Pressure To Perform
Have you ever felt pressure to perform?
I’m sure you have
But what if that pressure to perform has become a lifestyle?
What if your identity, value and worth are wrapped up in how well you perform?
Well, you’re not the only one
I struggle with that pressure to perform too
By the time my performance brain has put on its tap shoes and zipped up the back of its pink, sparkly catsuit.
I realise it’s too late
When you have a performance based mindset you have to perform
In any situation
I have to be the funniest one
I have to be the happiest one
I have to be the perfect one
People NEED to like me!
Else I feel the sting of their rejection
So I need to:
Perform, perform, perform
Often I 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?
So I need to:
Read my Bible more
Use a better devotional App on my phone
Oh my goodness!
I haven’t done steps 1,2,3,4,5
That means God is mad at me!
Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
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 struggle
The struggle to find my self-worth
The struggle to stop searching for my identity in the good or bad things I do
I know I need to stop performing and trust God more
But it’s a struggle
I can pin-point exactly how my performance based mindset started
I was about 5 years old and I suffered badly with nightmares.
Every morning when I woke up, I had wet my bed
Which didn’t stop until I turned 19 years old
I know. Right?!
Things like that are painful, but we emerge stronger and better for it
Like I said before, nobody has a perfect life
Anyways, back to when I was 5 years old…
So, my mum tried to help by making a ‘star chart’
The idea was that if I had a dry night, then I would get a gold star sticker
3 in a row and the promise of a treat
Only that didn’t happen
I struggled to even get 1 gold star, let alone 3
My older sister had her name on the ‘star chart’ too, but she didn’t have issues with nightmares and bedwetting.
So my sister gained lots of shiny gold stars next to her name
Enter my pressure to perform
Which became a performance based mindset
Over the years I have been driven by a performance/perfectionism force that’s hard to come away from when your inner self tells you it works
When I get applauded for my ‘performance’ in whatever area of life I use it
It feels good when people except you
When you feel loved and wanted
But 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 find that you’ve wrapped your identity around how you perform or how perfect you try to be
Which is great while you’re tap dancing your little booty off
But when God drags you off that stage and shows you what damage your pressure to perform has done
That your relationship between you and God doesn’t feel like a child and father
More like, slave and master
Then it’s not fun anymore
Last year God completely stripped me of everything I had put my identity into
If it was anything I’d put my value or worth in, God took it away
And it stung
Like a Band-Aid being ripped off your skin
All your left with is the scar and a red mark
For a few months I was angry and frustrated
Why would God do that to me?
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
And I’m glad
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
My identity is in Him