Doing it well and getting it right.
Is it good or is it bad?
Healthy or harmful?
I think it all depends on our motive and perspective.
The truth is a lot of our life is measured by performance. I’ve spent a lot of time working in the field of human resources—and what do most employee’s get every year? Yep, a Performance Appraisal.
Like it or not, having to perform to certain standards is a part of our lives in many areas—but our relationship with God isn’t one of them.
That’s where this topic can get a bit dicey. It’s possible for performance and perfectionism to masquerade as things like diligence, responsibility, perseverance, and even excellence. All of those are good things, right? Colossian 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” We absolutely should give God our very best! I believe 100% that we should be intentional and purposeful stewards of our gifts, our time, and our resources. But we should also be aware of just how easy it is to step away from genuine faithfulness … and onto the never-ending hamster wheel of performance.
But where exactly is the line?
How do we know when we’ve crossed it?
I don’t think it’s possible to come up with a conclusive list of “do’s” and “don’ts” because I think the line can be in different places for different people in different situations. What I do know is this:
When I start to feel the anxious crush of crazy enter my soul … when I’m running fast, but going nowhere … when I’m second guessing every move … when I begin to lose my peace … it’s a sure sign I’ve left the realm of diligence and excellence … and have gotten back on that pesky hamster wheel of performance!
Most of us know enough about God’s grace to recognize, at least in theory, that our relationship with Him isn’t based on performance. But in our hearts is that really what we believe? Or do we still think we need to tick at least a few boxes to be “acceptable” to Him? After all, there are many, many areas in Scripture that speak to right living and right character. Right? But it is important to remember those things have nothing to do with God’s love for you or His acceptance of you. NOTHING. If you are in Christ nothing can separate you from His love—period (see Rom 8:31-38 ).
We have this habit of confusing salvation which is an irrevocable free gift (and includes our unrestricted access to God’s presence), with sanctification which is the life-long process of working out what He’s worked in. They are NOT the same thing. Yes, there are principles of reaping and sowing that result from our actions. Yes, there are habits and choices that can impact the fruit of our lives. But the very same actions may cause to reap difficult consequences in life, have nothing to do with God’s love for us …
Or His opinion of us.
You will always be the apple of His eye and the prize set before Him. YOU are His rich and glorious inheritance. There is nothing you can do that will ever make Him love you less or think less of you.
He will always love you right where you are.
He knows our frame. He knows that no matter how hard we try, there will always be areas where we fail and fall short. There will always be areas where it feels like even our very best isn’t good enough. And when that is the case, we usually accomplish a whole lot more by simply letting go. By being with Him. By resting in His presence. By abiding in Him. And by allowing His spirit to flow out of us and into the situations around us.
So do that. Let go. Let go of your ideas of success. Let go of your ideas even of faithfulness and excellence. Instead, learn from Him. If you’re worn out and weary from trying so hard, hear Him calling out to you:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Let go of performance ….
And you will find rest for your soul.
Here is the podcast link for this week’s devotional: Monday Morning Musings – Letting Go of Performance
And the SoundCloud Link:
5 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musings: Letting Go of Performance”
“He’s not your employer barking orders at you, He is your Father.”
Amen, that’s a word from God! What you’re sharing is sooooo important. Learning to work from HIS performance, not ours. So counter-intuitive to the world we live in, as you pointed out.
There’s seems to be too much emphasis in the body of Christ on being God’s servant instead of His son/daughter. But Jesus called us friends (John 15:15). We are God’s sons and daughters who serve mankind.
I will tick the “exceptional” box on this one (because you’ve let the Exceptional One work through you brilliantly!) 🙂 Blessings.
“We are God’s sons and daughters who serve mankind.” Yes! That is a great and simple way of looking at it! Such an important distinction. So often we start by trying to “surrender” and “obey” without ever really understanding the reality of our identity, If we truly got who we already are in Him, I think we would start to look a lot more like the One who is the servant of all 🙂 Blessings to you Mel!
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Amen to that! Identity comes first, then serving out of that identity.
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Cindy, I love this. It took a long time for me to realize the Lord is not my taskmaster. He says His yoke is easy, when we come to Him and learn from Him. Seems like it’s the overflow of relationship and time spent with Him that produces the fruit He desires. Thanks fo sharing!
Amen, That IS it, Glenda … the overflow of an abiding relationship. Such a wonderful truth to rest in 🙂 Always so good to hear from you! Blessings and hugs to you~