Performance vs. Mastery

Tuesday night in WGR class we talked about Performance vs. Mastery.

Performance always drives us to be approved, by means of pleasing others. At all costs. Even at the expense of our own desires and often at the expense of following God. Performance always wants a grade, a score, pat on the back. When you have to get it right all the time, any criticism becomes an enemy that produces shame. There is no room for growth, experimentation, or lessons learned through  trial and error because there is pending doom of a “hand” hovering over your every move, ready to swat you if you fail. Not fun.

Criticism is usually fatal to the performer’s growth.  However, praise does not offer a much better prognosis. As performers, we have this deep, empty pit in our heart needing to be filled with God’s significance. Apart from His definition of worth, we try to fill this hole with the praise of others. Thus praise becomes the ever-out-of-reach gold ring that the performer continuously strives to get more and more of.  Performance is not so good for our soul.

Mastery however, is the slow, strenuous journey of Learning.

Learning requires the right ingredients, the right recipe, the right goal, and the right teacher. Mastery is having your eye on the right model and then accepting that the “master” is using all circumstances to teach you how to do as she does. Over time. With repetition.

Mastery is not about proving value. That fact is established. Done. Settled. Mastery is literally about refining, unveiling, conditioning the valued person to walk in the master’s footsteps. One life experience at a time. One day at a time with new mercies every morning so that we begin with a clean slate to try again, to learn more, to practice, to improve, even to fail and get back up again.

When Jesus picked the disciples, “performance” would have them trying to validate His selection of them. Instead, He chose them out of His goodness, His significance. Just like He chose us. He said to them, follow in My footsteps, do like I do, and you will see the Father like I do. He says the same to us.

You being valued isn’t the question. You doing life like Jesus does is the life long journey The Master is after. And in.

Need a visual? This is the result of my fourth and fifth batch of bread. See the difference? Flat, heavy, “squished” vs. light, airy and yummy. Performance would have quit after ruined loaf number one. Mastery is continuing to learn, grow and try, try again. Only trying with more wisdom each time. My family is loving my journey into mastery. Smile.

4 thoughts on “Performance vs. Mastery

  1. Enjoyed reading this. We were just talking about this last night at church, and how even in ministry leaders look for titles of appreciation. We talked about the scripture in Matthew where the sons of Zebedee’s(disciples), their mother was asking the Lord if they could sit at both sides of Jesus, to which Jesus stated basically they can’t drink from a cup, I’ve already drank from. It struck me because, most of the time “performance” is always looking for self security with people, quantity v/s quality, and to be equal with God, to hold His rightful place of power and the throne.. She had no clue the magnitude of what she was asking. Sometimes performance gets so much in the way that we don’t recognize just how ignorant we are of others and Him.

    Lord, help me/us not to be like that! You came to serve…not to be served…and while You never held and earthly, “churchy” title, You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Rabboni…The Teacher..

    Jana, I loved reading this. And I loved seeing the visual of the bread. Thank you so much for sharing. xoxo

  2. I need to read this over and over. As much as I’ve grown in this area I’ve still so far to go. I so want to be free from the bondage of performance. I still have such a hard time understanding that God choosing me has nothing to do with anything I do.

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