienced. But I wasn’t actually faking it; I wasn’t a pretend counselor. I was a young, nervous, inexperienced, yet-to-meet-my-full-potential counselor. But a counselor nonetheless.
I was FAITHING it—stepping forward in the belief that’s I was meant to be doing and that, despite my qualms, I had what it took. And it was repeating this process over and over again that allowed me to develop into the calm, competent therapist I eventually became.
Consider this: Is an oak sapling an oak tree? Even though it may be only one foot high, genetically it is as much an oak as an 80 foot tall tree. True, the sapling has yet to reach its full potential—there is much for it yet to become. But at its core essence, it already is.
And when that little oak produces its first acorns, do we say, “Those are faux acorns” because they are smaller and so much fewer in number than the acorns produced by the giant, old oak nearby? Just because the crop is small doesn’t mean the fruit is not genuine, authentic, and valuable.
Being a smaller version of what we aim to become does not make us invalid, no matter how nervous or afraid we feel. Putting on confidence, poise, or courage when that’s what the situation calls for isn’t inauthentic, even if it doesn’t feel 100% natural. We couldn’t act calm, assured, or brave if we didn’t already have some portion of those qualities inside us. Our measure may not yet be as big as we want it to be, but it’s there all the same.
Yes, it can feel awkward and even like we’re putting on an act when we choose to move forward in the midst of fear and our imperfections.
But the real tragedy happens when we choose not to step out. Because if we don’t take a risk and faith it, we can’t reach our full potential. By holding back in a place of “safety” we doom ourselves to remain a sapling instead of growing into what’s possible—a massive, time tested, fruitful, glorious oak tree.
Do you want to be a singer? Be brave and sing!
Do you want to be a painter? Embrace your inner artist and paint!
Don’t disparage your small beginning. That small act of confidence, your five paintings, your five songs—those are the seedbed of a beautiful portfolio.
When you’re getting started and fear is trying to force “I’m a fake” down your throat know this: you are not faking it! You are stepping out in faith, and you are making it! You ARE, and you ARE BECOMING!
In sum, this is what faithing it means to me:
- Trusting that I have a purpose, trusting that I have what it takes to grow into that purpose, and trusting that I am who God says I am.
- Putting on courage like a coat, stepping out, and, as teacher Joyce Meyer would say, “doing it afraid.” Over and over and over again.
- Accepting that mistakes and a certain amount of discomfort are a normal part of growth.
- Nurturing the sapling that I am, doing everything I know to help myself grow into a glorious oak.
Reflect: How might changing your perspective from faking it to faithing it impact how you think about yourself and where you are in your journey? How have you faithed it in your life? How did it feel? I’d love to hear about it!
(Photos courtesy of Pixabay)