Permission to Be, Not Pressure to Perform

Permission to Be, Not Pressure to Perform by Pearl Allard - Look Up Sometimes Blog

Look Up Sometimes Blog - Permission to Be, Not Pressure to Perform by Pearl Allard

It wasn’t happening. But not because I wasn’t trying. And I felt pressure because I’d given my word that it would happen. I saw great need. I wanted to do my part. But I may as well have been in a hamster wheel. Ever been there?

Besides remembering God’s past faithfulness, sometimes we just need a complete reset. We need a grace-filled breathing space that doesn’t demand that we do but grants permission to simply be.

I looked out over a beautiful garden lit up at night and prayed. “You’ve been faithful every time before. Will you help me again?” In the quiet, I gazed at beauty resting. None of the plants were up late anxiously trying to catch up or get ahead for tomorrow. Not one worried that its buds weren’t yet blooms. None of them grunted and strained to produce more, faster. Interesting, God placed the first two humans in a garden.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.” John 15:4

I used to hear this verse and wince, thinking of all the things I needed to do better and harder in order to “remain.” Now I see it as permission to just be myself and trust God to do what I can’t. I don’t need to perform for God. He needs nothing. But he desires my relationship with him so much that he goes to scandalous lengths to make it possible. Thinking of him, thanking him, loving him, finding my worth in him, but ultimately just resting in him and being who he made me to be…perhaps this is what remaining in him looks like?

When I feel the pressure to perform, when I feel helpless to help, when I see great needs but am not equal to the tasks, when it all feels ridiculous, I can rest in God’s ridiculous love for me and simply remain. This is the command after all…not to bear fruit, but to remain. Remember. Breathe. Rest. Be.

Perhaps the most faith-filled action we can take is to rest in Christ. It goes against the frenzied pace of our culture. It goes against the panic that fear would like us to indulge in. It marks divine sense, not common sense.

One of my favorite fear-fighting verses is Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

David penned this declaration of faith while he was fleeing for his life. King Saul viewed David as a threat to the throne, so he was hot on his trail to murder David. Not sure I’d be so calm sleeping in that situation!

In the face of life-threatening pressure, David chose to accept the permission to just be. To rest.

After voicing my prayer and observing the garden analogy, I went to bed. The temptation to worry hadn’t gone away, but a better option was introduced. I chose to trust that God would present a solution in his timing. In this case, it was the very next day! While our concerns are frequently not solved that quickly, the better option to trust God – his ways, his timing – is always available.

What pressures are you under right now? They don’t have to be life-threatening to be life-draining. My prayer is that you may discern the rest Christ reserves for you, that you may enter a protected grace-filled breathing space, and that you may remain in his love. So you can just be yourself. And rest. And be.

11 thoughts on “Permission to Be, Not Pressure to Perform

  1. I love your garden analogy. Plants are just being plants.

    It’s been said before…we’re human be-ings, not do-ings. Yet we get caught up in do, do, do-ing.

    I’ve been so overwhelmed lately, trying to do far too many writing projects, stealing from sleep hours, pushing for results. Sometimes we need to just write for the sake of writing, without thought of outcome. Just be a writer, right?

    1. Diane, I feel your pain. Always the tension between doing and being… I’ve never heard anyone say they’re a “hard rester,” but perhaps our best work results from a well-rested body, mind, and spirit?

  2. What a gift this post was to me! I SO needed to read this message today-thank you :).

    I came home from church (later than normal) and I have a long to-do list with some deadlines that are on my heels and a body that is not cooperating. So many things I want to do and I don’t want to hurt people’s feeling but everything I have touched this afternoon was not working out. I sat down and burst into tears. Why? I don’t know–exhaustion probably. I decided I would check out a few blogs of my fellow guild members and then take a nap. So glad I read this before logging off 🙂

    1. Hi Riley! Your presence is a gift to me! Major dislike for the frustration and exhaustion you’ve had to deal with. Praying that God will give you what you need when you need it, including rest, and that you’ll have peace, energy, and strength for doing only the things that God requires, no more. Hugs, friend!

  3. Beautifully written and a message that is desperately needed in our hurry-up world. Our society idolizes busyness but our souls yearn for rest. Thank you, Pearl!

    1. Thank you, Debra! Perhaps letting the dust collect on the furniture (sometimes anyway) is healthier than letting it collect on our souls? 🙂

  4. Thank you, Rebekah! May God give you just what you need for those 5th-6th grade girls tomorrow. Resting isn’t always my first response either, but there’s something about being in a garden… I’m a recovering black-thumb, but we have a small herb/vegetable garden that I absolutely love! It helps me focus on life. The Life. Thanking God we are in each other’s lives! Yes, for sure long chats over tea or coffee in heaven, if not sooner! 🙂

  5. My goodness girl. I so love your heart. God’s spirit is undeniable in your words. So timely and significant. You are a blessing to me and to all who recieve His word through you. I don’t say this to add pressure. Just encouragement to keep listening. You’re clearly listening.

    You’re like wow you know… He’s Wow-er but there you go; all is as it should be… Thanks so much for sharing.

    Rest easy my friend. You’re in my prayers tonight…

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