Posted by: zephaniah317 | April 16, 2007

Performance

I shudder a little whenever I speak or hear the word.  It’s how I’ve been trained.  By my parents, society, even my church when I was growing up.  It’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I’m presented with a project at work, a song at church, a game of paintball or basketball or golf, a friendship, a relationship, you name it.  And it never has anything to do with the external circumstances surrounding me.  “Where’s the standard, how high is the bar raised?”  “How well do I have to do this?”  “Oh, it’ll be horrible if I screw this up.”

Now, there’s no voices in my head saying these things.  Just a flood of feelings and fears, followed by my brain kicking into warp 5 on how many different ways I can either (1) do well enough to survive or (2) finagle my way around this challenge without getting hurt or rejected.  And thus begins the chase, every morning from the opening of my eyes to their closing the next night as my head hits the pillow.  The frantic pulling along of deadlines and performances to gain acceptance, to be the ham, the rock star, the sickening “moral” person that people equate with a “Christian”, the life of the party, be a person that I’m not.  Oh, how I fight it, the dull, numbing pain in my chest that never seems to ebb.  To be able to say with boldness, “the world can go on without me today, I’m staying right here.”, and mean it.  To even be able to write this blog without thinking about what my closest friends (or even acquaintances) will say about it.  To do these things because I love doing them, not because I’m afraid what’ll happen if I don’t.

Ah, the “high performance, low nurture environment” of my childhood.  What it means is, “you’re not good enough, unless you do this or this well”.  Piano.  School.  Church.  Social etiquette (YUCK!).  And I thought it was normal.  I thought we had the most normal family in the world.  Little did I know it was all a plan, an assault on my heart from the git-go, carefully orchestrated by the same person/being that carried out the same plan on my parents before me, and possibly even on theirs.  And they never even knew he was there.  They just assumed that life was like this.  Heck, it’s what good Catholics and Methodists and countless other churchgoers hear in one form or another every Sunday morning.  And yet, in a lot of cases, we don’t even treat our children like this.  Why would God treat us so?  The enemy has done his job well.

Loving someone just as they are.  There’s the ticket.  It’s what God does every morning when I wake.  Right where I’m at.  If I never sing or play another note well, or lose my job, or can’t figure out relationships, or never love another person, or never love myself, He’s just fine with me right where I am.  It’s His desire for me to be the person He created me to be.  It’s not His goalHis well-being doesn’t depend on mine.  Thank God.  Now, if I could only get close enough…quiet enough…to hear that.  To know that.  Really know it.  It happens.  From time to time.  It happens.  When I’m patient.  The constant re-programming by His Holy Spirit makes further progress in the Matrix.  I stop being “cool” long enough to be real.  And vulnerable.  And peace flows…

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Responses

  1. Good post. It took me years to get over trying to be “approved of” by people and by God and by society. I can’t swear I’m completely past it, but it doesn’t send me to despair like it used to. Vulnerable…that’s the clincher. Here’s my journey if you’re interested:

    http://tastethesea.wordpress.com/2007/04/14/ambition/

  2. Thanks for displaying that vulnerability through a step of faith that pointed right to Him…this was an encouraging read & you expressed yourself well.
    “Loving someone just as they are. There’s the ticket. It’s what God does every morning when I wake. Right where I’m at.” Our Father knew I needed to hear that from Him today.

  3. I’m just glad I could be an encouragement. Thanks. I’m finding this vulnerability is healing me in many ways.

  4. […] the last three eventful days.  God has revealed much to me about my condition, why I engage in the chase every morning, noon, and night, why I need to be re-programmed.  Unbeknownst to me, my Father who […]

  5. […] “The chase” that I’ve so often spoken of has been in high gear lately.  Life is full.  I’d really like to take a vacation, but I don’t have a lot of hours saved up at work as a result of the Excellent Adventure in February.  I’m tired.  Emotionally.  The chase is taking a toll.  […]


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