Saturday, January 25, 2014

P2-SFS3 - The Performance Trap

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Introduction – Chapters 3-10
  • In the next chapters we will examine four false beliefs resulting from Satan's deceptions, their consequences, and God's solutions for our false belief system
  • These false beliefs have varying effects depending on the person, their background, personality traits and other factors
  • The application of biblical truth will vary by person as well.depending on perceptions, methods of learning, and their individual
  • Chapters 3-4
    • False belief – I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself
    • Consequences – fear of failure, perfectionism, drive to succeed, manipulation of others in order to succeed, withdrawal from healthy risks
    • God's answer – Justification – God has not only forgiven me but also granted me the righteousness of Christ. Because of justification, I bear Christ's righteousness, and I am therefore fully pleasing to the Father (Rom 5:1)

Chapter 3 - The Performance Trap

  • Why do we sometimes tolerate failure in someone else, but we cannot tolerate it in ourselves?
  • If we can't tolerate failure, how many opportunities will pass us by without our taking the challenge?
  • How different would your life be without the fear of failure?
  • Most are unaware how thoroughly Satan has deceived us
  • We are captives of our inability to meet our standards consistently, and we are slaves of low self-esteem
  • This keeps us from experiencing the love, freedom and purposes of Christ.
  • We reach a true mark of maturity when we start to test our deceitful thoughts, by comparison with the Word of God (Col 2:8, 1 Cor 2:16)
  • We tend to believe that success will bring fulfillment and happiness, and we feel that if we meet certain standards we will feel good about ourselves
  • But we fail and this makes us feel bad. Even occassional failure may be so devastating that it dominates our perception of ourselves.
  • Failure to meet our standards threatens our security and significance
  • We become afraid to fail, and carry around a fear of failure
  • Some of us respond to the fear of failure by becoming perfectionists, continually driving ourselves towards attaining goals
  • Perfectionists can be quite vulnerable to mood disorders and often anticipate rejection when they believe they have not met the standards they are trying so hard to achieve
  • They tend to react defensively to criticism and have a need to be in control of every situation they meet
  • Because they are more competent than most, they see nothing wrong with their compulsions
  • The problem is not with wanting to do well, the problem is that they often base their self-worth on their ability to accomplish a goal
  • Failure is a threat and totally unacceptable for them
FEAR OF FAILURE TEST (give a score for each item in the list)
  • 1=always, 2= very often, 3=often, 4=sometimes, 5=seldom, 6=very seldom, 7=never
  • 1. Because of fear I often avoid joining in certain activioties
  • 2. When I sense that I might experience failure in some important area, I become nervous and anxious
  • 3. I worry
  • 4. I have unexplained anxiety
  • 5. I am a perfectionist
  • 6. I am compelled to justify my mistakes
  • 7. There are certain areas in which I feel I must succeed
  • 8. I become depressed when I fail
  • 9. I become angry with people who interfere with my attempts to succeed and as a result make me appear incompetent
  • 10. I am self-critical
  • Total your scores.
  • 57-70 = you seem to have a strong appreciation of God's love and unconditional acceptance. You seem to be freed from the fear of failure that plagues most people. (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 47-56 = the fear of failure controls your responses rarely or only in certain situations (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 37-46 = when you experience emotional problems they may relate to a sense of failure or some form of criticism. You probably relate many previous decisions to this fear. Many future decisions will be based on this fear unless you act to overcome it
  • 27-36 = the fear of failure forms a general backdrop to your life. This robs you of the joy and peace your salvation is meant to bring
  • 0-26 = experiences of failure dominate your memory, and have probably resulted in a lot of depression. This will stay this way unless you take direct action, time alone cannot heal your pain. You need deep healing in your concept of self, your relationship with God, and your relationships with others
  • Perfectionism – an unwillingness to fail
    • this can be in work, punctuality, housecleaning, our appearance, hobbies, skills
    • our motivations usually come from a desperate attempt to avoid the low self-esteem they experience when they fail
    • perfectionists are often appreciated because they can be counted on to do a thorough job – they are often taken advantage of for this reason
  • Avoidance of risks
    • new, challenging activities are avoided because of the risk of failure
  • Anger and resentment
    • When we fail, or when others contribute to our failure, or when we are hurt in some way, anger is a normal response
    • we look for someone to blame
    • fear of failure is often the source of self-condemnation
    • if we fail greatly or often enough, we can start to expect failure in most things we do
  • Pride
    • when our self-worth is based on performance, we can develop an inflated view of ourselves
  • Depression
    • depression is generally a result of anger turned inward, or from a deep sense of loss
    • experiencing and fearing failure can lead to depression
    • we may become emotionally numb and passive (blocking pain), or we may have outbursts of anger resulting from failure
  • Low motivation
    • low motivation or laziness is often due to hopelessness
    • if we believe we will fail we stop trying
  • Chemical dependency
    • many people try to ease their pain and fear of failure by using drugs opr alcohol
  • Addiction to success
    • when you succeed, tomorrow you will have to do it all over again
  • Sense of hopelessness
    • when you determine not to make a mistake it will paralyze you
  • Anger at ourselves and God
    • our anger at God stops us from receiving the help he willingly offers us
  • We will all experience the fear of failure to some degree
  • But with the Holy Spirit, our thinking can change
  • Romans 12:2, Eph 4:22-24
  • Psalm 107:33-36
  • Has your fruitful land become a salt waste?
  • Perhaps God is wanting you to learn something – that success or failure is not the basis of your self-worth
  • Perhaps he allows us to experience the pain of failure, so we can recognize it and grow and develop, and understand our own behavior as well as that of others

Discussion Questions

  • What are some situations where your performance did not measure up to the standard you had set yourself? (Think about the standards you set yourself, the thoughts you were having, your emotions, and your actions)

  • Why do people use performance as a measure of self-worth?

  • Do you have to be successful in order to feel good about yourself? What would you have to do to feel like a success?

  • In what areas would you never allow yourself to fail?

  • What Christian activities do you use to evaluate yourself spiritually? Do these make you more pleasing to God?

  • What things do you do in order to avoid failure?

  • What would your life be like without the fear of failure?