Coming from a place of performance 

Performance formed another man out of me without realizing it.

From a very young age I fell into a place where I started to perform. Now, when I heard the word performance for the first time in a lecture, I thought performance was something done in front of hundreds of people on a huge stage like a celebrity.  14713620_1801968286690164_4403964379333350176_n

Well it doesn’t really need hundreds of people and a huge stage. The motive in your heart can change the whole point of your daily actions. The question is, what is the reason behind what you are doing? Are you doing something because you want to do it or are you doing it because you need to get it done for others affirmation? To make it clear, I am not saying that words of affirmation and acceptance are something wrong. Most of the time when you ask God to encourage you, God will use one of His sons or daughters to tell you how well you are doing, or how good you are in a particular area.

I think we all need some people around us to affirm what we are doing and to encourage us.

On the other hand, it has to be out of the fullness of your heart. What do I mean by out of fullness. If I’m not filled by the love of my Father in heaven, automatically I will look for another source to get filled from. That is also where we start to fall into lust, adultery and pornography. So it needs to be balanced. I need to be filled and then I can get the words of affirmation, confirmation and encouragements from others.

Few weeks ago I asked myself when and why did I start to perform? Obviously, something inside of me wasn’t filled enough, that I felt the need to perform. Something bad had happen that I felt like I needed to perform to be filled or even to feel complete and accepted. I think we all fight with some feelings of incompetence and insufficiency. We think we aren’t good enough – whatever the word ‘enough’ means to us. We always think about our flaws, the crack, the broken part of us. That is not going to help us out. Rather than keeping our minds busy with the brokenness, we need to evolve our inner healing. There is so much more to reach in our personal life and such a strong personality behind everyone of us, when we get healed. However, that’s a whole other subject. Lets jump back to the roots of performance.

Growing up in a cultural family and church brought me up to a standard what I expected to be a norm and acceptable.

While I analyze my heart, I asked myself – Who defines what’s normal? What is normal for my family and our culture might be not normal at all for someone who grew up in the UK or Canada. The same thing the other way around, what they have as normal, is totally unacceptable in my culture or family. So who defines the normal?

For us we define normal with what we were taught in our childhood or in our Church.

As example, we have worship every morning at School of Ministry. One morning a DJ came in and had his style of Worship with House music. He was really good. It was normal for him to mix his music and say the scriptures to it. He was fully adoring God. He worshiped God in his NORMAL way.

Coming from a place where you worship in dress pants and you have to go to Church every Sunday because your parents want to, you don’t think if it is right or wrong. You just say: “This is wrong”. I had such an attitude and sat in the back. I “couldn’t” connect because he was doing something abnormal. It’s not that I couldn’t; I didn’t wanted to because it wasn’t in the circle of my knowledge called normal. Was it only me who “couldn’t” connect with God? No there were others who joined my circle of rejection towards the DJ. Although, there were many who were totally connected. They were either open towards it or it was in their circle of “normal”. So our nationalities, families, culture and even Churches tell us what is normal and acceptable.

Where did it start? Remember the time when you came home with your school reports and you would be afraid that your parents will punish you because you failed in one of the Subjects? For you it was probably one or two subjects you failed. For me it was the whole report. My oldest Sister was brilliant in School. She studied as much as she could. She is an introvert, either she was studying or she was doing something by herself in her room. My other sister was good at School. She got English and French Diplomas, she got good Job experience for few years and then she started to do an apprenticeship in a store and got her Diploma there.

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What about me? I don’t even know if it is worth to talk about it. All I wanted to do was play soccer, chill with my friends and be one of the cool kid. I – sorry for my expression – sucked at School. I was not even average in School. Math, German, French, English nor Science. I hated School. Well not a great attitude.

That is where my parents obviously started to say, if you get greater grates, we will give you a gift end of this semester. Or some kind of reward they will bring up. So I will learn hard, get better to receive the gifts. Once I got better I started to feel different. I felt my parents talk to others that I am doing better now in school. Just hearing them saying this to others made me feel comfortable. For me, peace and confidence come through acceptance.

It is only firm, if it comes from God first and then everyone else.

Remember, it has to start out of fullness and not for fullness.

On the other side where my – so called – friends, the “cool guys”. They started to reject me because I started to strive for what my parents wanted.

So now I was stuck with a debate going on in my life. Do I do something that my parents would appreciate at home after school or do I accept what my friends want where I spend most of my time during the week – at School?

I couldn’t decide between one or the other. It became a performance. I did what my parents wanted me to do. In their mind they want me to have a great future, but in my view I wanted to be accepted and loved at home, so I did what I could do – #pressure!

At the same time I was thinking about how I can still be one of the “cool guys” at school and not be rejected – also a pressure!

Now performance kicked in. I studied as much as I could to get great marks to gain the attention of my parents. At School I started to steal, mob and smoke cigarettes. That’s what (apparently) the cool kids do. From then on, I basically lost my identity and started to walk around with different kind of masks. Every place I went, I would wear a particular mask depending on the crowd. That’s also were I started to lose confidence in my own personality. This is also where I thought it is normal to do what the community wants.

My Church expected a different personality than my School. My friends expected a different behavior than my culture wanted. Where do I go? From the day I can remember until I came to Toronto, I was pleasing my parents, my community, my friends, my culture and religion.

14724369_1801974576689535_4340128562226032849_nYes I still struggle – with my focus, with my motives, my culture, eating habits, prayer life and my temper. All this doesn’t even scratch the surface. I know my weaknesses and failures better than anyone else does.

I don’t believe in chances. I believe it is Devine that God brought me here. He saw that I completely lost my identity. Once I was knocked down on the ground, He restored, renewed and revived my Heart.

I remember a preacher saying: God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. That is such a strong word. I love the Bible. Most of us know Moses. He said to God, use someone else because I am a stutterer, I can’t talk. He says to God that he is not good enough. Do you think God doesn’t know? For sure He does, but God knows that He can reveal Himself where Moses seems to be weak.

What about when others reject you? You friends, culture, church, uncle, aunt, grandparents, and yes even your parents could reject and disqualify you. You know what, God still has your destiny in His hand. Let me prove it to you twice (there are sure more than two examples)!

Joseph’s brothers from the Bible rejected him. He was in prison but still held onto Gods promise! What happen after that? God lifted Joseph up and blessed him.

Second call is on David. What kind of father forgets his last son? In Psalm 51:7 David says: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (English Standard Version)

Just because David’s parents conceived him in Sin, Jesse thought that God will not and cannot use him. Well Mr. Jesse, you are wrong. God chose David, called him when he wasn’t even valued at all and made him a King.

God has made us unique. He doesn’t want us to perform and be someone else – that wouldn’t be uniqueness that would be double ganger. Only by being you, you can present the unique self that God has put inside of you and that will reflect Jesus in you!

Get started! Fill yourself with His grace, mercy and love and start to walk in your unique identity!

God bless you

Jenan Joseph

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