I struggle with trying to perform, to look good, to sound "right". Oh, there is a long story behind why I do. (If you buy my book, available April 8th, you can read about it!). The best way I have found to fight this in my own life is to constantly be authentic.
Authenticity breeds dependency on God.
The more I share openly and honestly, the more I cling to him and his promises. It's really cool, actually, that part of my process has been writing. Writing has kept me authentic and vulnerable. If I weren't writing, it would be really easy to slip into old habits. Writing is my accountability. I write what is true, even if it scares me, even if it exposes me. What amazes me is how much freedom I have found in authenticity. Every time I expose myself, I feel God's love and security wash over me. It's addictive, actually. I want to feel that way all the time, so it becomes easier and easier to live openly before others. When we don't allow our weakness to be exposed, we communicate to the world that "imperfection is not allowed". What a dangerous misconception. The hope we offer is that we are loved in our weakness, our imperfection. We need not perform at any level to receive God's love. In fact, we cannot perform well enough to earn it because it's free.
It's kind of like getting a gift on Christmas. God is standing there, gift in hand, offering it to me and you.
"No, you don't want me to have that, I haven't earned it." I push it back at him.
"Just take it, Shannon. I don't care that you haven't earned it." He offers it again.
"But, God, if I just work a little harder, then maybe I can come back for it." I push it back at him.
"Shannon, I just want to give you this gift." He offers it again.
"But, God.." I push it back at him.
"Shannon, just stop trying. Please, just take the gift."
I finally, at long last, accepted that gift, free and clear. I finally realized that I cannot perform in any way that makes me more worthy of my God. He accepts me because he chooses too.
I can accept that...or not..my choice.
So, I am thankful that God reminds me daily that I don't have to perform for him. I am thankful that I have found a safe place, where love is free. I am so thankful that at a moment in my life where I am tempted to try and perform, God is constantly whispering in my ear that he loves me, and always will. That is enough for me...that will always be enough.
"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (Eph. 2:8-10)