I’ve always been a performer…just ask my parents.
When we look at home movies from the 90’s, I was always hogging the camera time from my little brother and sister. Like my Dad says “There’s your big head – in the way again!” (He means it literally. I have a huge head and having tons of thick hair doesn’t help 🙂 ). I’d put on my tap shoes and do “shows” on our fireplace for family and friends. I loved to be in plays, on stage for dance performances and then later in life, performing for my High School on the Cheerleading team.
I’m not sure where this “need” to perform for people came from. And as cute as it was when I was little, it’s now taken on a whole new life of it’s own in my adult world.
And in an VERY unhealthy way.
It has become ingrained in me to put on a “show” for people. Please them. Make sure they like me. Act ‘normal’. Fit in. Don’t let people see you struggle. Put on a happy face. Wear a mask. Always be ‘ok’.
I can’t stand when I think people don’t like me. I’ve gotten physically ill over having a fight with a best friend or family member. I wonder what other people think about me 24/7. I’ve practically had a nervous break down when I found out something ugly that was said behind my back. I’ve lost sleep, replaying conversations over and over – wondering if I said all the right things. I’ve spent hours in my mind planning how I was going to act in an upcoming situation.
So the other day I was praying – and asking God why I get so much anticipation anxiety before I’m going to be around people I don’t know very well? And then why I’m not anxious when I’m with people who I love and trust – like my husband, my family and my good friends?
And God put a name to this ugly thing that’s been following me for years.
The Spirit of Performance.
I feel the need to perform every where I go. For every person I meet. In EVERY situation.
It’s exhausting and quite frankly extremely self-centered.
And then God showed me that not only do I perform for man, but it goes deeper. I try and put on a show for Him as well. “Look God, I read my Bible! Look over here God, I’m doing so good today! How am I doing now God? Are you happy with me? Did I do well God? Am I a good Christian today?”
So how do I break this spirit that looms over me day and night?
Simple. Start to believe with my whole heart who I am in Christ. See myself through His eyes. And let that be ENOUGH.
His words are TRUE and POWERFUL…and are so opposite of what I’ve believed for all these years.
I tell myself I will always be anxious – He says He has not given me a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I tell myself I am insecure – He tells me He IS my security (Proverbs 3:26)
I tell myself I must please people at all times – He tells asks me: Why? What can man do to you? (Psalm 56:11)
I am harsh and unloving toward myself – He tells me to receive His Grace at all times (Romans 11:6)
I am scared of being alone – He promises that He will never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6)
But above all – He LOVES me deeper, wider, longer and higher than any human does or ever could. And better yet…He approves of me no matter what.
And that’s all that should matter in this life.
So if I seem different these days, it’s because I’m slowly peeling back the layers of masks I’ve been wearing to perform in front of you for years. I’m going slowly but surely stop caring what people think of me. I’m going to be honest and speak my mind (lovingly of course!) instead of only saying what I think people would want me to say. I’m gonna be silly, messy and make mistakes…in front of people. And I will EMBRACE it.
But one step at a time. Hey, it took 26 years to get this way so I know it’s going to take some time for God to un-do it. 🙂
It’s time to shake these shackles and chains off and leave this prison of performance that I’ve called “home” for so long.