Are You Struggling with Performance Syndrome?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is March 22, 2021, and this is Episode #7 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “Are You Struggling with Performance Syndrome?”

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The natural inclination of man is to perform in order to be approved. As we observe the many religions of the world, we notice that, except for Christianity, every religion teaches its followers that they must earn their salvation by doing good works. Only Christianity teaches that we can never earn our salvation. That is the reason Jesus Christ earned it for us and gave it to us as a love gift. The only thing we must do is accept His gift.

In the Book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul addresses this topic of trying to earn our salvation. After teaching the Galatians how to be saved through faith in Christ, Paul now finds them going back to their old ways of trying to earn God’s approval through their good works. Let’s listen in on what Paul says:

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes, Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

Paul was distressed that the Christians of Galatia had reverted back to their old ways of thinking and acting. 

When we are born again, we receive God’s approval because of what Jesus did for us on Calvary, not because of anything we did. This is called grace. The first chapter of the Book of Ephesians, verse 6, reveals this truth to us: “He [God the Father] made us accepted in the Beloved {Jesus Christ].” (Brackets mine). 

Yet, so often, after we are born again, we find ourselves falling back into trying to earn God’s approval through our good works. I call this the performance syndrome, and I would venture to say that we have all been guilty of it at one time or another, especially those of us who grew up in particularly legalistic environments.

Most of the time, we are unaware that this happened. Hence, Paul’s use of the word “bewitched.” “Bewitched” means to be under a spell. Strong’s Concordance defines “bewitched” as follows: “to bring evil on one by feigning praise or an evil eye; to fascinate by false representations; to lead into evil doctrine.” 

When one is bewitched, one is taken mentally captive and is unaware of his mental captivity. When we are bewitched, we are unaware that motives other than God’s love have begun to corrupt our thinking. We begin to strive to earn God’s approval. We become tense and fear-filled, wondering if we’ve measured up. We often feel condemned when we mess up. 

So, Paul calls the Galatians “foolish” not in the sense that they lacked intelligence, but in the sense that they should have known better than to revert from a grace mentality to a works mentality. Paul Himself had taught them the truth about salvation, the truth that they had been saved only by faith. But they failed to live according to that truth.

Instead, they were acting as though they had been cast under a spell. Paul did not mean this literally, of course. He was referring to the culture of Galatia. The Galatians believed in what they called the evil eye. They believed that if someone looked into the evil eye, that person would be placed under a spell.

So Paul is warning the Galatians to stop looking into the evil eye of the doctrine that taught they could be saved by their works. Instead, Paul admonished the Galatians to keep their eyes focused steadfastly on Jesus. When we see Jesus clearly before us, we won’t be deceived.

The Galatians were guilty of performance syndrome.” Performance syndrome describes not so much the actions we perform as much as it describes the motives with which we perform them. We can perform the same actions because we love God or because we want to earn His love. The actions are the same, but the motives are different. 

Performance syndrome usually starts in childhood. It starts with lies we accept as truth, lies that lodge in our subconscious mind and affect us throughout our lives, unless we get rid of them. 

What are some of these lies? Here are a few we can start believing in childhood:

__If I don’t behave, Daddy and Mommy won’t love me.
__If I don’t do well in school, my parents won’t accept me.
__If my parents argue–or get divorced–it’s my fault.

Lies such as these become embedded in our subconscious mind. We begin to connect love and acceptance with performance. If we perform well, we will be loved and accepted. If we don’t perform well, we won’t.

After we’re born again, we begin to do the same thing with God. We begin to view God as we viewed our parents. We begin to think that in order to be loved and accepted by God, we must perform for Him. In other words, we need to earn His love and acceptance by what we do.  In short, we believe we must be perfect.

When performance syndrome rules our lives, we have no peace. We constantly strive to meet a standard, not realizing that the standard we are trying to meet can never be met by any human being.

But, praise the Lord, that standard was met in full by Jesus Christ. When we receive Him into our lives, we receive perfect, unconditional love and acceptance.

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“Jesus Christ earned our salvation for us and gave it to us as a love gift. The only thing we must do is accept His gift.” 
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Have you received Jesus Christ into your life? If not, I urge you to do so now. He will free you from performance syndrome, perfectionism, and ever other form of bondage in your life. Pray this simple prayer with me now:

Lord Jesus, I want to be free of performance syndrome and perfectionism. But You are the only One Who can set me free. So, I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sins. Create in me a clean heart. In Your Precious Name, I ask and receive. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He teaches you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and can guide you as you grow in Him.

If you are not yet a subscriber to the Winning with the Word blog and podcast, I urge you to click on the link below to subscribe now so you will not miss a single weekly episode:

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PLEASE TWEET: “Are You Struggling with Performance Syndrome?” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Now it’s your turn: How do you avoid the evil heart conditions the Bible describes? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

Photo Source: Gerd Altmann (Pixabay)
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For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . 

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Finally, be sure to check out my latest book, The Iron Saint. This book talks about the coming persecution of the Church and how you can prepare for it. The Iron Saint is available on Amazon and on my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Get a copy for your pastor as well. 

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word

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Photo Source: Jan Alexander, Pixabay

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Featured Book of the Week:  THE IRON SAINT by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

The Church in America is on the verge of a tremendous spiritual awakening, an awakening that will first be fueled by persecution unlike anything we have ever seen before in this land. Indeed, a prophetic word given in my home church during the month of November gave this warning to the Church: “Prepare for the fire of persecution!”

But the Church is not ready for this persecution. For the most part, the Church in America has been weak and lukewarm. Flabby and lazy. Consumed with the world and not with the things of God. As a result, the Church has been deceived and has subverted the divine order of things.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio seeks to help equip the saints for the work of true, integritous, and effective ministry. As a teacher in the Body of Christ, it is her burning desire to help correct this devastating error.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. Diorio has outlined a plan of action for strengthening the Church through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God. This plan of action is based on her own 50 years of walking with the Lord and being led by His Holy Spirit.

If you are a born-again believer and member of the Body of Christ, make this book a top reading priority.

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“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that helps you to deal with the daily problems of life by using the Bible as your guide to solving them. The Word of God will make you a success in life!

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Copyright 2000-2021 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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