When we adopt a performance-based mindset, we welcome shame and fear into our lives. Shame tells us something is wrong with us. Fear tells us we will be rejected, we don’t belong, and we won’t measure up. The result is control. Without realizing it, we begin to overcompensate by trying to exert control. Control tells us to strive to win the approval of others. Then we will feel better about ourselves, be accepted, and fill our love void. But it is a lie, a very futile and exhausting lie.
Like many of us, I spent years striving for love and approval because of this mindset. When I first met Christ in my late twenties, I had been wandering in the fields of independence for years, determined to do it my way. When I finally came home to God, instead of getting to know the heart of my extravagant Father, I went directly into the fields of performance and began searching for something I already had access to.
Well-meaning friends and church members saw my enthusiasm and energy for serving the Lord. They quickly began giving me advice about things to do and activities to get involved in. Being young in the Lord and perhaps a little naïve, I thought that was what a new Christian was supposed to do. So, for the first few years of my Christian life I continued to busy myself in one ministry activity after another. What I did not realize was that I had a lot of unhealed pain in my heart. My default mode, when I had lived in independence, was to cope with my pain through busyness, serving, and performing for significance.
As long as I was on the go, I could keep a lid on my heart issues, and no one would know how miserable I really was. This mindset transferred into my life with God, and instead of allowing Him to heal my heart, I self-medicated the pain through good Christian service.
This is an excerpt from my new book Loved Like Jesus.
I wrote it because I want you to experience the deep love that your heavenly Father has for you. Living from this reality as a much loved son or daughter, you can rest in a confident connection with Him and experience abundant living and lasting freedom.
Order my book today for yourself and an extra copy for a friend, your pastor and/or your small group.