Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Perform. Perform. Perform.

I'm a performer.  Well, at least I've been trained that way.  As a musician, singer, former music teacher, performing arts has been something I've been immersed in since I began taking piano in the 2nd grade.  "Work on this.  Do it again.  That's not good enough."   All things that I've heard over and over again.  It's hard to separate all of that from your spiritual life when you've heard it enough. 

I’ve been reading “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young over the last several weeks and yesterday’s reading was written just for me.  Because of some conversations I had over the weekend at a retreat, I know that I’m not alone in this.  

Here are her words written from Jesus' perspective...

I LOVE YOU regardless of how well you are performing.  Sometimes you feel uneasy, wondering if you are doing enough to be worthy of My Love.  No matter how exemplary your behavior, the answer to that question will always be no.  Your performance and My Love are totally different issues, which you need to sort out.  I Love you with an everlasting Love that flows out from eternity without limits or conditions.  I have clothed you in My robe of righteousness, and this is an eternal transaction:  Nothing and no one can reverse it.  Therefore, your accomplishment as a Christian has no bearing on My Love for you.  Even your ability to assess how well you are doing on a given day is flawed.  Your limited human perspective and the condition of your body, with its mercurial variations, distort your evaluations.

Bring your performance anxiety to Me, and receive in its place My unfailing Love.  Try to stay conscious of My loving Presence with you in all that you do, and I will direct your steps.    
(Jeremiah 31:3; Isaiah 61:10; Psalm 31:16; Psalm 107:8)

I need to be confronted so much when it comes to my performance-driven anxiety.  I struggle with thinking I can somehow earn my way to a relationship with God.  I know that is impossible Biblically and that I understand it in my brain, yet, somehow it creeps into my everyday living.  I also begin believing my “good behavior” earns me other things that ultimately lead to self-righteous and judgmental behaviors and attitudes.  Like I have somehow earned the right to judge others because I've been "good" about something.  It's sick, I know.  

I need to remember that regardless of how good I may think I am—I WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH.  Now, I don't say that because I think I'm going to have to keep striving and straining to reach the goal.  I say that because I need to be ok with the cold hard fact that I cannot possibly do anything that will earn the love of my Savior.  I need to embrace the fact that my performance and His love have nothing to do with each other.  You love me with an everlasting love—one that is not earned by conditions or merit or being good at anything.  

Why is that so difficult to comprehend and accept sometimes?

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head alike a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.   Isaiah 61:10 

Jesus, thank you for your work on the cross.  Thank you for not requiring me to earn my salvation.  I know that I would never be able to do enough good to get there.  Thank you for your gentle reminders that I do not have to work for your love.  Lead me on this journey as I learn to love you more.  Amen.  



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