Last Thursday evening I sat together with other young women discussing why we are here on this earth. We threw out some ideas that we had heard or learned that defines our purpose: success, money, status, acceptance, love, Jesus. Being a group of Christian women, we all recognized that living a life that glorifies Jesus is our ultimate mission. This is the "right" answer; however, I was struck, as I have been repeatedly in the last three weeks, by how much our motive influences our drive and that drive powers our life. Imagine if you will a car, and any number of motives can step into that driver's seat. My motive? Performance.
This motive has only within the last year unveiled itself as the driver of my life. As a child, I learned that there were two ways to perform: good and bad. I decided that I must perform good... eh... well. The people who held authority in my life set the standard for what was good and bad, solidifying my life's goal which was essentially to perform a certain way to obtain my greatest desire, love and acceptance.
At first, this motive, Perform Well, served me. I achieved much in my academic years, earning honor roll and accolades of success. In high school, a friend and I were even named most likely to succeed. Surely, I was elected because my peers recognized I had my nose to the grindstone and rarely came up for air. Try hard, do your best and you will go far. A great mentality, right?A good mantra, until you don't.
Perform Well was a great friend to have around when things were smooth and I was rolling high on good grades and a squeaky clean reputation. But when a mistake took the stage, Perform Well became an abusive and controlling b****. Into that car piled in Self Defeat, Shame, Condemnation,
Regret and many more, until I would sit in the back seat of this dysfunctional
clown car with Jesus, unable to hear what He is speaking because the
din of the other voices is so loud. I was, still am, whip lashed by the standards that Perform Well has set to rule my life.
At the beginning of August, I made a choice. To silence the voices and to earn a reprieve, I stopped the car, shoved the majority of those voices aside and elected Jesus to sit in the driver's seat. Good intentions, yes, but my ability to follow through with Jesus being my motive for life is difficult to maintain when I am so used to, or rather, addicted, to former ways of coping. Perform Well has often traded positions with Jesus to take the wheel and drive me towards success and recognition out of a need to prove I am worthy of that love and acceptance I long for. Thankfully, I can now recognize the exchange of motive and shove that old friend aside, but more often than not, I hang onto the reins rather than handing it over to Christ (this is what I call Control, another long-term relationship I've had since childhood).
But despite the struggle to "let go and let God," there are victories that I can see in my life since taking time to rest and refocus.
1) Recognition of when I am in control and when another motive steps in. This allows me to readjust perspective and get my motives in line.
2) The din of voices is quieting. Perform Well still nags from the backseat at time, especially when I know I can do better. But rather than allowing it to beat me into the ground, I look to Jesus and ask is there truth in the correction. How can I improve to glorify Him more?
Although I desperately want to be free of struggling with this constant need to perform well and control my life, I am thankful that I can recognize the growth. Every change in life starts with a recognition that this is where I am and then deciding what to do with it.
So now it's your turn. Who is driving your life and is it going in the direction you want it to be?