Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Performance Lie

My eyes brush open to the dim light of early morning creeping into our bedroom. I stretch that luxurious stretch of the deliciously rested and ease out of bed so as not to disturb the gorgeous hunk lying next to me (drop those eyebrows, we’re married).

I head for my quiet spot and spend an hour basking in the richness of my Father’s love. Heart radiating joy, I pull on my running gear and head for the trail for a hard workout.

Forty-five minutes later I saunter through the front door and the kids come running. After a round of hugs and smiles they pull me toward the kitchen table where a plate holds half of a glistening ruby red grapefruit next to a bowl of steaming oatmeal.

With a grin, I pull the beaming kids close and—WAH-uh, WAH-uh, WAH-uh. Bleary eyed I smack at the blaring alarm clock and fall back into the pillows, exhaustion dragging me toward sleep. I resist and sit up throwing an aggravated look at the clock.


I was supposed to be up at six o’clock to get my run in and have some quiet time with the Lord, but instead I stayed up and watched that stupid movie. I could have smacked myself.

I drag on my sweat pants as the hollering of fighting children ricochets around the kitchen just outside our door. Frustration builds in my chest before I’ve been awake five minutes.

After I join in with the general hollering and bad attitudes that have steamrolled the Sand household that morning, I finally haul my unruly bunch to school and head back for home. I walk into the kitchen and drop my keys into the drawer.

My gaze snags on the Bible sitting on the counter and slides away. I’ll have my quiet time just as soon as I get the peanut butter put away and the smear of jam off the floor, and . . . the phone rings and a half hour later I finally hang it up.

Now I’m way behind. I need to start in on my day and sitting quietly before the Lord doesn’t hold any appeal. I head for my computer, trying to avoid eye contact with God who surely has his arms crossed in disapproval.

This is my reality more often than not (though the hunky guy does sleep next to me every night).

Doing it right. Or right enough.

I fall prey to the lie way too often that says my performance doesn’t quite measure up. That God isn’t pleased unless I do “it” just so. It, of course being, just about everything from how I order my day to how I parent my kids.

And of course the biggie—my time with him. The lies taunt me: you didn't start early enough, you didn't do it long enough, you didn't worship enough, you didn't read the Bible enough. As if God were some magic eight ball that I didn't shake hard enough. You see, the lie states that if you don't do it right enough or often enough, the blessings won't flow, and even worse . . . he might punish you. Or cause something bad to happen. All because you didn't get it right.

And we live under fear, avoiding God in case we draw too much attention to ourselves and lighting strikes in the form of a lost job, illness or even the death of a family member.

Exactly the opposite is true. God is good. Anything that we believe that contradicts that makes us wrong. He is unchanging, his love for us is unchanging.

Many of us know this truth in our minds, but the knowledge hasn't dropped those eighteen inches to the belief systems of our heart.

Ask God to make his truth real to you. Ask him to show you his character so you can discover his trustworthiness. Ask him to reveal his kindness to you so you can experience his love.

Just ask. It'll be the beginning of a wonderous journey with Him.

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