Saturday, July 11, 2009

Performance Faith...

Life keeps going, even when you are trying to slow it down to get things done, doesn't it?

I mean, last week I was working hard on getting my talks ready, so I can start to really practice them and get "off the paper" with them more.

In the meantime the laundry piled up, the mail stacked on the table, the dishes in the sink, the kids needing to eat (my hubby too), errands needing to be run....

And then God.
Oh yeah... Him.

God was in the midst of all of it answering prayers, helping me through, and showing me some new things.

As I sat at my friend's house, in a "writing retreat" essentially, I realized both talks were WAY too long. I cut and cut, finally getting my teaching talk right around 5 minutes.

Then I looked at my testimony. Hmm. This one was not so good. The testimony was fine, but after experiencing how quickly time flew by on the other one, I knew that I needed to cut a lot of what I had.

I looked at the poem I had written over a year ago, that I wanted to include. Because it really shows the heart changes that God was doing, and the visions He gave me over the last year. But after reading it, and timing it, by itself the poem took 2 minutes to read. My testimony has to be at 3 minutes.

So, unfortunately the poem had to go. As I looked at the rest of my testimony, I realized that nothing worked... except for the opening.

I got up in frustration and paced the living room. Finally I sat down in Cindy's "prayer chair," and just cried out to God.... I can't DO this!

I didn't know what to write, what to keep, what to throw out... and asked God to show me.

Guess what?
He answers prayers.

Did you know that?

I was able to go back over to the computer, and looked at some ideas that Cindy had given me, and started to type.

Ten minutes or so later, and I had scrapped the whole talk. Except for the opening sentence. When I timed it... it was just around 3 minutes.

Surprise, surprise, surprise (imagine Gomer saying that!) :)

The next day, guess what? My whole teaching talk got scrapped, except for a part of the opening, and a part of the closing... and was re-written.

Lots of editing later, and I haven't even looked at them since Thursday. I figured that if I even opened their files, I would start wanting to edit. I am waiting on that till Monday.

So, two days of crazy writing.

In the middle of that, God showed me something else.

He showed me where my frustration lately with the kids has been coming from. He showed me what could be a problem with them for the next couple of weeks, and showed me what could become a problem as I wrote my talks.

He showed me the root of my frustration and honestly, anger, at the kids was perfection. Wanting perfection. Perfection would edit my talks to death, and brow beat my kids to the death of their sense of worth.

He showed me the root of my perfectionism was something deeper. Striving to do what was right and expected of me, made me feel that if I did something wrong, I was of less value. The disapproval was too much for me to even think of, especially to this very people pleasing person.

If I base my value on what I do, and try to be perfect at everything, I set myself up for failure. I will end up depressed, and with a give up attitude, because I can't be good at everything. I also set myself up for having a "works" based faith.

Performance faith.

I think that was what got me into the mess of the past few years. I just couldn't keep the perfect mask up any more.

The last thing I want to do is instill in my kids they aren't good enough unless they are doing exactly what mommy tells them to. I don't want to pass along the pattern of performance to them, so that they think all that matters is the outside picture of doing what is "right." Because that would be so wrong, and only last for as long as they could hold up that mask. But when they got tired, and the mask fell, it could be so devastating to them. I don't wish that on them.

God made it perfectly clear in my bible study this week, that I needed to not just deal with the outside anger and frustration alone... because that hasn't been working up to this point... but I needed to deal with the root of the issue.


If I don't deal with that, I am always going to be putting unrealistic demands on those closest to me.

So, in the middle of writing and praying and trying to figure out my talks, Jesus showed up.

He reminded me of what I have been writing about.

He loves me.
He loves me without condition.
He loves me not demanding perfection.
He loves me in and through my mess.
He loves me recklessly.
He loves me.

Maybe He will get that pounded through my thick skull, and lodge it deep into my heart.

Oh I pray He does.

I want to live based solely on His love. Then I can show it to my husband, my kids, my family, my friends. I want to be fully anchored in His love, so I can better love others.


Danielle said...

Girl, I love your honesty. God has been dealing with these issues in me as well... for the past few months. Espescially as we ended out the first year of homeschooling. What a ride that was.

Praise God that you are receptive! He just asks us to have a willing heart and believe that HE can help us, deliver us, and heal us. Amen and Amen.

I am so looking forward to hearing you talk. Just from the way you write, I [know] I'm going to love what you have to say.

Remember, we will always be a work in progress until the Master calls us home.;-)

Love in Christ,

Deb said...


We could be sisters when it comes to that perfection/performance thing.

This is a super-good post.

I hear your heart.

You're gonna rock at She Speaks.

Lelia Chealey said...

Beautiful Heather. You are going to love this conference!! I would encourage you to make copies of the poem because you'll be in groups and at the end of the conference give them a copy to take home. You get to know these gals pretty well plus you'll probably eat lunch & dinner w/ some of them.
You're going to do great. I've been thinking about you a lot lately.
Will be praying for you with the conference.
love ya,

Unknown said...

Yay! You did it! That was the part that I found the most difficult too...keeping it short enough! We just have so much to say, don't we? I hope you post both of your talks when you come back from SheSpeaks. You are going to have such a great time!

luv you!

Kimberly said...

I am so excited for you that you are getting to go to She Speaks! What an awesome opportunity!

And I so understand where you are coming from with the perfectionism and the performance issues. He is still working on my thick skull...working with love, thank goodness! I would have tired of me by now if I was Him! :)

Thanks for your sweet comment over at my place! Your comments have always been a blessing!

Praying for you as you go to the conference!
K :)

Jill Beran said...

Heather, I just read your comment on Lysa's blog and can relate. I am praying for you and all of us as the weekend approaches and satan trys to take over. Enjoy the day and keep looking up, Jill