Chapter 4 Search for Significance: How to Find Freedom from the Performance Trap

Sep 21, 2015

Week 4 Focus Verse

“Neither success nor failure is the proper basis of our self-worth. Christ alone is the source of our forgiveness, freedom, joy, and purpose.” Robert McGee, Search for Significance, 45

This is a truth I as a Mom so desperately need to hear. So often the way I feel about myself is a reflection of how my house looks, my children behave, or my to-do list. If I’m firing on all cylinders then I feel like, “Wow! I’ve got this!” but when something goes wrong or isn’t working, I feel like a failure. But that isn’t where God wants me.

He wants me to realize my actions should not be where my self-worth lies. He says through Jesus I’m forgiven and accepted, period. No hedging, no excuses. Most days I need this truth to sink down to my toes. I want it to anoint my thoughts and beliefs, so it can affect my actions.

Allowing God’s truths to affect my actions is so hard on some days! However, If I live a life based on performance, Galatians 5:1-4 says I reject what Christ did for me:

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision [performance] to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised [performing], you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from grace. (NLT)

And before this in Galatians 2:21 Paul says,

I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law [our performance], then Christ died for no purpose. (ESV)

When I read these verses and for the first time really understood them, it made me so sad for so long I had lived as if Christ’s death meant nothing. I had accepted His gift, but then essentially said, “Thanks in all, but I really need to perform well in order to be right with God, too. Christ, your death just wasn’t enough.”

Instead, when I really understood how much God loves me and I’m totally acceptable to Him because of what Christ did, it freed me. Instead of feeling like I had to “walk right, and talk right, and sing right, and pray right,” like the children song goes, I could instead live out my life from a place of joy and freedom and thankfulness.

I cannot begin to describe how much better life is on this side of freedom. Instead of stressing about the giant pile of clothes on my table, I can meet my hubby for lunch and a much needed date. Instead of fearing my boys’ behavior in public reflects badly on me and disciplining for the sake of my audience, I can pull them aside and discipline in a way that aims for their hearts. Instead of stressing over my long to-do list, I can enjoy these last days of summer and push my boys on the swing one more time.

Yes, I still slip into the performance trap. This growth is a process, but I now know I don’t have to stay trapped. I want to continue to grow and live in the freedom that was gifted to me when Christ died on the cross and made me justified and acceptable to God.

Do you want freedom, too?

This week as we read chapter 4 in The Search for Significance, McGee addresses some of our road blocks to receiving God’s truth and finding freedom. Then he gives some reasons for why we choose to follow God even while living free. This week you’ll gain the knowledge to help you begin to find freedom from the performance trap.

To begin let’s discuss in the comments:

During the past week, were you able to identify the false belief: I must meet certain standards in order to feel good about myself? If so, how did you respond? What difference did it make when you realized that you are forgiven and pleasing to God?


Additional Resources:

If you’d like daily encouragement this week, come and join us this week in our Facebook group as we discuss this chapter and learn how to apply it’s truth to our daily lives.

Week 4 Study Plan Week 4 Apply

Do you find it hard to study the Bible?

It doesn’t have to be.

Let me help you learn a technique for studying that makes it simple. Join me as we study one chapter each week and memorize two verses of scripture each month.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.


  1. Terri Wilson

    Wonderful thoughts! Thank you for taking the time to express and share so well


      Thank you so much for your kind words, Terri! They are such an encouragement to me. This is a subject near and dear to my heart.

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