Freedom From Performing: Grace In An Applause Driven World
Let Go Of Being Perfect
Do not dwell upon your inner feelings…
Just do this: Bring your soul to the Great Physician – exactly as you are,
Even and especially at your worst moments…
For it is in such moments that you will most readily sense His healing presence.
Teresa of Avila
Growing up, I felt a lot of pressure to bring God my best, but my best felt difficult to measure. How could I know for sure if I had brought God my best? I couldn’t. So, I set higher goals for myself. Whenever my performance wasn’t perfect, I felt like a failure. Perfectionism followed me into adulthood. In Freedom From Performing, I wrote that though at times perfectionism served me well, more often than not, it did me more harm than good. The question that haunted me most was this: When I get to heaven, will God say “well done”?
I am guessing that many of you can relate to me in the realm of perfectionism. Every time you do a job, you strive for perfection. While it may earn you applause from others for a job well done, it may be getting in the way of your spiritual walk. Jesus told a story that helps performers understand that His standard is not perfection but faithfulness.
The Parable of the Talents
If you haven’t already, read Matthew 25:14-30. As you read the story, pay attention to your feelings. Do feelings of anxiety or anger rise up within you? I wonder if you, like me, have confused faithfulness with perfection.
The grace glimpse taught in this parable is:
God values faithfulness, not perfection.
How Do You Measure Faithfulness?
On pages 133 – 136, I list some principles that I have found helpful in measuring faithfulness:
- Faithfulness begins with the awareness that every gift and ability comes from God.
- Faithfulness calls us to continue, even when we are struggling with self-doubt.
- Faithfulness calls us to work for God, not the applause of others.
- Faithfulness has nothing to do with wanting to be “the best.”
- Faithfulness involves asking God to live His life through me.
For Next Week
- Read Chapter 7 in Freedom From Performing and complete the Daily Dose of Grace.
- Write this week’s Grace Glimpse on an index card and tape it to your mirror. Every time you look at it remind yourself that you do not have to perform perfectly to please God.
Group Discussion – Answer one or more of the following questions and leave a comment.
- In what areas of life have you struggled with perfectionism? How has your perfectionism helped you and how has it been detrimental?
- Looking back, where do you think your perfectionism began?
- How would you define faithfulness?
- What was your favorite part of this chapter, and how did God use that in your life?