Pressure To Perform
Have you ever felt pressure to perform? Is your identity, value and worth wrapped up in how well you perform? Well, you’re not the only one. I once struggled with the pressure to perform too. And now the Christmas season is here, the expectations to perform go #nextlevel
By the time your performance brain has put on the tap shoes and zipped up the back of that gorgeous pink, sparkly catsuit, you realise it’s already too late. When you have a performance-based mindset you have to perform because it tells you that you have to be the funniest one, the prettiest one, the most talented one in a room so people like you. Often, I would perform before God in my daily walk with Him.“Oh, look, God. Look at all this great stuff I’m doing – for you!”
Maybe God has forgotten about the promises He gave me years ago? Maybe I didn’t do something right and so He’s found somebody else to fulfil that calling? What if I go to church more, pray more, read my Bible more, fast more, then maybe He’ll love me more? Don’t get me wrong, I love performing, drama, the Arts etc. That’s good performing because you can bring ideas to life in the swirl of creativity. But when your performance fills a void that you so desperately need, that’s a problem. A performance-based mindset is looking for validation in order to find self-worth.
I struggled for years searching for my identity in performing so people would like me more. I was driven by a performance/perfectionism force that’s hard to come away from when your inner self tells you performance makes people like you. Of course, it feels good when people except you, and there is nothing wrong in that. However, when you hinge your worth and value on performing so people will accept you, it’s not good.
The pressure to perform becomes a hard taskmaster and it needs a willing slave to do its bidding. And because the drug of choice is so addictive, you’ll find that you’ve wrapped your identity around how you perform or how perfect you can be.
But when God decides to drag you off stage (metaphorically speaking) and shows you what damage your performance has done to your inner self and to the relationship between you and Him. It no longer feels like a child/father relationship. More like a slave and master.
A couple of years ago God completely stripped me of everything I had put my identity into. If I’d put my value or worth in something that wasn’t from Him, God took it away. For a few months, I was angry and frustrated but over time I realised that it was for my own good.
God did what any loving father would do, He rescued me from the treadmill of a performance-based mindset and the pressure to perform. I now understand that God doesn’t want a performance-based relationship with Him, or with anyone else for that matter. I don’t have to ‘perform’ to feel validated anymore because I realised that my identity is in Him, and Him alone, not on whether other people liked/accepted me or not.
So, this Christmas season expectations to “perform” will be high. Don’t fall into the trap and get your tinsel in a tangle if your house doesn’t look Instagram worthy, or your outfit isn’t cute enough to take a selfie in or your Christmas lunch doesn’t look like something Jamie Oliver would rustle up. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that we celebrate this Christmas with genuine friends and family who love us for who we are and to remember that Jesus loves us without having all that pressure to perform.