Performance-Oriented Me: An Honest Look

“Ocie,” (folks called me Ocie back then) “you’re performance oriented. A people pleaser.” 

I remember the scene so well. I was about 17, sitting on the gorgeous grounds of my high school on an off day during the summer. 

Monty, my youth leader, said those words. 

Yep. Pretty much describes me. Over the years I’ve struggled to overcome this. At times I do well resting in Christ’s work instead of striving with my own. Yet, my default setting always drifts back.

I know…KNOW…that God loves me for who I am not what I do. I KNOW nothing I do will make God love me any more or any less, He loves me because of Christ. I know this! 

But I forget.

I’ve been struggling lately, you guys. My energy level’s been really low and I’ve had to take long naps in the afternoon. I normally like to spend my afternoon hours writing or working on other projects, but I couldn’t. I haven’t been able to produce much at all in the writing/speaking arena for about a month now. 

In the evenings, after dinner, I like to scurry around doing housework. I fold laundry and, you know, do the Proverbs 31 thing. Or sometimes we play games, go for walks. I’ve been too tired to do this. After the effort to make dinner and converse over the table, I’ve been exhausted. So off to bed I go. So much left undone. 

I’m embarrassed to tell you these things. I feel like I won’t be perceived as I want to–as a great, got-it-together lady.

The worst part is, I’ve been feeling depressed about all this. I’m not supposed to feel depressed, right? I died and came back. I feel deeply grateful for every moment–I really do. But, well, I’m works oriented and not doing any work–not producing much–brings me down. 

I’m tempted to think up three steps to overcoming this striving dilemma, but wouldn’t that in itself contribute to the problem? So, I’ll just share what helped me this morning. Well, blogging. It helps, friends, to stop denying there’s a problem and just barf it out. If it’s not on a blog, try journalling or talking to a friend. Something about getting it into the light helps, heals. 

And then just hiding like a child in Christ’s arms. I know I need to stop worrying about what others think. I need to stop finding my value in what I produce; stop comparing myself and my family, home, writing career to others. But, right now, I just need to curl up in a ball and feel my God’s love, like a father whose hand gently smooths my hair and quietly waits for me to feel safe. 

I don’t know if this will help anyone, but I think we moms love our kids and families so much, we sometimes strive too hard for perfection. He knows this struggle. He sees me. He’s proud of me even if no one else in my life is. He’ll change my default setting–to the dear affection of a loving Father.  

Dear Lord, I can’t do this myself. I need Your help. 


For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:9 ESV)

PS I’ve talked to a doctor about my energy level, and it is, thankfully, starting to get better. Thanks for your prayers.

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Ocieanna Fleiss