No More Performance Anxiety
Written by Samantha Ann Waring-Jolicoeur
Racing thoughts, constant tossing and turning at night, lack of sleep, frustration, poor eating habits, agitation, fear, worry, panic, nervousness, rushing, stress, confusion, feeling scatter brain, feeling like a failure, etc., the list can go on and on regarding the effects of performance anxiety.
Many jobs have high demands, exhausting challenges, high unrealistic expectations, and burdensome demands. It is easy for many individuals that work within organizations that have these issues to experience performance anxiety. Often time these same individuals care about their organization, the work that they do, and want to do an excellent job; however, they get distressed when things are not going well. This may be due to worrying about how things may appear to those looking in.
I read an article about how teachers cope with Sunday night anxiety see link https://www.weareteachers.com/sunday-night-anxiety/. This is where I learned about the term performance anxiety. When I read the term performance anxiety, it was a revelation for me. The term are two words put to feelings I experienced for years but could never explain at the core using words. I thought to myself I know all too well this foe, performance anxiety. For years I struggled with keeping up with high work demands, wanting with all my heart to do an excellent job, only to feel like the expectations were unrealistic and that I was doing a half behind job. I would constantly say to myself “I rather do three tasks well than ten tasks cutting corners.” At times with evaluations and sometimes unrealistic expectations due to deadlines hovering over me, I didn’t think I was doing an excellent job. This led to me worrying about how people viewed me, what they thought about my efforts, work, results, and overall ability. If it were not for the Lord giving me the strength to overcome these thoughts and feeling it would have hinder and debilitate me forever in more ways than it did. I will admit it has in the past caused me to stumble, give up, and throw in the towel more times than I would like to admit. If I knew then what I know now, I would probably have dealt with several things differently. Thank God it is never too late to learn and change.
There are several things I dislike about performance anxiety. I dislike that it robs an individual of the joy of the work that they do. Instead of just doing their best, enjoying the work they do, and simply being the blessing they are, performance anxiety causes people to think more about what others think to the point of people pleasing and doing things for eye service. Thoughts such as what are they saying, what will they say, what will they think, what will they do to me, will I look bad, how do I look, people will not understand, I will lose my job, etc., becomes consuming. Those thoughts can immobilize and cause a person to begin to do a substandard job. No longer are they doing work from the heart but it can become more about performance to live up to the opinions of others. Everything becomes one big show. This leads to fake, phony, fabricated work, and lies not to mention racing thoughts, constant tossing and turning at night, lack of sleep, frustration, poor eating habits, agitation, fear, worry, nervousness, rushing, stress, confusion, feeling scatter brain, feeling like a failure, etc. At this point performance anxiety is ruling the person’s output.
Thank God there is a remedy for performance anxiety. God is a healer and deliverer. He can give one word to combat any attack against the mind, emotions, soul, spirit, body, etc. He spoke to my heart about what combats performance anxiety. He said, “The way to get rid of performance anxiety is to do all things as unto me.” Here is the scripture
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24 – KJV).
God speaking that scripture to my heart was a breath of fresh air. Just to think, understanding that we are to do what we do with all our heart as unto God can stop us from operating in performance anxiety. It doesn’t mean that we won’t feel anxious at times but we can by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit call on God to help us look to Him, trust Him, and do our work as unto Him. God is more appreciative, understanding, and merciful than any man or boss could ever be. He knows when we are working diligent and that is what matters most regardless of what anyone else see, thinks, or what they think they know. God is not an ill-mannered foolish task master that expects for us to do the impossible in human strength. God knows our work load, time available, resources available and all the other nuances we faced throughout the work day. God will reward us for what we do beyond our pay check and accolades from man.
The Holy Spirit also brought to my remembrance the following scripture in Ephesians 6:6-8:
Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord (Ephesians 6:6-8 – HCSB).
Although slaves were addressed in these verses, we can take the lesson from it and apply it in our daily service in the market place or in any context we are working. On our jobs we are to obey our bosses and leadership as long as they are not asking us to sin against God and that they stay within the contractual terms we signed. Anything that trespasses against God should not be adhered to. In addition to this; if necessary, we can abstain from doing what we cannot live up to outside of the contract responsibilities stipulated. We are to work with due diligence not to please men, but because we are servants of Christ and we are doing God’s will to be excellent employees with all of our heart. God wants us to have a good attitude and when we don’t we can confess it to Him and He will help us. He knows it gets rough and totally understands. God is our rewarder. The paycheck we get is what we earned.
So, what are the implications of all this? Freedom from performance anxiety!! Thank you Lord! We can resolve to do the best we can do according to the power of God working in us with the ability, gifts, talents, time, and resources He has given us. We can yield to Jesus. Remember we work for God first! With this in heart and mind, by His grace, we do not have to worry or fear bosses, leaders, or what others are thinking about our work performance. We can ask God to help us to be teachable, open to change, constructive criticism, feedback, and new ways of doing things, but anxiety cannot be tolerated to persist. Each time it comes we can call on God to reject it. No stress no mess. God says be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication to make our request known unto Him and the peace that passes all understanding shall keep our heart and mind in Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:6,7. Let Us Pray!
Prayer – Father God it is inevitable that performance anxiety will come against me. I ask that I do not accept it and keep in mind that I am do things as heartily as unto you. I pray to do an excellent job, respect my bosses and leaders, serve who I serve with love and excellence, and operate in integrity in all that I do. I call on you for ability, understanding, empowerment, strength, and to be teachable. I ask that you work through me to your praise, honor, and glory. I am blessed to be a blessing and declare I bless others. You alone get all the praise, honor, and glory for the good that I do. No more living and performing with a heart full of anxiety and trepidation, but serving you with love, hope, peace, and joy. Thanks Father! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Thanks for Reading, God Bless You
Samantha Ann Waring-Jolicoeur