Many committed followers of Jesus are struggling with extremely full schedules and a clutter of “good” things that are mounting. The ability to focus and gain steam in particular areas is a challenge. We know the value of operating out of an overflow instead of a deficit. The desire to connect deeply with the Lord is still there, but amidst the busyness, it can be harder to concentrate because of the underlying pressure to “perform.” Whether it’s ministering to someone, meeting a need, or “getting a word”, we can be driven to keep up with the many voices speaking about what to do and how to do it. Out of our desire to make a difference in the world and our need for significance, we get caught in a trap without realizing it. We begin to wonder if we’re doing things right – if we’re making a difference. We start to compare ourselves with one another and always fall short. Our compulsion to keep up is draining us of our grace and peace of mind.
I recently asked the Lord how to manage my own struggle with this and the first thing He said was to STOP and LISTEN. The reminder of quieting my soul was needed in order to hear a Rhema word He had for me and so many others who are battling with self-doubt and a fear of missing something.
“I am working in and through you, not because of your PERFORMANCE but because of my COVENANT. I have called you, set you apart for my purposes. I will be faithful to that. Even when you are distracted or get sidetracked, my purposes still stand because I have spoken my Word and it shall come to pass. Stop looking at how you perform. I am not grading you. Simply do that which I have spoken and be faithful to complete what you started. I will use you for my glory because of my covenant promise, not because of your performance. IT’S MY WORD THAT IS PERFORMING, NOT YOU, “…for I am watching over my word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:12)
This is an amazing promise! Our success is due to HIS working in us – not our working FOR Him. The Prophet of all prophets has spoken His word over us and He is passionate about seeing that word fulfilled. When we try to make things happen or start getting ahead of His Word, we only find confusion, chaos, and restlessness. There is no peace when we get outside of the boundaries of grace He has established for us.
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance (Psalm 16:5-6, NIV).
As a trained musician, my understanding of performance is deeply engrained. It always starts with good intentions of “doing my best” and yet so easily turns into a competition, not only with others, but with myself. The Religious Spirit gets attached to it, and before you know it, I’m competing with myself to achieve a self-imposed standard that will be impossible to reach.
There’s a difference between obedience and performance. Obedience is simply doing that which He has told us to say or do. Performance is going beyond what He has spoken in order to get something we think we need. The lie is that if we do “more”, HE will “do more.” We have bought into an ungodly belief that says the harder we work and the more we produce, the further and higher we will go. However, in the kingdom, it’s not how fast we run or how high we climb, rather it’s how committed we stay to His blueprint uniquely designed for us. Comparison kills us. It causes us to get in someone else’s lane and miss our unique path and purpose.
He has called each one of us. He has spoken over each one us. From the time we said “Yes” to Him, He made a covenant promise to fulfill His purposes in us and finish what He started. It’s not up to us to make anything happen. We are not performing for anyone. We simply need to stay in a place of OBEDIENCE, REST and His MEASURED GRACE in every season. We don’t have to perform or try to keep up with anyone. His supernatural grace will bear incredible fruit in our lives and ministries when we simply let His Word do the work.
For those who are seeking that place of rest and grace to fulfill your call and assignment, stop performing and trying to keep up. Stop and listen to His voice and stay on your own path. Even if He tells you to walk when everyone else is running, you will still win the race. It’s His covenant promise to you.