According to Webster’s Dictionary the definition of motivation is “the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something”.
We can be motivated by praise, rewards, feelings of accomplishment, overcoming a struggle, or just pure determination. We can also be motivated by consequences, hurt, and rejection.
What happens when we lose our motivation for something we felt very passionate about when we started on that journey?
Maybe it has been a weight loss journey. The motivation to create a healthier and leaner body propelled you to start an exercise program or learn to modify your diet from processed foods to healthier whole foods that are better for you. But now, the motivation to move your body is gone and the brownies and cheese puffs are calling your name.
Maybe you have been convicted of the choice of words you use and vowed you would be more aware of the words you speak. Your motivation was to speak words that would encourage others rather than tear others down. Now, you find your mouth spewing words that may not be so encouraging before your mind can tell you to stop. Maybe the realization of bridling your tongue is harder than you realized so you justify your actions with the lie of our enemy that you will never be victorious in this area because that’s just the way you are.
Maybe you are someone who rarely gets involved in your church’s activities, such as a midweek bible study or volunteering with one of the ministries. You know the importance of fellowship with your brothers and sisters so you made a commitment to be more actively involved. Life happens, as it always does and you now find yourself making more excuses why you cannot make it this week rather than finding reasons to ensure you do.
I get it. I know what it is like to feel so passionate about something, especially something I know with all certainty that God called me to do, and now the motivation is like a wisp of air I am trying to grab hold of.
Not doing what God has called me to leaves my soul aching. I know it is disobedience and that saddens me that my disobedience is not enough motivation to stay the course God put me on.
I had to ask myself what was motivating me in the first place. With all honesty, obedience to God’s calling was my motivation in the beginning, but I realized that other things began to motivate me more than obedience to God.
As I’ve struggled with this issue of a great lack of motivation over the last several weeks, I’ve had some honest conversations with God. He spoke such convicting truth to my soul. Truth I know but denied, simply because I thought this was a struggle I had moved forward in. It’s humbling to think I have moved past certain struggles only to realize those struggles are always lurking around the corner. It is also a great reminder that no matter where I am in a struggle, in the thick of it or on the other side of it, reliance on God to get through it or to not let it grab hold of me again is a necessity. I will never be victorious in any struggle if I am not constantly relying on my Jehovah-Nissi.
God reminded me of how much I rely on approval from people. Yes, hurt and rejection have been motivators all of my life. For too many years I was told I had no worth and that I would be a disappointment or I would fail. Rejections from loved ones have left scars that run deep. Words spoken carelessly have been seared in my soul.
The truth I know is that approval from people will never fill the void of acceptance. People’s opinions are vacillating. One sings your praise, while another tears you down. Shifting sentiments fall short of certain security.
If I make others opinions my motivator for doing what God called me to do I will find that my motivation will be as vacillating as their opinions. Their praise will encourage me to continue the course while their rejection will cause me to doubt God.
Our enemy is very cleaver. He knows our weakness and will use it to make us inefficient for God’s Kingdom. His lies may not come at us as obvious attacks, even unspoken accolades filtered through the lies of the enemy look a lot like rejection.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
I encourage you to ask yourself the same question I had to ask myself, “what is my true motivation?”. Am I trying to gain the approval of people or am I trying to please God who called me to be His servant?
Have that honest conversation with Him. Allow His Holy Spirit to shine a light on what motivates you. If it is not to please God then ask Him to change your heart’s desire from the temporal and worldly motivation to simply pleasing Him with your obedience.
LORD, forgive me for seeking first the approval of others rather than resting in the truth of Your acceptance. Thank you for calling me and approving of me and making me worthy.