I’m sitting here reading through Numbers 29 with all the instructions on which offerings they had to give when and it gives me such anxiety. It literally is so beyond me that I can’t help but skim over this chapter, but then I feel guilty for skimming because I should want to read all of this. Ah! I’m overwhelmed just reading it, I can’t imagine living it out!
“Performance Anxiety.” Those are the words that pop into my head. I’ve gotten over my stage fright, but this performance anxiety goes much deeper. This anxiety doesn’t come from performing, but not performing perfectly.
If I had lived with the Israelites thousands of years ago, I would have been so concerned about actually executing all these offering requirements properly. When I think back to my childhood with all the piano performances, theory and piano exams, school exams, and homework, I remember the need to do it all and get it all right. For many theory and piano exams I would literally blank portions of my piano pieces. I had practiced and prepared, but it was inevitable that I would still blank. At some point in my life, I stopped applying myself because at least then I would have an excuse for failing.
For years, I have thought my parents wanted me to be perfect. That their view of me was so perfect that I would never be able to fulfill those requirements. The truth is it wasn’t their expectation. It was something I had taken on through multiple situations. My anxiety to perform well turned into perfectionism and people pleasing.
Perfectionism, people pleasing, and performance anxiety are traits I’ve witnessed in many people. These traits can cause so much harm in our lives. When I started realizing (key piece!) there was a problem with these things in my life, it didn’t start with a grand revelation. I started noticing that when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t usually like what I saw. Small trigger behaviors would take me back to a time in my youth and I wondered why I lived like that.
Now that we’ve realized there is an issue, what do we do? Tentacles of these issue can run throughout our lives, but there is a way to remove the hold that is keeping us from thriving. These things come from a negative, condemning place that wants to hold us back from God’s best for us. However, God is able to use this new knowledge to correct past behaviors and beliefs.
So, first things first; pray that God would break this bond of sin in your life and forgive you. Once that bond with the lies and sin have been broken, ask God how He sees you. He speaks the truth. Freedom to truly live can now start coming in. Here is the last, but crucial piece. Don’t pick up this issue again. Anytime you see pieces of perfectionism, people pleasing, or performance anxiety coming back in, give the situation back to God. Remember His truth and hold on to that instead.