Performing For All the Wrong Reasons

562347_480903422017244_192847710_nToday’s post comes to you from my dear friend Amy Rumpsa. Although Amy currently lives in Nashville, TN, I met Amy when she was in one of the LEAD groups at our church a few years ago. It was a pleasure to get to know her and her heart for Christ and then eventually serve in ministry with her before she moved to Nashville. She posted this on Facebook, and when I read it I immediately reached out to her to ask if I could share it with you all because what God placed on her heart is such a beautiful message.  I hope it speaks to your heart like it did mine! Inline image

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ (right up until the time of His return), developing (that good work) and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.
Philippians 1:6

While I was hiking yesterday, I was contemplating some things that were going on in my A photo by Léa Dubedout. As a part of that contemplation, I realized that I often feel the pressure or need to perform. Life, culture, society is driven that way; we have to perform at our jobs, we have to look a certain way, we have to eat healthy…it’s filled with “have to’s”. So, it’s no wonder that we can get caught up in this mentality; there is real pressure to perform in this life and either meet or exceed (for those of us who are over-achievers) expectations. Life is EXHAUSTING that way. I want to rid my life of this because I have noticed it fills me with perpetual anxiety. 

So, I dared to ask God a question, “Why do I feel I always have to perform?” or “Why do I feel the need to perform?” – you know the feeling, always striving; not ever feeling good enough. Notice I said “feeling” it is often the farthest thing from the actual truth of the matter. We are often driven by our feelings instead of reality, which is no way to live our lives because our feelings can often lead us astray. Yet with all of that, God showed me something even more important. His answer to me was this, “Because you don’t realize you were bought”. 

Right, as a Christian, I know this; but, clearly, I wasn’t getting it and for some reason, it struck me differently today. I knew the word, “bought”, was key but I also knew I didn’t understand way; I needed clarity. So, I persisted to ask God, “Can You explain this further to me? What do You want me to see in this?” And…in His fashion, He explained it in terms I had never thought of or comprehended before, yet it made that truth so simple and more complete in its meaning. 

Here is what He revealed to me. He showed me a picture of someone going into a jewelry photo-1470321386428-4b1668f21ad3store and speaking to a salesman behind the counter. The salesman began placing the rings and stones from the case on a cloth in front of the customer. While the customer inspected each piece, he could see the beauty and quality of each one, but he was looking for something specific this time. The next item the salesman placed on the table stood out above all the rest; the buyer knew right away it was exactly what he was looking for on this occasion. He noticed the cut, the color, the clarity, the overall brilliance of the stone and he had to have it. He recognized its value and because he knew its value, he was willing to pay a high price for it. In fact, he had to have this ring. He WANTED to pay a high price for it to ensure that the ring’s true beauty would be displayed. 

So it is with Christ; He paid a high price for me because I was valuable. Here is the difference in how I used to understand the truth, “I was bought”, and how God wanted me to see it today. In the past, I understood Christ paid a high price for me. However, I thought I BECAME valuable BECAUSE He paid a high price for me. For those of you that are analytical, you will probably relate to me and may have had similar thoughts. I used to view Christ’s sacrifice for me almost as an act of pity or think I was absolutely nothing without Christ and so, I have no real value. What I believe Christ wants all of us to see is that He MADE us with value. He saw value in me BEFORE He died for me. Just like the jewel…they noticed its brilliance and outstanding qualities and had to have it for themselves. They WANTED to purchase the gem. God WANTED to purchase us because we were valuable and He wanted us for Himself. He values us that highly.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
Ephesians 1:4

Once God has us, He wants to display and pull out all of that beauty that He first recognized in us! It’s like if you go to the Flea Market (ever seen Flea Market Flip?) and you see this old, beat up, rusted, worn out piece that everyone else has passed by; but you see value in it. You have a vision for this piece and know how to bring it back to life. No one else can see why you bought the piece, but you know exactly what to do with it. To get to this great result, the transformation process has to take place; it’s necessary for change to happen. During this process, the project can look messy or incomplete or worse off than before; but that is because the observer (or the subject, itself) sees in part. These people do not have the full and complete vision that the Artist saw from the very beginning. So it is with God, even when the process is grueling or painful or misunderstood by us, He knows exactly what to do with us. He knows how to bring about that greatness within us. He also knows this can only be completed with His help. My response, “I accept. Turn me into whatever you see fit”. After all, He is the Creator; He knows my desires and full potential better than I do. So, let’s trust Him in the hard times.

Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
Psalms 37:4-5

Taking this whole concept one step further…Think about a house renovation, if you have done one (or seen one done – Have you figured out that I’m an HGTV junkie yet?!) and how a homeowner works with a designer. Part of the designer’s job is to encourage a person to try a different palette or select something they wouldn’t typically pick. The designer convinces the homeowner to trust them and they leave it up to the decorator (after all, they did go to school for this type of thing!). When the homeowners see the finished product they realize trusting the designer was the right decision. What they previously thought wouldn’t work in the home, compliments the space perfectly and the outcome is better than they could have imagined. When we trust God, THE DESIGNER, with our path in life and truly follow after what He has put in our heart to do (instead of going after or doing what everyone else or even ourselves have convinced us we should do)…we will experience ALL that He has for us. So, let’s stop fighting Him…surrender to The Artist/The Designer and let Him truly do more than we can ask or think!

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [that is, separate you from profane and vulgar things, make you pure and whole and undamaged—consecrated to Him—set apart for His purpose]; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete and [be found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful and absolutely trustworthy is He who is calling you [to Himself for your salvation], and He will do it [He will fulfill His call by making you holy, guarding you, watching over you, and protecting you as His own].
1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24


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