Perform No More

“What are they going to think of me? What if I mess it up? I can’t do it as well as she can. I don’t have his knowledge and experience, why even try?” 

There’s a sneak peak into my brain throughout my first year in full-time vocational ministry. Well, let’s get serious. This has been going on for most of my life but there now seems to be a spotlight on it. The Lord has brought all sorts of fun stuff to the surface for me to deal with; the most prominent being my battle with performance. These are just a few of the lies the devil has been working overtime on to convince me of. I’m continually analyzing my perceived opinions of those around me and comparing myself with others.

And I’m so stinking tired of it.

I’m constantly running my actions through the filter of wanting the approval of others, rather than seeking to please Who really counts, my savior Jesus Christ. My wonderful husband continues you to remind me that I only have an audience of One. And the beauty of that audience member being God? I’m already seen as perfect in His eyes because I’ve accepted the precious gift of his Son’s death on the cross for my sins.

Matthew 25 has spoken great truth and conviction to my heart over the past few months. It is in essence a call to Godly stewardship. To sum this passage up, a master entrusts some of his wealth to three of his servants, giving one, two and five talents, each according to his ability. For a frame of reference, one talent was worth about 20 years of a day laborer’s wage. The men who had been given two and five talents put their money to work and doubled what their master had given them. But the man with one talent buried his master’s money in the ground.

The master came back quite some time later, asking for an account of what they had done with the talents. For the men with two and five talents, the master replied Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.”

The last man had a misperception of his master, which led to laziness and poor stewardship. In anger, the master rebuked him for this and took the one talent the man had and gave it to the man with five.

You know what I love about this parable? The master didn’t ask the man with two talents why he didn’t accomplish what the man with five did. He told them both, well done, measuring their individual stewardship of what had been entrusted to them. It was a test of their faithfulness in using their gifts.

As Christians, we are all a part of one body; a body that requires many different parts. Despite my incredibly sinful and helpless nature, I serve a God who is made strong through my weakness, who promises that His grace is sufficient for me. I no longer have to strive to “do better” on my own; I’m simply to rest in His presence and allow the Holy Spirit to work through me.

When the Lord calls me to do something for His Kingdom, I don’t want to pull a Moses and ask to Him to send someone else. Nor do I want to “bury” what God’s entrusted to me, never doing anything with it. I want to say “Here am I, Lord send me.”

I’m still in the middle of this crazy journey, trying to figure out moment by moment what it looks like to trust in our Father, to seek His approval only and learning to lay my fears and failures at the foot of the cross. I want to boast in my weaknesses as Paul did, so that Christ is made great, not Niki. 

Do you wrestle with performing at all? Maybe for a spouse? A boss? Longing for the approval of others who are just as broken as we are?

Will you join me on this journey of discovering who we are in Christ, regardless of what this world tells us?