Freedom From Performing by Becky Harling, is a honest book written for those readers who are ambitious, perfectionists who feel they must always be the center of attention; who are addicted to power and approval. We all know people like this, yet certainly none of us likes to admit these characteristics ourselves. As the author admits, "Sometimes I recieved the kudos and strokes I craved. Other times I failed miserably, and when the applause didn't come, I felt defeated and very much a loser. I craved an inordinate amount of affirmation from others." page 15 Yet at times I felt that the author admitting to being a perfectionist, is a bit self serving as if she is patting herself on the back. After all, it is much easier to admit that you are guilty of perfectionism and over performing, than say for example, to admit that you have a problem with poor hygene, or a weight problem or a problem with theft or gambling or drinking. Additionally, even in our churches and in "Christian" circles or cliques, this drive for power is all too common the motivation for many women where as "godliness was defined by how well one followed the rules rather than by gracious life transformations", page 15. We are all aware of those hypocrites in our churches who wear expensive clothing and jewelry on Sunday, and who volunteer in key positions to be the center of attention. For example, it is all too common to see women who sing on the worship team, simply for the purpose of acquiring praises and attention from the audience rather than seeking the glory for God.
The author is very empathetic, and addresses the reader as a personal friend offering the reader gentle advice- helping her to confront her misdirected need for outside attention from others rather than seeking God. Nevertheless I found that the author was a bit too dismissive and permissive with the concept of personal sin and guilt. For example, she mentioned that oftentimes, infertile women will feel an immense amount of guilt over an abortion they may have had years earlier and even blame their infertility as a consequence of the abortion. As a result, these same women feel as if they are being punished for their abortion. The author, becky Harling discounts that possibility- the connection of an abortion to the physical consequence of infertility later in life. Nevertheless, our sins and actions, oftentimes have real life consequences here in this imperfect and fallen world. That doesn't mean that the woman who had an abortion is going to hell. Perhaps her remorse and guilt was instrumental in leading her to eternal salvation. But just because we are saved that does not mean that we are also saved from the earthly consequences of our sinful actions are always removed. To imply there is no connection between an abortion and infertility is simply wrong and misleading to the reader that may have experienced the pain and subsequent guilt of abortion and infertility. That isn't to say that infertility can always be traced to a prior abortion- its just that it is wrong to tell a half truth just to make a woman feel better about herself.
Aside from that, in general this would be a good book for any performance driven woman. It frees the reader from believeing that one must be a perfectionist. Rather, we must use our talenst, or lack of talent, for the glory of God. This book is like a course in humility. After each chapter is a bible study to allow the reader to meditate on what she has learned. As a blogger for NavPress, I recieved this book form Navpress publishers for the purpose of writing this review.