My course on Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck, was mostly designed for people who have a general sense that they could be moving forward, but are not.
It came from my own experience of feeling in a "rut" in different phases and areas of my life: relationally, career, financially, spiritually, and creatively.
There wasn't necessarily anything "wrong" per se, except that I had a low-level feeling that for every one step I took going forward, I was taking two steps back.
One of the biggest sources of being stuck, now that I have some perspective, was being in an unhealthy church.
I will talk about signs of an unhealthy church later because I really do think it creats all kinds of problems. Unhealthy churches, especially when the pastor, himself, is unhealthy, creates an environment which can both suck the life and soul out of you, but also keeps you stuck....like a fly in a web.
However, through teaching and directly coaching people through my online course (I have a unique offering called "Interactive Worksheets" where I asked insightful questions online in a private exchange and provide direct, personalized feedback)....I have noticed a pattern.
Many people have an "anxiety" over their spiritual standing with God.
They aren't sure if they are doing the "right" things.
This surprised me, and I grew increasingly concerned.
Since I am preparing for my next teaching series -- "Mighty: A Man's Guide on How to Survive and Thrive in the High Performance Workplace" -- I have been thinking a lot about performance.
The anxiety I have felt, and many people do, around performance-driven cultures is much greater when you don't know the metric. If you are wondering, "How am I being evaluated?" without knowing what the criteria are, you are setting yourself up for alot of anxiety.
High-performance cultures can still have challenges even when the critieria is clear; but imagine having confusion in how to assess your own performance.
This is the same in terms of how we find peace with God.
The problem that Christ came to save was that unhealthy churches and religious leaders created really difficult performance milestones.
Here's Jesus speaking according to Luke 11:46:
"Yes," said Jesus, "what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden.
Religious demands are the performance demands that, on the surface, appear clear because they were written down as law.
But they created anxiety -- real burdens -- because they were either a) unattainable or b) still not clear.
For example, the law says, "‘Do not commit adultery." But it's possible someone could wonder what that means. Does it mean having sex with someone who is married? What is sex? What about if you are both in love with each other, is that still adultery?
However, Jesus makes it very clear what it means -- by making the standard impossible!
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
If Jesus left it at that, he would certainly have been creating a burden. Perhaps he added clarity, but he made the standard impossible.
However, Jesus is showing that the standard is impossible to make a point: no one, on their own, can ever meet the standard.
So instead of sweating and worrying over it....to rest in him, and let Christ take the load.
In this way, he frees people from this anxiety and worry.
The performance-driven world comes into clear focus in the work place, which is why I am teaching about it.
But it's deeper implications strike at the heart of our soul when we let it affect our spiritual standing with God.
Freedom from the performance standard in terms of righteousness seems to be the essential, foundation in Christ...one that is easy to miss, sometimes hard to accept, but perhaps the only way to find real rest.