Step off the performance treadmill

18 Jul

Book Review: The pressure’s off: Breaking free from rules and performance, by Larry Crabb

Many of us are far more comfortable with a vending machine god than with a sovereign, personal one. We believe that if we push the right buttons and pay the appropriate price, then we are guaranteed to receive whatever we selected. When delivery doesn’t happen on time, when we receive a different result, or when the machine breaks down and hurts us in the process, then we cry out that life is not fair.

According the author Larry Crabb in his book The pressure’s off: Breaking free from rules and performance, that is the “Old Way” of living—that following the rules guarantees a good life, and that God is important because he dispenses blessing. The “New Way” is to recognize that God does not guarantee ease or convenience, or even a good outcome as the result of your obedience. But he does promise himself, no matter what the circumstances of your life.

These two approaches to life are contrasted in a chart the author includes towards the end of the book.


Old Way of Living

New Way of Living

Core attitude

My will be done

Thy will be done


Core Hope

I expect good things to follow

I expect to become like Jesus


Core Strategy

I will figure out what to do and do it

I will trust His provision


Core Experience

I must get it right so blessings come

I come to Him to celebrate His glory


Core Passion

I live to be blessed

I live to know Christ

According to the author, practicing this new approach results in God performing three miracles in our lives: 1) You most consistently and truly encounter God by expressing God; 2) You meet others in true community most deeply in shared brokenness over sin and in shared celebration of grace; and 3) You change most thoroughly by feeling your emptiness and facing your brokenness, then waiting on God’s Spirit to transform your emptiness into thirst and your brokenness into gratitude.

The author begins his book by defining the problem and explaining his thesis that we should enjoy God for who he is rather than simply for what we can get from him. He then explains what the New Way isn’t before explaining what it is. The last section of the book describes how to live the new way of relating to God.

I found the book to be helpful and thought provoking. I also found it very convicting as I realized how much I am still driven by the old way of living.

The book was originally published in 2002 and rereleased in 2012. It includes a “Ten-Year-After-Afterword” where the author updates what has happened in the decade since the book was first published. The book includes an eight-week study guide to help the reader think deeper and practice the concepts.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.



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