What does life look like for a recovering performance addict? There are the exhilarating moments of freedom, believing God really does have it covered—that I don’t have to figure it out or pull it off. In those moments there is such a rich peace and a sense of anticipation of the certainty of God’s glory unfolding. Need is reframed as opportunity. Unanswered questions become mysteries of His grace.
And then… there are the moments of withdrawal, when my soul rebels against this deeper truth, and fear grips me. The book for Phase 2 of The Ultimate Journey (one of our core classes at House of Hope) describes this feeling well:
‘You may be tempted to forget all this “foolishness,” to go back where things are comfortable, familiar, and predictable—where at least you could entertain the illusion of being in control.’
It is one thing to walk by faith when everything seems to be going as planned; it is another when you have strong evidence that this whole faith and dependence thing really isn’t working—or just isn’t enough.
If I’m honest with you all and with myself, there is a part of me that recoils from dependence. God offers to let me off the hook, to enter into His rest as a child. But, as Phase 2 warns, “all this talk of safety, rest, and fulfillment seems strange—even dangerous.”
Yes, to hope in the Lord often seems to be dangerous. The enemy throws this hope back in our face, mocking us… haven’t others trusted God to heal, to provide only to end up empty handed? And accusing us… this isn’t faith; it’s irresponsibility! The buck stops with you, so you better get your act together and figure this thing out. And in ministry, that accusation takes on a spiritual twist… this mission is so important- if you don’t raise more money, recruit more volunteers, change more lives, you’re failing the mission!
And yet, though my addiction feels so powerful at times, though the longing to feel the high of performance and results seems like physical hunger—I remember the ugly reality of that life. The mask. The anxiety and fear. The pride.
So, as with any recovery, I live one day at a time, choosing this beautiful and dangerous hope. If I am in danger of loss by living with this hope, then I invite and embrace whatever loss may come. For all the accolades, all the results, all the thrills of performance are nothing compared to the overwhelming joy of resting in my Father’s arms.
“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One)”
– Philippians 3:8, Amplified Version