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Episode 202: How Performance is Keeping You From Obedience Part. 1

Today's episode, I want to talk about performance versus obedience; in last week's episode I read the room. I read the room means that I read my target audience; I read myself and realized that a lot of us have this type A personality and our personality traits are truly keeping us overwhelmed.


It’s keeping us from the things that God wants us to see and it's keeping us from having peace and living the way that he wants to live so I broke all of that down, but one of the things that I said in that episode is there's a difference between performance and obedience. I didn't elaborate on it then but I do want to elaborate on that now. So, when we look at the definition of the word performance. Performance is defined as an act of staging or presenting a play, concert or other form of entertainment. For my type A people, I'm going to get to us in a second, let me just stick with this definition.


So, performance is defined again as an act of staging or presenting a play, concert or other form of entertainment; Isaiah 29:13 in the message version says, ‘the master said “these people make a big show of saying the right thing but their hearts aren’t in it because they act like they're worshipping me but don't mean it.” “I’m going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears; the wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools, the smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing.”


And I wanted to talk about performance for a bit because it's important that we don't get to a place where we're so comfortable with the scriptures that we have memorized. Or we're so comfortable with talking about God when we get into the performance space as opposed to staying positioned to be able to truly hear from the Holy Spirit in real time. I had a dream recently and I know that God is calling me to high places and he's made me a leader, he's blessed me with this amazing platform. I’m naturally an observer so I’m not the person that despite having this podcast in real life, I’d really be chilling, I’m not a super talkative person.

I don't ever try to be the center of attention, it makes me super uncomfortable; I’m introverted, I can turn it on for business because it's my job but when I’m just in real life, I’m laid back in the back of the world talking to whoever's closest to me and that's it. So, as I observe things I would pray and I’ll be like “God, what's up?” “It seems like once people get on, something changes,” like I just started to see even people that I once placed on a pedestal and I looked up to so much I’m like “God, what what's going on, now things seem very performative.”


When you look on social media and stuff like that, it's about the best post and the deepest quote and all of this stuff I’m like “God, what's up with this?” And I had a dream recently where it was so interesting.


I’m not going to give the whole dream but a part of the dream was I was walking through, it was like this event space; well, it was two dreams, they were very similar. So, one part in one of the dreams where I was walking through this event space and I saw someone who's very popular and it was like this whole production being put on. It was weird, it was like they were marching around, it was weird, it was really, really weird and then I had another dream where people with similar concepts were very popular and it was this packed out room.


I was in like this community center and I was being taken, I was walking to these different rooms and one of the rooms that I walked into was a kitchen and so me and the person who's really popular, it was her and somebody else. They were there making chicken, so I was preparing chicken for the event and I was looking at them, they were seasoning the chicken up and I was talking to them but they were like not really paying me no mind or wasn't interested in what I had to say.


So, I was like “oh, shoot I'm not about to sit here and talk to y'all then” so I just kind of hung out; the two people were seasoning the chicken so then they started eating it raw. Listen; if you think of it like one of those big seasoning containers that you get from Costco or something, you’ve got one side that has the smaller holes and then one side that's big where you could dump a lot out. So, they had the big side open and were dumping all of this seasoning on this chicken and I’m sitting there looking like, I was like “dang, y’all ain't worried about hypertension?


That's literally what I said, I was like “y’all not worried about hypertension, that's a lot and they didn't say anything, they kept… because I told y'all they wasn't really full, it would be for whatever reason but they kept pouring all of this seasoning on this chicken. I’m looking like “that is about to be nasty” and so then, they started eating the chicken raw, nobody cooked it. It wasn’t fried, baked, air fried, none of that; they didn't take it to the sun and try to cook it, nothing, that joint was raw and they were crushing this raw chicken. I was like “this is disgusting, I don't know what y'all doing,” I rolled out, it was nasty.


Then I go to the event that I guess they were preparing for; now, I didn't know that that's where I was, I was in like a community center and I was walking into these different rooms. One of the rooms that I walked into was the event and I remember it being packed as far as bodies but the bodies were not lifeless, they were alive but it was very stale. It was no power or anything, it was very dark, very stale, it was just a lot of people gathered but nothing really happening, it was stale.


A lot of other stuff happened in that dream but for the sake of what I’m willing to share, when I woke up I was like “God, what's up, I don't want to be dreaming about nobody, like what's up with this?” And so he began to show me there's a lot of performance and everything just isn't what it seems, that's what the whole seasoning aspect was. Why was so much seasoning being put on and they ate it that way because it wasn't cooked, it wasn't anything to it, all of this stuff was being put on to present it well and that's why even at the event there was a lot of bodies in there but it wasn't no power, it wasn't no transformation, Holy Spirit wasn't there at all.


I believe he was also showing me and letting me know don't become like this you know what I mean? Because I don't think that anybody who gets into performance meant to do that, I'm not going to say anybody but I do believe most people don't intend to end up that way. And that's most of what we're going to be talking about in today's episode; how to make sure that we don't unintentionally end up being performance based or performative when it comes to our faith. But he just began to show me just how performative a lot of people in high places who say things in his name are and how hearts are far from him like the scripture says.


It even made me think about how when I first got saved and this is one of the ways a lot of us slip into performance. When I first got saved, one thing that kept me from truly living the life is I felt like when I gave my life to God, I was presented with this Christian handbook of a list of rigid rules that I had to follow in order to be approved by God and it kept me from really living that life. Because instead of giving God my heart and allowing him to change me, I looked at it as if I had to put on this mask and wear this uniform in order to be approved. And for a lot of us especially those of us who are millennials and generation Z and things of that nature, that's what kept a lot of us from the church.


That's what kept us from our grandmother's churches and things like that because there were a lot of rules that a lot of times were man-made and not even in the Bible in the first place but that's what kept us from it. That Christian handbook, that mask that we felt like we had to put on, it kept us from God and it kept us from the church. But then what I’ve started to realize is how we slip into performance is once we finally do give our hearts to God and we finally do start living for him, we begin to perpetuate those same toxic behaviors that kept us from him. I get messages all the time and people are like “what do you think about this or it might be something.


I don't know maybe a post or something and they're like “what do you think about this, I don't think that this is God and da-da-da” and I’m like, “first of all, what I think about stuff really don't matter, I’m not God so my opinion is really not that deep.” But then on top of that, I think it's just an example of how once we feel like we've arrived so to speak. Or we've gotten into a certain place with God because now we're finally living a righteous lifestyle, we start to turn our nose up at things. And I believe that it's important for us to understand especially you guys who are listening to this show because I tell you guys all the time that I look at you as powerhouses.

I look at you as people who are building meaningful things in the kingdom, no matter what stage of that you're in and it's important as powerhouses that we are self-regulating so that we don't fall into performance. So, we're not looking at people that God has called us to help and judging them by the things that they're doing or judging them because they posted something or we're looking at this like “oh that's not God” and then we become the judge and the jury.


Like I said, perpetuating those same toxic behaviors that kept us from the church and I don't believe it's intentional at all like I said before, but we do have to be mindful, we do have to be mindful as leaders how we're treating the people that God is sending us in whatever state that they're in. I want to go over a few things that keep us into performance because like I said, I don't want any of us unintentionally falling into this.


As I’m talking, I think about David; God said that David was a man after his own heart. What if somebody would have found out right, let's say this is social media. Social media age right, let's say somebody took a picture of David and Bathsheba and they go viral. And David is this leader, he's this mighty man, this man after God's heart and everybody spreading tea about “oh, David don't know God, he's a false prophet,” judging him by his mistake. Because when you go into performance you get into a space where you feel like you know everything and you’re self righteous.


Going back to Isaiah 29, it says “these people make a big show of saying the right thing but their hearts aren't in it.” It says that “they act like they're worshiping me but they don't mean it,” he said “I’m going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand on their ears, the wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools.” “And the smart people who think they knew everything will turn out to know nothing.” I think part of not drifting into this category that's being spoken about right here is for us to understand our own performative behaviors so that we are truly Holy Spirit led, we truly have a heart of humility and we are truly being like Christ.

A couple of things real quick that get us into performance; one of the ways that people slip into performance is not practicing stillness. He says to be still and know that I’m God and us as type A people because if you even look at performance definition right. Another definition of performance is the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing a task, function or action. Synonyms for performance mean achievement or accomplishment so we established last week that people with type A personalities value achievement and accomplishment.


But if we're not careful about falling into these things that get us into performance that I’m going to list out, our achieving nature is going to make us slip outside of the will of God. And slip into that category of being performers as opposed to being in the category of being positioned to be used by God. Our performative nature takes us away from being in position, it takes us out of obedience and it puts us into the category of performance and performance is not of God and again I can't stress enough, I don't think this is intentional.


I’m not talking about this for us to be down on ourselves or to try to pinpoint any flaws in anybody else but I’m talking about this because self-awareness is very important when you're doing the things of God and keeping your flesh in check is important. In order to keep your flesh in check you gotta know what's going on and that's where self-awareness comes in and in order for us to be obedient, we have to understand the difference between a performance and obedience.


Obedience, we first have to understand that you don't have to perform for God's love, we talked about that last week that God love is not something that has prerequisites to it that you need to check off in order for you to receive it. But the next level; the purpose, the business, the achievement, whatever it is that you're striving towards, there is a contingency on the promised land and that's obedience but the performance isn't going to get you into the Promised Land the obedience is.


It's very important that we understand the difference between performance and obedience so we keep ourselves positioned for the Promised Land. So let's identify real quick some things that get us into performance because I want to bring these things up and highlight them to you so that you can make sure that you don't unintentionally slip away from the place that God wants you to be in. The first thing was that by not practicing stillness we slip into performance and what I mean by that is, type A people, we always got something to do. We plan every little detail about every single thing, we know exactly where we want to go, we're working and we're grinding to make it happen and we get so busy to where we're getting ahead of God.


We get so busy and we make our lives so noisy that we're not positioned in a way to where the Holy Spirit can interfere, intervene and course correct as necessary; our to-do list is so packed, our schedule is so precise that we're not leaving any room for God to be present. So as an overachieving person, you have to make sure that you're setting aside time to be still whether it's the morning, the night, midday, whatever it is for you, you have to practice stillness. You have to not get ahead of God because again, that's going to take you into performance and take you out of obedience.


In order to obey you have to hear; in a little bit I'm going to talk about Abraham and in two instances God said Abraham and Abraham’s answer was I’m listening so if God is saying Tatum, if God is saying whoever insert your name here. Are you saying I’m listening or did you miss it because your schedule was so packed, because your type A got you so busy performing that you're out of position and now being disobedient? Another thing that gets us into performance is we stop doing the things that we did before the prayer was answered.


It's so funny how we're in this posture right, when you're really believing in God for something we get into this posture where it's like “I’m warring for this thing.” “I’m in my prayer closet for this thing; I’ve got scriptures all over the place, on my forehead, my kid’s forehead, the kitchen sink, the TV, the mirror, all of these places, the car door. The scriptures are everywhere, the back of your phone, you got alerts popping up, they're everywhere because you are believing in God for this thing and then when you get it how quickly you forget the one that gave it to you.


How quickly you forget the one who gave it to you and how you felt as you were waiting for the promise and that's why I tell you guys all the time to check God's track record. Don't just check it when you're feeling frustrated but check it every day to remind yourself of the God that got you out of the things that he got you out of so that you can understand that you still need them. We never stop needing God, never, but a lot of times our comfort ability takes us into performance and gets us out of position.


So all of that praying, all of that fasting that you did when you were waiting for God to answer your prayer of being a full-time entrepreneur. When you were waiting for God to release you to start your podcast, when you were waiting for God to bless you with that child and when you were waiting for God to give you that husband.


All of those things that you did to be in faith, decorating the nursery before you even got pregnant in faith, wearing let's say a band or something with a cross on your ring finger because you were believing in God to be a wife that your husband was going to replace that with a ring. All of these things that you did in faith, keep those things up because if you stop doing it, then you'll start to say… let me make sure I say it right, you don't want to get to a place where your actions are saying “okay God, I got it from here. Because that's where pride is going to get in, that's where performance is going to get in and that's when you're going to get out of position.

It's so easy to slip from obedience to performance and that's why we're going over these things because I want to highlight this to you guys so that you can make sure that you're constantly walking on one accord with the Lord. Another thing that gets us into performance is allowing the praises of people to get into your head and your heart; I say it all the time if you live by the applause you will die by the boos. I appreciate the repost of the podcast, I appreciate the reviews, I appreciate the emails and the social media posts and all of these things about how this podcast and the things that we do have impacted your life but I’m going to tell you right now, none of that stuff moves me.


It's nice but it does not move me, I’m listening for heaven's applause; like I told y'all earlier, when it came to this event, the testimonials are great, I’m happy that people are having a good time but my ear is up. Because I’m like “God are you proud, did I do you justice; is this what you wanted?” Because if I put my confidence, my value or even my emotions into what people say or the praises and the great things that they post, that means the second they turn away that's going to stop how I maneuver and how I go about things.


And whether y'all wasn't reviewing, wasn't posting, wasn't saying anything or if you were out there bashing me and this podcast completely, I need to still make sure that I’m obeying what God calls me to do whether it was received well or not. We talked about Jeremiah a lot, Jeremiah was not received well but he was obedient and he was successful in God's eyes because he was obedient to what God called them to do and say despite how it was received. He was upset about it, he was annoyed I would say by the fact that he had to keep telling these people stuff and they didn't want to hear, the fact that he was persecuted so hard by being obedient to God but he was obedient anyway.


And so a lot of you guys may find yourself in this comparison game where you're looking at people online or you're putting value in yourself based on how many likes something may get or what your numbers look like when you launch and all of that, no. The one you need to be making sure is liking and approving what you're doing is the Lord.


Now, if you're in business and you're not getting the conversion and things like that that you want to see, then it's time to make some business decisions and look at your business processes and fix that but don't put your value in that. If you're going to continue to obey God in that, if God calls you to be a mouthpiece and to do it on a podcast you need to do it whether it's zero people, whether it's one person, whether it's a hundred million people listening; you need to be just as obedient.


Whether you're in an event where it’s one person or an event where it's thousands of people, are you going to obey God and don't despise small beginnings. A lot of you guys who listen to this are just starting out, you're getting your footing, you're launching new things, you're having events, you're figuring out how things work. You need to do things right now with the level of precision and when I say precision type A's, I’m not talking about your works. I’m talking about the precision as far as your listening ear and obedience to the details that the Holy Spirit is having you doing, that's what I’m talking about.


I got to be clear with this because some of you are going to be like “well, see Tatum…” no, no, no, that's not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about being precise in your obedience, so wherever you are on your journey with your business, make sure that you're operating with that level of precision. As far as the sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in the details that he has you doing things now because that is the quality that's going to be transferable to whatever the next level is he has for you.


Wherever God has Anchored Media go next, the reason why we were able to take a four-day event that's in person online despite all the warfare that went into that. The reason why we were able to successfully do it is the same reason I was able to do a business breakfast about business with six people a few years ago. By just listening to the Holy Spirit, letting him tell me the details of what I needed to do and executing it while still having an ear to heaven to see where I need to course correct, how I need to change anything and just being sensitive to what he has me doing is the same thing. The levels in which that's applied may change, but the structure and the foundation is the same so never get to a place where you're allowing what you see or your perspective of success via the numbers and the applause and all of that to get into your head and into your heart.


You need to only be listening to the Holy Spirit. A lot of things that get us into performance is feeling spiritually inadequate for what God has called you to do; I'm going to say that again, feeling spiritually inadequate for what God has called you to do.


I felt that way very much so when it came to me changing over the podcast and I tell you all the time, I was like “God, why do you have me talking about you on a podcast, I’m not a pastor, I’m not a preacher, nobody in the church has released me to do whatever.” I felt inadequate to come on here and talk about him, I’m not a theologian, I didn't go to seminary school, I just read and comprehend and I pray and I fast and I do what you tell me to do. I felt like that wasn't enough because it didn't fit that Christian uniform that I was used to seeing so much.


I thought that I had to look a certain way and talk a certain way and fluctuate my voice a certain way because that's how the most spiritually mature people do it, but I didn't have to do any of that. I just had to be obedient to what God was telling me to do and that's it and be okay that he called me to do it, me in my inadequacies to do it because I am unqualified, that makes him get the glory. But I was so self-centered and focused on how I would look or how I wasn't, I, I, I that I didn't see it as an opportunity to glorify him.


And so I believe that a lot of us and thankfully, I didn't get into performance because I was like “look, if I’m going to do it then God, I gotta do it myself, I’m not trying to be nobody else.” I don't want to create a brand that I got to morph into some other person in order to keep up but a lot of people do. You change who you are because you don't see that you're qualified to be or do who God is calling you to be or what he is calling you to do and that makes you slip into performance. That makes you change the very unique things that he wants to use for his glory.


That makes you come on the mic all proper and pronounce your e's and r’s perfectly and put on this voice that's not even really you because you think it's better received as opposed to just coming on here, laying back and letting the Holy Spirit use you. Neck rolls, DMV accent and all so you guys, I do not want you to get into that place where your insecurities are making you perform because getting outside of the will of God comes from one compromise at a time. Disobedience comes from one compromise at a time and compromising in that way is the start of it, so be confident in yourself because of him.


The next thing that gets us into performance is being intimidated by those you admire in faith or business. Being intimidated gets you into performance because this just as a compliment to the last one is you feel like you got to change or prove yourself or prove that you belong where it is that God is taking you as opposed to just accepting that he made your name great and you can go ahead and enjoy that.


I had another dream, this was like months ago though and I was getting ready to board this private flight with someone I know in real life who's very, very successful and there were a bunch of people with her who were her people, they didn't know me. So, I had my stuff, I was ready to go, we were about to get on that flight and they were like “who is this, what's she here for?” And they were looking at me like they were trying to figure me out so then I can't remember, did she tell them who I was?


No, that was me because there is a lesson in this. So, they were looking at me like “well, who is she, why is she here” so then I got offended and I was like “hey, hold on” and I started explaining myself. Like “I do this, my name is such and such, nice to meet you” and after they found out who I was and what I did and the success or whatever that I had, they started treating me differently and they were like “oh, well come on…” and it was interesting. So, when I woke up, I was like “God, what's up because I’m just trying to sleep.”


It was a lesson that he just continues to give me like “I’m going to make your name great, don't go anywhere thinking that you got to explain yourself and don't feel like you got to show and prove to anybody just go and just be.” “I’ll do all the work, I’ll make sure that your name is great, I’m going to put your name in the mouth of people in high places, don't go in there feeling intimidated.” “Or feeling little to the point where you feel like you got to explain who you are and poke your chest out, just go be, walk with a subtle confidence that I’ve already made a seat at the table for you, you just got to go and sit in it, that's all.


So, I believe we respond to intimidation in one or two ways; in that dream in particular I felt intimidated because I already felt like “whoa, I’m about to fly private with this person, how did I get here?” They're so important, they’ve got all of these things that's happening because I’m looking at it, my interpretation of course is based off of what I know and all I know is what's happening right now. I’m like “yo, how am I on this private flight with this person, they’ve got all of this stuff going on, I’m not at that level.”


And so, I responded to the intimidation by trying to prove myself so to speak, I don't even know, it was just something that made me feel like I had to be like “no, I belong here” when I really didn't feel like I belonged there; that was my personal response to it. You may respond to it by shrinking totally, by being like “well, I’m not getting on a plane at all because I don't deserve to be here” and just running away from it. We all respond to it in different ways, but we have to understand that responding to it puts us into performance so I responded in that dream in performance because I had to perform to be like “oh, I belong here.”


I do this, I do that; I don't need to do that, I just need to be because it's God who makes my name great, I don't gotta tell them how great I am, that's not my job. So, in that dream I responded in performance and it was God letting me know this is how you don't need to act when I take you to these places. I need you to walk in there with confidence in me; like I said, walking in there knowing that I made the seat at the table for you and you just have to sit in it and that's it.

Again, as I said, performance causes you to compromise so my performance in that instance could have led to me feeling like now I got to do this to further show and prove that I’m somebody. So now my ego and now I’m doing all this to feed my ego which is taking me out of position when I just need to remain still and remain in a position to where I’m hearing from the Holy Spirit so that I can continue to be obedient because that's where pride comes in. That's when God now gotta take it all away from you because you're mismanaging it so again, don't allow being intimidated by those who you admire in faith of business to cause you to fall into performance.


The last thing that gets us into performance you guys is being a hearer of the word and not a doer. You can be obedient to God's word when you know and understand what it is, you can pass a test when you have read and comprehend what it is that you study. But a lot of us, we scripture clip ourselves to death of these little one verse out of a whole book and we take that to try to memorize it. Or we take bits and pieces of other scriptures or whatever and just memorize those to where you can say these scriptures, we all know that there’s a ton of popular scriptures we all know by heart but can you be a doer of the word?


Is it so deep in your heart to where you can live that out and if the word isn't deep in your heart to where you can live that out, you're going to be performance based because what else are you acting from, you know what I mean? What are you rooted in if it's not the word of God to the point where you can live it? So, we are not to be just hearers of the word we are to be doers of the word as well so make sure that you're not just regurgitating scriptures that you've heard so many times but you are truly understanding context, that you're understanding the people involved.


The lessons there, how it correlates to the big picture, all of the details that you're studying in it and all of the nuances so that you can internalize it and know then how to apply it to whatever it is that you're doing that's what keeps you in obedience. If not, you're just going to perform by just basically spewing out scriptures but you're not living it. So, for the sake of time, I’m going to wrap this up right here and we'll continue on with this next week.


Thank you guys so much for listening to another episode of the Blessed and Bossed Up Podcast. Again, if you guys want to learn more about Anchor Media and the Find Your Voice Academy Retreat, applications are now open, click the link in the show notes or go to anchormedia.com to get the replay and the application. I’ll see you guys in a couple days because this episode's coming out Sunday and the next one's coming out tomorrow but I will see you guys tomorrow.


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