The Prison of Performance

performance

Stage – a raised floor or platform, typically in a theater, on which actors, entertainers, or speakers perform.

Perform – present (a form of entertainment) to an audience.

One of my favorite field trips in school was when we visited the local theater.  I loved watching performances! I loved how the actors really owned the personality of the character they played. They would make you fall in love (or hate) their character.  My eyes would stay locked on the story and it gave me great delight to watch the story unfold.  At the end there would be a roar of applause and if it was THAT good, there would even be a standing ovation.  But then it was over.

I saw the outward show. The perfected result of much practice. The performance was for me and I felt very happy and entertained.

The problem with performance is that the gratification doesn’t last forever.  The applause and standing ovation only last a couple of minutes and then it’s over.

If you’re simply seeking the applause you’ll constantly be seeking the applause. It takes you high and then it drops you low.

This has been an ‘interesting’ season to say the least. I honestly don’t even have words to make sense out of all that’s going on in my heart.  I believe the lack of words is due to the fact that God wants me to treasure this season with my heart and not with my mouth.

From the outside people (who mean well) give me this downcast face and offer their prayers as if what I’m going through is sad or hopeless. I know they mean well so I’m not holding that against anyone. There are some BIG things that have happened but those are not the markers of this season.  The markers, the BIG DEAL MOMENTS, are what God is doing in my heart during this season.

The biggest weight lifted so far – hanging up my character suit and surrendering the performance.

When you’re not chasing the approval and applause of humans you experience freedom.

When you don’t always get it right – but instead of not getting it right or being locked up in fear because you may not get it right, you just GO, BE, DO … and trust that if you get it wrong, God will lead you back, is freeing!

There was a sweet God moment yesterday where I felt God wanted to use me and I spoke to The Holy Spirit and said, “Oh, Lord.  Let me not get in the way of what you want to do here.” and His response was, “Oh!  You’ll get in the way. But don’t worry, I won’t let you stay there long.”  = FREEDOM.

We’re going to get in the way.  We’re going to be selfish.  We’re going to have our own agendas.  Whether we mean to or not – we’re just simply bent that way, but to not fear getting in the way is freeing.  To surrender and trust that God will go before me and even clean up behind me sets my soul free.

I love how the MSG version of Romans 7: 17-25 puts it:

17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

My whole life as a Christ follower has left me chasing the things of God rather than just chasing God alone. When we chase after the things of God those things become our idols.  We manufacture godly things and we do a lot of good stuff but we’re left tired and empty and no good for the purposes God has actually set up for us.

I don’t know about you – but if God has more, I don’t want less.  I don’t want my plans or dreams anymore.  I want His. By continuously striving for my own is saying that God’s plan isn’t as good as mine.  No – His plan is better, I just have to give up control in order to experience the fullness of His plan.  Which leaves me with one question from The Lord, “Do you trust Me?” … which leaves me with two options for an answer –  yes or no.  I’m choosing yes.  What about you?

So here’s to tossing off the cloak of performance and living life abundantly the way Jesus intended when he said, “It is finished.”

**Big inhale, big exhale** … so this is what living feels like!

Has anyone else experienced the prison of performance?  I’d love to hear from you.

Love to you!

April

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