When You Catch Yourself Seeking Worth in Your Work

Today is time for a little soul talk. 

Have you ever felt like you haven’t earned the right to say “No”?

Have you felt like you have to get further, be better, move faster. . .  before you can give yourself time to breathe? 

Insecurity opens the door to pressures our souls were never meant to carry: the weight of our own performance. The “can’t-say-no” pressure to perform is an old habit I thought I’d left behind.

Seeking our self worth in our work is a soul temptation. Perfectionism and insecurity create pressure our souls were never meant to carry: the weight of our own performance.

When You Catch Yourself Seeking Your Worth in Your Work

Reflecting on lessons of the past year, I finally understood something important. Something my soul needed to see.

Though I’ve been writing and speaking for 10 years, I’m fairly new to this author and editor life. Working in the publishing industry is a larger arena where the pressure to grow platform, reach, and numbers is very real.

I felt I hadn’t earned the right to say “No” to any possible opportunity to write, speak, teach, or train. And so I tried to do it all.

Maybe you’ve heard a similar accusation whispered to your soul in a vulnerable moment. A moment when your job felt too big, your responsibility too great, or your gap too wide.

Have you ever wrestled with your yes’s and no’s, only to realize you’ve slipped into the flesh pattern of seeking your worth through the things you accomplish? Even when you tried not to? Me too.

Friend, this is a hard one. A temptation that slips in quietly when you’re not looking.

Seeking Our Worth in Our Work is a Soul Temptation

The desire to do our best can morph into a determination to prove ourselves, especially when we are in a new job, new season or new field. Or anytime exhaustion, insecurity, expectation, or comparison makes us worry that we aren’t good enough.

Our schedule careens out of control because our effort is never enough. We can’t afford to miss an opportunity or make a mistake. The job never feels finished so we try harder. The next milestone is still far away so we try harder and run faster. Can you relate?

Friend, to tell you the truth, I’m uncomfortable making this post all about me. Something in me balks at revealing my struggles or shining a light on my weaknesses. It’s that pesky issue called pride, another soul temptation to talk about another day.

But here’s the beautiful thing, humility frees me to be brave. I’ve received  unexpected blessings from this journey that have softened my edges and given me courage to simply be who I am. . . where I am.

I trust my words will encourage you to embrace this truth:

Do you need to back up and read that statement aloud to yourself? Go ahead, I’m repeating it too.

Your worth is in who you are, not what you do. Encouragement for when you catch yourself seeking your worth in your work.

Your Worth is in Who You Are not What You Do

We all need reminders that God is at work in whatever is happening in our lives. We are never working alone. Our worth is in who we are, not what we do.

And just maybe, this post will inspire you to slow down to receive the gifts God has for you in the work you accomplish today. Slow down to remember that your identity is in Christ, not in your profession or roles.

Is Fear of Failing Impacting Your Pace or Your Work?

If some is good, more is better, or so says the world.

I’d love to say I don’t let this old lie influence me any more, but I still trip over this one at times. More often than I’d like.

On the outside, the do-more mentality glitters with good things like goals, determination, and productivity. We need a healthy level of focus, motivation, and effort to complete the work we are called to accomplish.

Insecurity and fear getting lost in the crowd simmered beneath my good intentions and worthy goals. I still have to make the effort to silence the “not enough” voice in my head because perfectionism doesn’t go quietly.

Last year God enabled me to accomplish many beautiful things in the midst of a busy pace. There were so many blessings, great experiences, and wins–it was a great year on many levels!

Busy with an ambitious travel schedule of conferences and speaking events, I was rarely home for more than three weeks at a time. I also juggled a part-time job, family commitments, writing, editing, ministry work, and took a counseling class.

Consistency in many areas of life was hard to sustain in a cycle preparation and catch up. Do you find your pace hard to sustain as well? When we succumb to finding our worth in our work, our schedule can outpace our energy.

Shrugging our shoulders, we tell ourselves that margin is a luxury rather than a necessity.

I also lead publishing for Planting Roots, a ministry for women in the military community that is growing, which is really exciting! You can see three of the Planting Roots books I edited and formatted here. What a beautiful gift to help bring the words of others into the world.

As with many new endeavors, I was constantly aware of what I didn’t know. Pressing through the learning curve of new skills saps energy. It gobbled up more bandwidth than I expected as each task was harder and took longer than planned.

With expansion comes more responsibility that can stir up old insecurities.

Along with the joy and excitement of growing in our work, there are many transitions and challenges when God expands our territory. We run hard and fast, dashing from one meeting to the next as the tasks pile high.

If this sounds like your life, hang onto the truth that your worth is not in your work. This is an often-overlooked aspect of discipleship—guarding our hearts to truly live out of our identity in Christ. 

Note to my soul: You are enough. Your worth cannot be measured by your work. Encouragement to let go of the performance trap.

A Note to My Soul

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.—Galatians 5:25 NIV

Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. –1 Peter 5:7 AMP

Be encouraged with a soul note Father shared with me in my quiet time. 

You are deeply loved and secure in Me. I love you for who you are. Your work is one part of your life. When you seek your worth in your work, you will starve your soul.

Don’t confuse the outcomes you see today with your value. Today isn’t the end of the story.

Seek Me each day with an open heart and open hands so your soul can let go of the idol of performance.

Follow My lead and keep in step with Me. Slow down to receive My love and  peace. Because of My love, it is well with your soul.

How about you, friend, is it well with your soul today?

 

 I also write about the holy habit of entrusting our work to God in the last chapter of my book, Holy in the Moment. If this topic resonates with you, you might also enjoy these related series:

If I Get it All Together. . .

If I Get it All Together, Where Will I Put It?

If I Get it All Together, How Much is Enough?

If I Get it All Together, How Long Do I Have to Keep it Up?

If I Get it All Together, What if I Trip Over It?

If I Get it All Together, What if I Mess it Up?

The Truth That Sets Us Free From Trying to Get it All Together

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