God has a great sense of humor. He allowed me, a performance-based lover to be married to a man who has no comprehension nor ability to love me based upon my performance. As you can imagine, this inability has at times caused great angst in our marriage. A recent incident, brought it up once again; I was hoping to increase my husband's love for me based upon what I did. However, it did not turn out quite as I had imagined. As we discussed this, two simple sentences, one out of his mouth and one out of my mouth, broke open the floodgates to revelation, and I pray that I will never be the same again. And so once again, I laugh that God has me married to the one man who could love me in such a way that it would wake me up to realize that love can and should have nothing to do with my performance.
I freely admit that I am a recovering performance-based lover and I am looking forward to learning how to live a life free from the worry of performance and instead learn how to walk in the confidence of love. I will share with you the visual image I got in regards to this topic.
The visual: two love tanks: the first love tank is God's, the second love tank is mine. Now the following picture, is nothing that was taught to me but it puts language around much of the way I have lived my life. As I reflect on being a performance-based lover, the picture I see is that God's love tank has a little faucet that is always on and the faucet is labeled "Daily Quota of Performance." As the day goes by, the level of God's love for me in the tank begins to go down, slowly. My job, is to keep the tank full and the way I do that is through my performance. My performance adds love to God's love tank and if I do enough in one day the tank remains full. Who determines how quickly it diminishes or fills up? I suppose it is me. Some days I am happily reaching my "quota", some days I am panicky that it is not filling up quickly enough and other days I am devastated that there will never be enough that I can do to keep it full, so why even bother.
The second love tank is mine. It is situated next to God's love tank and it too wanes in its amount. In order to love others well, it needs to be full, but it often is half empty. The emotional result of this leaky tank is disappointment in and with others, because my perception is that others don't put in as much time and effort to fill me up as I do to them.
The main concept of my revelation is that God's love tank (and my husband's love tank) is always full. It is never empty, nor slowly leaking towards E. All this time, I have been putting in effort trying to "fill it up" with my performance. But in essence, that has been pointless. Why? Because, in regards to love, they can't tell the difference; their love tanks are already full, in fact overflowing, so when I pour my performance in attempting to fill it up, there is essentially no difference to them. Think of it as a bucket overflowing full of water. If you add a drop of water to it, are you going to be able to make significant note of it? On the other hand, if you toiled and strained hoping that one drop would make a difference you will end up feeling disappointment and exhaustion on your end.
Do you know one of the scariest Scriptures for a performance-based lover is the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25? The last thing we want is to be caught not doing one of the "things" and get sent away. We make a checklist:
Check, check, check, need to get on that one still... How often though? Everyday? Once a week? Once a lifetime?
Do you see? We still miss the point. If you will look at the passage again, you will see that the sheep didn't even know what it was that they did. They weren't the ones saying, "Remember that time I visited you in prison? Do you remember the time I fed that one guy, it was really you, wasn't it?" When Jesus sends the goats away the statement He says is, "I never knew you." Like Mary sitting at Jesus feet, the sheep took time to know and be known by God.
As I look at my marriage, I can guarantee you that my husband truly knows me better than I know him. It is probably because the last 18 years of our relationship, he took the time to get to know me. One example of the many ways he knows me, is that he can literally sense in 3 seconds or less if something is wrong with me. He knows me that well. Me, well I look forward to spending more time getting to know him, than doing things for him:)
The point of this post, beloved, is that God's love tank is ALWAYS full and overflowing. Because of that our performance cannot increase His love for us. In fact, you can see because of God's generous love for us that even the things we end up doing here on earth, will end up benefiting us in heaven: "Lay up for yourselves, treasures in heaven" or take the parable of the talents, " they are given even more in the end..." God's love tank is so full that it fills ours to overflowing. Remember tank 2? Mine used to be situated next to God's tank. I recommend getting a replacement tank and storing it within His tank. Perhaps your love tank, like mine, needs to be replaced from the hole-filled performance based tank, to the solid and secure love-based tank.
I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
So thank you, to my husband Josh, for loving me so well.