As I begin my day this morning, being mentally tired after a long work week, I began to think why is humankind so obsessed with performance? Why must we always do, perform, achieve? Why can't we just be?
It has been ingrained into us the "need" to be better. We are to meet standards, to achieve and even exceed the targets of our KPIs (key performance indicators). I know all that, it is part of my work in HR consulting. But why?
Why can't we just be who we are? Sure, you may say that we need to progress and be better, but why? Why can't we just be?
Let's imagine how it would be if we do away with being better? We just stay and be who we are. Yes, we may do things and be productive, but not for the sake of being better but just do and produce things, just read and accumulate knowledge, just live and let live, just be who we are.
I know, that is where it begins to sound weak and even ridiculous. We surely are imperfect - just look at us and humankind in general. Looks like it's a must and even mandatory for us to be better than what we are now.
Still, that begs the same question: Why?
I have two observations.
One, all this race for higher and better performance points very clearly to the existence of one perfection, one standard, the best, not the creme of the crop, not the top performers, but the One. And for it to be the One, it has to be a Supreme Being, not a plethora of gods, but one God.
Two, all this race to meet that perfection is because of the Original Sin, the greatest sin of the humankind: wanting to be god. Our relationship with God became severed because of that act, and as much as we strive and work at being good, we will never be satisfied. We want to reach perfection. We want to be perfect. We want to be god. To put it milder, we want to run our own lives, with our own standards, with our own ethics, with our own effort, to say that we have done it. In short, we want to be the controller of our own lives, to be our own god.
But what about us Christians?
Our severed relationship with God is reconciled. Knowing that we are not able perform and achieve that reconciliation - we are far from being perfect and not even close to reaching Him to begin with - He came to us instead as the Perfect Son. He reconciled us to God by paying the debt for our sin, the sin of wanting to be the god of our own live,s which leads to a life without God and that means death.
So Jesus died that death for us and He was severed from the Father at His death. But He is God and God is life. Death does not have the hold on Him and He was risen. And with Him, we also rise from our death and become reconciled to the Father.
With that reconciliation, we are letting go the desire to be our own god, and let God rule our lives.
Being imperfect beings who spends more and more time daily with the perfect God in obedience, we will become more and more like Him and thus, more and more perfect.
So perfection comes through obedience, not striving. There will no longer be a race and struggle to perform. Instead, we will be more eager to obey.
How will this be played out in our lives, at home, at work, at study?
Yes, we still work to meet the standard and targets given to us, by others and even ourselves. It is our duty and prerequisite to live here on earth. But it will not be done as a blind endeavour for more and more, or for the sake of having more, being more and taking more.
The reason to achieve, to perform and to be better is done as an obedience to God. That will involve surrendering to God, offering as a worship to him in what we do, trusting in His grace to be sufficient, loving one another in living our lives.
If only we can station that into our hearts, minds and soul, can we release the temptation to gain for the sake of self.
We do not have to be better, we only need to obey and through that obedience, we will be better.
With that worked out in my mind, it will certainly make me look at work more differently now.