Performance was a big problem for me. As a child growing up, I always sought to perform for the approval and validation of people. I harbored a compulsive need to top my class, and I would work my tired fingers to the bone. Needless to say, I found myself on the hamster wheel of performance and ended up extremely weary, tired, exhausted, depleted - needing hope.
That was when I turned my life over to Christ. As I gave myself over to receiving mega doses of the Father's Love, I realised that beneath all these layers of performance, the root of the issue that plagued my soul was -
Simply put, shame is a dark, dirty feeling that makes us feel like we are 'not enough.' We are either not pretty enough, or intelligent enough, or talented enough and therefore, we must work and go the extra mile to prove ourselves worthy and valuable.
Such are the lies that shame sells us. And it is literally as old as the Garden itself where the enemy of our souls, Satan deceived Eve, tempting her to partake of the forbidden fruit. Negating the word of the Lord, let me share the deceptive words of Satan to Eve,
"You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil.”
(Genesis 3:1-4, emphasis added)
Notice what the crafty serpent says. He tells Eve that if she eats the forbidden fruit, she will become like God.
Let's backtrack a bit.
"So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them."
Now if God had created Adam and Eve in his own image, then it follows that they were already like him.
Did you catch that?
Made in the image of God, they had nothing to prove. They were designed to be completely free and enjoy a wonderful, loving relationship with God. And on the other side of the Cross, I believe that the same holds true for us today. Our identity has been settled, and our future secured in Christ Jesus.
Through the revelation of this Truth, I slowly but surely began to realise that as a child of God, I no longer needed to strive or perform. I was completely accepted in the Beloved as the beloved of God. I was loved as I was and in fact, was the absolute delight of my Father's heart. He knew me, wanted me, and chose me to be his own.
And what makes this Good News is that this isn't because of anything I had done or can possibly do. But because of what Jesus had done for me. Nailing all my sin and shame to the Cross, he rose from the grave and declared that in him, I am the righteousness of God - healed, redeemed, set free.
As I draw to a gentle close, I am grateful that the Lord has got me a mighty long way in my healing journey. Though I am definitely more rested and whole in Christ, walking in freedom is something I need to remain intentional about. As Joyce Meyer puts it,
"I am not where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be."
Journeying on, may we never forget that we are imago dei - image-bearers of God. Designed in the likeness of God, we are full of God-given identity, purpose, and destiny. Satan may be the author of deception, but the Good News is that Jesus is the author of the Truth that makes us free. And the last time I checked,
He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
May freedom be the sound of our steps, the echo of our hearts, and the anthem of our lives.
*Photo credit: Jackson David from Unsplash
Hi! I am Gursimran Chhatwal, an author, writer, and blogger, with a passion to pen down material that serves to connect you with the heart of the Father. I live with my family in India and would love to have you connect with me. On Instagram, you can find me at @gursimranchhatwal27 and my blog site is - soulandsubstance27.home.blog.