Where Performance Anxiety Crosses the Line and Sickens the Soul


He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. (Proverbs 3:34)

4 Ways a Christ-centered Outdoor Lifestyle Heals the Achilles Heal of Performance Anxiety

At times in my life, of my Achilles Heels has been performance anxiety. This is one of the reasons why I love time in the wilderness so much because prunes off those performance branches in my life and puts to death those roots of pride. Here are four ways to see more spiritual fruit in your outdoor lifestyle.

1. Don’t Take Any Credit

One of the benefits of keeping Christ at the center of your life is that he pushes me to attain new goals or skills while keeping me humble. Whenever we start to take credit for any of our talents or accomplishments, the joy of the adventure disappears. When we give praise and glory to Christ through our adventurous pursuits we are able to experience the treasures of deep joy and pleasure that adventure is meant to offer.

2. Humility Keeps us Down to Earth

One of the aspects I love about an outdoor lifestyle is that when I climb, I’m motivated to climb higher, or when I endure a challenging trek, it instills a longing to keep exploring. For the spiritual life these lessons from the wilderness can be like page-turners in the ever expanding story of your life. Although some adventure seekers can become prideful as they collect a log book of achievements, I think for most of us the outdoors keeps us down to earth.

3. Look at the Spiritual Fruit/Character in Your Life Rather than Your Performance

There’s nothing inherently wrong with working hard to achieve goals and attain new heights of performance. Yet if I don’t surrender my will to Christ daily, my motives will get all out of whack. One effective way to evaluate whether you are healthy in your various pursuits in life is to look at the fruit it is producing in your life. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control (Galatians 5:22). If we want to take a Christ-like approach to pursuits, we need to evaluate our maturity based upon spiritual fruit being produced in our lives rather than performance.

4. Grace Produces Fruit and Performance Anxiety Produces Emptiness

Grace leads to full enjoyment of our various pursuits, and performance leaves us empty. This is true of relationships, work, sports, just about anything where we have ambition to press further.

Make a Change

Are you driven? Are you performance driven? If that is one of your Achilles heals, then take some time to humble yourself before God and give him praise for all of the talent and opportunities he has given you to enjoy the outdoors. Then commit to a healthy approach to outdoor pursuits where the fruit of the Spirit is your aim rather than performance.




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7 thoughts on “Where Performance Anxiety Crosses the Line and Sickens the Soul

  1. I couldn’t get to the full article. The link to shout takes you to a different post you wrote!

  2. I can resonate with the article on being a servant leader. I feel as though God has given me the gift of a servant’s heart and I do my best to serve others even when they aren’t looking. I find sometimes that I desire the adoration and recognition for all the hard work it is to serve others behind the scenes or under the radar. When that happens, I need to ask God why I feel that is a necessary thing for me to have and what I need to let go of. I just love the picture of the CEO walking towards the stream with pots in hand, not caring if he got recognized for doing it. Something that I wish to strive for is an attitude and a heart that is only concerned about serving God by serving others. My focus and motivation needs to always be God and come out of love for Him and not from a need for recognition from other people.

    • Thanks for your reply Ben. Can you think of an example of someone you’ve observed in your life modeling servant leadership like the CEO in this story?

  3. What I love about running is that as I push myself to greater distances and faster times, I’m not always successful in reaching those goals. This helps to keep me humble, and helps me appreciate more than just results. The same can be true when climbing new peaks, daring to try new adventures, etc. Sometimes the overall result is not what we planned, but that does not mean it was a failure. Good things to remember.

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