For this week’s Worship Wednesday, special guest Martha Roberson shares how God is challenging her to escape the pull of performance.
The Pull of Performance
“I have to do it all.”
“If I don’t take care of this, everything will fall apart.”
“There’s just so much to do, and I’m the only one who can do it.”
How many times have we thought these things? Or maybe even actually said them out loud?
It’s easy to believe one of the most detrimental lies the enemy tells us: that busyness equals success. That if we’re not doing all the things we’re not worth anything. Or that there’s absolutely no one else that can do what we do and if we tried to let them or if we weren’t there for some reason the world as we know it would cease to exist.
The hard truth is none of us can untrouble our hearts. None of us can hold the future. None of us can produce enough to meet our own standards. But the good news is that we were never created to do those things in the first place. In Christ we have been delivered not only from sin and death but also from striving, from the disappointment of not measuring up. We have been rescued from fear and dread of the “what if”…what if I lay it all down, all the producing and performing? When we don’t call the shots and determine the outcome, then we are free to pursue peace. The peace of God is not dependent on the absence of trouble, but on the presence of His Spirit.
The peace of God is not dependent on the absence of trouble, but on the presence of his Spirit.
If we feel the God-given stirring, the discontentment with how busy and run-ragged we are, we must be quiet. We must rest and still our rushing. Or we will miss His voice. In Exodus 18 Moses has been wearing all the hats. He’s tired and run down and can’t sustain the pace of being all things to all people. His father-in-law, Jethro, has some advice to give him. Jethro says, in verse 18, “You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” He knew Moses would soon burn out and be ineffective in his duties as Israel’s leader. Jethro’s suggestion here is to share the load, but other times God calls us to come away from the work completely and refocus.
God Commands Us To Rest
Rest is a command (Exodus 20:10). God knows that without it we are vulnerable, tired, and worn down and unable to deflect the attack of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16). This thief wants nothing more than to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), and he often does that subtly. Unrest sneaks up on me. For a while everything is fine, and I even feel pretty proud of how I’m managing it all, but slowly I begin to feel the weight.
I recently read a story about a sheep in Australia that hadn’t been sheared in five years, to his obvious detriment. All of that wool put the animal at risk for overheating and skin disease and parasites, not to mention discomfort, and its ability to graze or evade predators is impeded. Two rounds of shearing and 89 pounds of wool later, the sheep was free. I am much the same. My unrest, like the wool of that sheep, builds up and eventually impedes the very work and service to which the Lord has called me. Only when I am “shorn” of the weight in rest can I truly be free to follow Him, grow in my faith, and love others well. I am so thankful that I don’t have to hold it all together in my own strength.
I don’t have to hold it all together in my own strength.
The beauty in all of this is that I am only responsible for one thing: the attitude and obedience of stilling my heart, of placing myself in his hand. He does the rest. I serve an all-sufficient God who calls me to service and also makes allowance for my recovery from it. A very good God who has delivered and will continue to deliver me from my own striving and endows me with a choice of how to spend this one precious life. It is up to me to listen, to still my heart and accept the refreshing. Only then do I find true victory, walking in present light and trusting in future grace.
by Martha Roberson
Listen to “Be at Rest” by Ashley Rush and pray about how God might be calling you to step away from the pull of performance.