So I really didn’t intend for this whole thing on performance to become a series but it just keeps weighing on my heart. I have to keep sharing; and so I will. If you haven’t read the first two posts on this subject, please check them out here and here.
The feedback has been great and it’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one who thinks keeping performance away from our identity can be a giant pain in the butt. There’s strength in numbers peeps.
Today I want to talk to you about a lie I believed for a very long time—one that was just exposed and dealt with recently. The truth that’s been planted in its place has been life changing for me; I think it will be for many of you as well. But first I want to tell you a story.
I was talking to a friend of mine about an issue I needed his professional help with when the conversation shifted to some things going on in his life. He told me about how he’s been spending a lot of time wondering what the next step was going to be for him—what God had in store for the next season. He explained that he had no idea what it could be and shared how he wasn’t serving at his church in the way he was. In fact, he wasn’t even going to that church anymore. Should he go back to what he was doing before or not? Should he fall back on what he knew in order to make ends meat or not? In a lot of ways, he felt lost.
But then he let me know about a group of men who’d contacted him to ask him if he’d ever considered working as a financial planner. He told me that something stirred in his heart when they asked him and he was moved to seek more information and eventually step out into the new, but familiar, field.
Here’s the key: They called him. He wasn’t out putting in applications everywhere. He wasn’t striving and struggling to find something to do and he didn’t run back to what he knew. In the midst of feeling lost he sought rest in the arms of Jesus and ending up with a job that represented an advancement of his career.
There are many testimonies like my friend’s experience. Some are walking dutifully along the path they feel led to follow when suddenly someone of influence invades their life, or something big happens, and it’s off to the races in the next season. Others have lost their jobs only to be approached by someone who opens the door into a better job. I’m sure you know someone with a similar story.Here’s the truth that all of these testimonies shout: God will bring us advancement in life. Click To Tweet
But here’s the lie I believed: God bringing advancement is the exception. Performance is the real catalyst to advancement.
When I’d listen to stories like my friend’s, I’d say to myself almost dismissively, “Oh, it’s great how God does that for some people.” And then I would spend the next however many minutes trying to figure out what I else I could do to advance my platform.
But when God revealed the lie, he showed me that him bringing advancement is never supposed to be the exception; it’s supposed to be the norm. People striving and struggling to get another rung up the ladder is what should be the exception.
God loves us so much and it’s his pure pleasure to be able to bring great things into the lives of his kids, but we’ve got to step back and let him do it. It’s not about performance, it’s about rest!
And it doesn’t mean doing nothing. For example, I write a blog a week, write books, run VIM twice a month, meet with people, work a full-time job as a firefighter paramedic, and more. I’m not doing nothing but the freedom comes when I let God handle the advancement of all that. The chains come when I let performance try and advance those things.
The things you’re involved with are different than mine and so your opportunities for advancement differ as well. But the truth remains the same for everyone—God wants to bring you that advancement. He doesn’t want you to strive and struggle to get that shiny apple, he wants to drop it in your lap. So let him will ya!
So I seem to always want to know what things might look like when they’re practically lived out. As I was thinking about this, two things came to mind:
- Do what you are called to do with excellence. Paul exhorts us to do whatever we do with all of our hearts as if we’re doing it for the Lord. Putting aside performance doesn’t mean disregarding excellence. Be committed and work with honesty and integrity.
- Resist the urge to self-promote. Let God be the one with the speakerphone letting everyone know about how awesome you are and how great you’re doing. Mangers, supervisors, and the world will notice because God will be highlighting you to them.
There are more practical ways to live this out but I’ve gone on long enough. If you have anything to add, please do in the comment section.
Jesse and Kara Birkey
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Thank you Jess and Kara Birkey for your ministry! Can’t wait for the next book in series to hit my Kindle.”