Performance-living is a mindset that says what you do determines your value.
It is a lie.
This lie tempts you to save yourself as you give in to its demands. Do you feel weary? Burdened? Exhausted? Then you may have a bad case of performance-living.
And it’s very demanding, a taskmaster, demanding that you get your own straw to make bricks and meet the quota (Exodus 5:6-9). Push, push, hurry, hurry — and look good as you try performance-living.
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It has at least three traps.
1. Performance-living: Achieve!
Performance-living ties your achievement to your value as a person. The more you achieve, the greater your value. What about people who aren’t smart like Steve Jobs? Do they have less value because they aren’t “Person of the Year”? The psalmist says,
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18, NIV
2. Performance-living: Beautify!
It links your looks to your value. The lie is only the young and beautiful matter. Haven’t you used makeup to cover a blemish? Or perhaps Root Rescue to hide gray? Or gone on a diet or exercised to lose weight and tone up?
Believing beauty determines your worth is a treadmill of anxiety and it’s exhausting.
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The apostle Peter writes,
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
Beauty is a gentle and quiet spirit. Not liposuction!
3. Performance-living: Be Perfect!
Want anxiety? Derive your value from perfection: well-behaved kids, a gorgeous home, a fulfilling career, and. . .lead a small group, keep a prayer journal faithfully, and read the Bible in a year, every year.
This is what God wants, right? Perfection? Doesn’t Jesus say, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48)? Here Jesus means growth into maturity of godliness. He doesn’t mean super-woman performance-living.
When you “succeed,” performance-living becomes pride.
When you “fail,” performance-living turns into anger, fear, and depression, resulting in all kinds of untoward behavior unbecoming of a Christian woman. Your thoughts morph into ugliness too.
Exchange performance-living for grace-living. Grace-living is believing and acting on the truth of the good news that God loves you and values you.
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Your value isn’t dependent on what you do. God determines your value, and aren’t you more precious to him than a sparrow?
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31
The gospel isn’t something you do. Grace is a gift of God. There is no score card. No boxes to check. No to-do lists.
Your value is anchored in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours. Refreshing, isn’t it?
Sharing hope with your heart,
Discover your true identity, and you can battle lies and live from the truth.
You know you have an enemy who lies, don’t you?
He is Satan, the father of lies. He and his demons tempt you to think rotten ideas about your worth. Have you heard thoughts like, “You aren’t good enough! You aren’t pretty enough! You aren’t strong enough!?”
The awesome news: You can replace the lies with the beautiful truth of your true identity. How does that sound? Knowing who you are matters!
Down, Down, Down
When you start to recognize lies, accept that noticing some of them may take time because they’ve become a habit. You’ve probably been repeating them to yourself for a long time. So no quick-fix expectation. Got it?
If you beat yourself up, you’re more likely to fall into temptations of all sorts. A lot of it looks good like the forbidden fruit on a certain tree in the Garden of Eden. When you’re feeling down and out, Satan and the world dangle treasures before your eyes, pretty things like new clothes, invites to parties, good health, a happy family, a big house or chic condo and stuff to fill them.
In hopes of feeling less afraid and more secure, you and I may feed our gods, hungry gods that help us feel special or important – like money and pleasure, others’ opinions of us, busyness, fame and privilege and honor.
But this is not who you are. Did you know this? You don’t have to get stuck in believing lies. Isn’t this refreshing? Did you know God will change your faulty thinking? That He’ll transform your thoughts?
Changing Faulty Thinking
God says you are beautiful and strong in Christ even when. . .
You lose your debit card.
A colleague steals your idea and gets the credit and a bonus.
Your daughter shoplifts a bottle of nail polish and is arrested.
Cancer strikes a good friend.
A bully harasses your son.
Your husband comes home late, again.
Here’s the truth. Every Christian is in Christ. This is a God-sized concept and reality that not one of us can fathom. Too tremendous for your mind.
According to the Bible, you die in Adam and are born again in Christ.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
You aren’t what you do. That’s performance. Your true identity is who you are in Christ.
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You change your faulty thinking when you embrace your true identity and stop banking on performance.
Adam (who lived in the Garden of Eden and ate forbidden fruit) died as a sinner. Jesus died for sinners. In Adam we’re cursed. In Christ we’re blessed. In Adam there’s condemnation. In Christ there’s salvation.
What God Says About You!
An excellent place in the Bible to discover your true identity is Ephesians 1:3-7. I’ve colored your identity words in blue.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
In Christ you are blessed, chosen, holy, blameless, loves, predestined, adopted, redeemed, and forgiven. Which of these descriptors speak to your heart? Your radical new identity comes from putting off your old humanity and putting on the new you in Christ.
Make no mistake. This beautifully new and radical identity that you possess has nothing to do with anything you’ve done. It results from who Jesus is and what he has done. As one pastor wrote,
If you’re a Christian, here’s the good news: who you really are has nothing to do with you–how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior, your strengths your weaknesses, your sordid past, for family background, your education, your looks and so on. Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours; His strength, not yours; His performance, not yours; His victory, not yours.
What you and I do flows from who we are.
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Isn’t this amazing and comforting? It’s not about you. It’s all about God. Yes!
You live from your identity, not for your identity.
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As you embrace your true identity in Christ, you’ll rightly handle the issues of live that come your way. Pretty cool, huh?
Resource for YOU!
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Sharing hope with your heart,
Beautiful. Every girl wants to hear it.
You. Are. Beautiful.
In her latest book, Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful, author Sharla Fritz shows teen girls and young women what to wear, what not to wear, and how to accessorize for true beauty. True beauty is given to us by Christ, who makes us holy. He says, “You are beautiful.”
It focuses on a makeover of the heart and the important character qualities of young Christian woman while sharing fashion advice to match their inner beauty.
The book is divided into an eight-week study, five sessions per week. Each session is short enough to fit in a busy teen’s life. You get personal anecdotes, questions to apply to your own life, and memory verses.
It is based on Divine Design: 40 Days of Spiritual Makeover,
also written by Sharla
. Special to the teen version is an honest exploration of self-worth as well as cultural and media influences.
Just for Fun
At the conclusion of the blog tour on May 2, Sharla has a Divine Makeover Basket giveaway. To enter the giveaway, please visit the publisher’s page on Sharla’s book. Share your makeover story. Sharla will select the winner from the comments received.
Women long to here the words, “You Are Beautiful.” Do you want to know the most amazing thing: You are beautiful beyond words because God has given you His beauty secrets. Believe it.
Today I’m writing over at www.BasicsMatter.com. Here is my featured post:
We women long to hear these words:
We live in an ugly world with impossible beauty standards. Flawless faces leer at us while we wait in the checkout line.
Blemish-free skin, perfect noses, impeccable makeup. And just below the faces. . .
. . . big bosoms and slender, sculpted bods.
Who can compare? Not me. Not you. No one. Not even super models. Even they are air-brushed.
Still, we desire for someone to tell us: You are beautiful!
And the Survey Says. . .
At a speaking engagement at a church, I surveyed women aged 20 to 60 who attended my workshop “Inside Out Beauty.” The question I posed: What are two things would you change about your looks? They wrote their answers. No names. Complete anonymity.
All but one mentioned weight. No surprise. Many women are on diets of one sort or another. Other responses: blemishes, hairy arms, wrinkles, age spots, eye color, hair color, even “my whole body.”
Ouch! Why are we women so critical of our looks? How can we learn to see ourselves like Jesus does? The answer may surprise you.
What Does Jesus Say?
We learn to see ourselves like Jesus does when we change how we think.
No exercise plans.
No body waxing.
Instead, we allow Jesus to renew our minds — a mind makeover — and learn we are beautiful, inside and out.
This is tough in our image-conscious world, an ugly world that spews lies: You don’t measure up (or down!). . .you’re wrinkled. . .ewww! Cellulite!. . .your bum is too big. . .or too small.
When you feel insecure in this ugly world, believe Jesus, the truth-teller. The Bible reveals God’s five beauty secrets.
5 Beauty Secrets
The secret to true beauty is believing you are who God says you are. Here are five truths about you, tucked in Ephesians, written by the apostle Paul to the believer in Ephesus.
1. Blessed. Those who are in Christ are blessed. In fact, you have every spiritual blessing in Christ right now. Present tense. You have all the blessings now. Yes! You are fully blessed. (Ephesians 1:3)
2. Chosen. God chose you to be in Christ. Before you were conceived, before the world was created, he chose you. You! (Ephesians 1:4)
3. Adopted. You are God’s child through adoption. You belong to Him. Though you may have a rip in your relationship, you will always be His daughter. Always. (Ephesians 1:5)
4. Redeemed. Through Jesus and by the pleasure of God’s will, Jesus paid your sin debt on the Cross. He died, was buried and was raised from the dead for you. You are redeemed. (Ephesians 1:7)
5. Sealed. You are marked by the Holy Spirit, who guarantees your place in heaven. God granted you eternal life. No one can take it away. (Ephesians 1:13)
Wow! You are blessed, chosen, adopted, redeemed and sealed. Can you become more beautiful?
You can cover up a blemish or tone your muscles or reduce the sugar in your diet and drop a few pounds — or 15, like my husband, without trying. Your mirror may reflect a more beautiful image, and you may feel happier. But your enemy will try to steal your happiness.
Stop the Thief!
You have an enemy. Satan. He steals, kills, and destroys. He is the father of lies. He will tempt you to doubt God and believe his lies, like he duped Eve in the Garden.
So next time, he whispers, “You look ugly” and you feel like hiding.
Say, “That’s a lie. I have true beauty. I have worth. I am secure. God says so. And He tells the truth!”
Friend, if you’d like more comfort, hope, and truth, I invite you to download my free ebook “5 Amazing Names God Calls You.” It’s a fast download. Just go to my website www.LucyAnnMoll.com and look in the left column. You’ll see the offer. If you run into any problems with the download, send me a message and I’ll send it to you.
I turned my backside toward the bathroom mirror and peeked over my shoulder. Dimples? Ugh.
My middle child told me the other day, “I’m not pretty.” She is drop-dead gorgeous. Gray eyes that sometimes turn blue or green. Lashes that go on forever. In jest I say,
“Stop lying or I’ll have to put you over my knee.”
“You wouldn’t mom, would you?”
“Just try me.”
I smile big. She smiles big.
My eldest is 21 and, of course, gorgeous. Chocolate brown eyes, perfect eye brows, thick hair that she used to hate because it wasn’t stick straight. She doesn’t like how she looks in a swim suit. What woman does?
In my counseling, so many, many women say they’re ugly. They have a warped mirror. What about you? Do you embrace yourself, your shape, size, color, your uniqueness?
Someone loves just as you are, size 4 or size 20.
Our enemy, Satan, feeds you the world’s lies that you’re not pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough. Who’s going to tell you the truth? Satan or Jesus? You know the answer.
Right now God is transforming you into the image of his Son:
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
You’re looking good. Oh, yes.
You Are Beautiful!