Like me, many believers have spent years in performance, trying to earn the love God has freely given them. They have become like the older brother. Because this mindset is often learned in childhood, it can be difficult for us to identify what is really going on in our hearts.

Our actions look great, but beneath the surface, our wounds are festering.

I had to come to the end of myself before I was willing to really look deeply at why I was acting the way I was. Through my healing process, I discovered some of the predominate symptoms of the performance mindset. Recognizing them can help us avoid wandering from our Father’s heart.


In His story, Jesus tells us that the older brother was in the field, away from home. Although the Scripture does not explicitly say it, the picture we get is of a workaholic. This is confirmed by the son’s boasting about how hard he has worked for the father.

We know we have fallen into the trap of performing when we find ourselves striving or laboring in ministry activities and at work without proper boundaries or rest. When we get to the point where we are consumed by these activities, we have probably wandered into the fields of performance.


The older brother had also isolated himself from the family by working so hard in the fields. When he came to the house, he had to ask a servant what was going on. But by that time, he was already in a huff. There he was, working hard out in the field while other people were in the house feasting, dancing, and having a good time.

Didn’t they know there was work to be done? Didn’t they know how unfair it was for him to be doing the father’s work all by himself while they were in the house celebrating? Rather than go inside and investigate, he called for a servant to explain the situation.

In so doing, he chose to further withdraw himself. A sad byproduct of performance orientation is that we often end up isolating ourselves from the body of Christ. We frequently become perfectionists and convince ourselves that we are the only ones who can really perform a particular task well.

We set out to do things by ourselves, looking at the faults and shortcomings of others we deem unable to perform as well as we can. This leads to an arrogant and short-tempered attitude that causes us to cut ourselves off from others.

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.

Be blessed, my friends.

Thanking Him for you,