presence over performance

confession – I am a “doer.”

Image by: Katie Faith Photography
Image by: Katie Faith Photography

Starting in high school, being in a smaller school district, you didn’t just get to pick one sport to ‘major’ in – you played them all, while at the same time acting in ‘Steel Magnolias,’ editing a yearbook, and pledging my allegiance to an A Honor roll every six weeks. But in the midst of all the ‘things I did’, what I remember more than anything is that I never stopped. I just kept going.

And then moving into junior college and university years – the busyness and the need to go and do didn’t decrease, it only intensified. Added hours, relationships and jobs only increased this ‘doer’ mentality. And now, at 27 I have found I still don’t stop – until I have to. 

The ‘have to’ moments are not my favorite – and God knows this about me. He knows that His daughter could go and do and work all day long, but the minute I’m forced to stop and sit, well – I throw a big ‘ol toddler kind of fit. I wonder, why, how, when, and a thousand other over-analytical questions. I try and figure IT out before I even know what the heck IT is. Oh geez, I hope someone is relating on the other side of this screen, because this girl on this side feels like a HAWT mess right about now. Over the years, I have ‘sat’ down a little quicker with each new lesson, yet it is still so hard for me to stop. And until today, I never really could put my finger on why.

I’ve been living to perform rather than living in His presence.

“Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.” Colossians 3:3-4 (MSG) 

‘Be content with obscurity…’

‘Be content….with obscurity…”

Did you get that? Yeah, I know it took me a few minutes (more like over a hour) to really sit and ponder what this was saying. So I did, in that hour, what every super, holy, Jesus-lover does – I Googled the definition of obscurity.

obscurity;the state of being unknown, inconspicuous, or unimportant; the quality of being difficult to understand.

Unknown. Unimportant. Difficult to Understand.

Our world is laced with the drive to be the OPPOSITE of all of these, do you see that? In an instant, God downloaded such truth and this one part of scripture shed light on an area of my heart that was utterly and completely debilitated.

Because, it’s true. Everyday I pray that I would be more ‘like Christ…’ however, the very things I was running after was anything but like Him.

“God, I just want to be known by someone.”

“God, why don’t I feel valued anywhere I go – at whatever workspace or in my family or in my friend group…I feel like the oddball out.” 

“God, why don’t they just get that I am different? I don’t want to lead or manage that way…why can’t they understand me?”

You following me? We do whatever we can to ‘perform‘ for either ourselves, the opposite sex, our friends, our families, our jobs, our ‘callings,’ and even shockingly – to God. We are trying to perform our way into acceptance, when God’s answer has never been based in performance – yet His presence and HIS acceptance.

We are so busy chasing success and approval via a ‘how much can I do, change, say, become, love, give, support‘ mentality – yet, we are not at all rooted in the fact that none of those things matter when it comes to becoming like Christ.

Be content being unknown. 

Be content being unimportant. 

Be content being difficult to understand. 

For a season I literally hated the word content. I hated how often it was thrown around how no matter how old I got, there was a level of contentment that God was asking of me that I honestly was too selfish to surrender.

No, God – I don’t want to be content here. Here sucks.

And then sweetly, yet assertively God jumps in and throws truth laced in love. “Here is where you will learn to go there. Here is where I am. Here is where you are, and you can’t go there without getting passed here. So here may suck, but here is where you are – so what are you going to do with it?”

Today I applied for job after job, scanned through LinkedIn more and wrote even more cover letters all while asking God, ‘why, how, when…WHAT HECK DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?’

(SIDENOTE: Though I love Jesus oh so much I am forever thankful that with Him, I can be honest about my feelings. He already knows them anyways, but I think we (the church) has become obsessed by who can say the most “Christianesed” things, that in turn we try to play this game with our Father. We never really express our truest emotions to the One who has the power to heal, provide, restore, and revive every thing we could ever deal with because we are so concerned with saying the ‘right’ things that we end up never really moving past anything. So, yes – even sometimes I curse and complain, but like David – eventually I find my way back to remembering His character and praising His name despite what I feel. Try it – I dare you.)

He then told me to close Microsoft Word and LinkedIn and open up His Words.

“Spend some time with me…”

And instantly He took me to Colossians 3 and shined the light on my heart and gave me another piece to the puzzle of this season. A few weeks ago He showed me how I had a fear of commitment. A few days ago he showed me how my need to ‘be enough’ for everyone in my life had depleted me in so many areas of my life. And today He showed me that my fear of commitment, and my need to ‘be enough,’ all stemmed from the realization that I long to perform more than I do to sit in His presence. 

It’s all for our good, friends – do you get that? Though this truth was so painful and followed by repentance and forgiveness, my heart is a little lighter now. Relationships that I have fought so hard to ‘be enough’ to fix them, I now have peace to surrender them. A job that I held at such high regard and people there that I long so much to just have loved and served a little longer (just to perform), I now have released and feel myself already moving forward. And the fear of commitment I feel is met with a bit of love and understanding from my perfect Father who knows this one will take some time – and that’s okay. Because now I know what I need isn’t to try to fight to figure it out, but more so – to sit and let Him fight for me.

I don’t know what you are going through in this season of your life, but I pray that as you read these words – God shined a light on areas of your heart that might need a little more of His presence, and a little less of your performance.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

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One thought on “presence over performance

  1. Yes! Who created the ” armor of God” anyway! God stays ready to fight our battles…..we just have to let him! I love you sweetheart!

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