Day 3: Performance Pressure - How to Move from Coping to Hoping
Day 3: Performance Pressure
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I sat on the couch in the middle of the Bible study I was supposed to be leading, leaned my forehead into my hands and tried to stop my tears from falling. How embarrassing. How was I going to lead this group in any way? My anxiety and depression were at an all-time high and as much as I tried to push past it, it was no longer possible. I felt empty and trying to serve anyone else felt like I was trying to wring out a rock, a pointless activity.
During long seasons of frustration, if we are honest, we get desperate for solutions. We want to know what it is God wants from us so we can hurry up and do it and maybe get ourselves out of there. But often, our inability to find relief turns into negative thoughts constantly churning in our minds about what an unfaithful person we are. We shame ourselves for not being the capable individuals we have always considered ourselves to be. Our strategy during these frustrating times is to try harder. We wonder if maybe the solution to our struggling season is to pray more, serve more, or give more of ourselves. We reason that if we are more involved and get enough activities on our schedule, perhaps we can outrun what God is calling us to face.
Underneath all this trying is the fear that God only loves us for what we can do for him. I know that was my fear. What was I worth to God if I was just a huge hot mess broken into a million pieces on the floor? That was not who I wanted to be; I wanted to continue to be the one people could count on, the one I could count on.
But God doesn’t want us to try to perform for his acceptance or his love. He is not more in love with the future, more holy version of ourselves. He loves us as we are right now, perfectly. Let that sink in for a minute. Yes, we want to serve God, but he doesn’t love us because we serve him; he loves us because we are his children.
Maybe we are tired of trying because God wants us to recognize we don’t need to keep trying. Instead of clamoring to prove our love for him through service, he wants us, for a time, to simply sit at his feet and receive from him. You are worth so much more than what you do for God.
Lord, you know I love you and I want to serve you with all I have. But in this season, I feel so empty and like I don’t have much to give. Please help me be still and rest at your feet. Help me receive your unconditional love in this season, not for who I think I should be, but for who I am. Help me, Lord, to surrender to stillness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.