What is your motivation?
When you read that question, what came to mind? Did you think about your job and what motivates you to work? Did you think about college or grad school and what motivates you to study? Or maybe you thought about a family member or friend that motivates and encourages you when the going gets tough.
What I am asking is more of a big picture kind of question. When you look at the sum of all you do- your job, your education, your role as wife, mom, or friend, your volunteer work, your ministry work, etc.- what is the underlying current driving what you do?
There are so many of us who are out here doing great things. We pursue these impressive degrees and possess a wide array of knowledge. We work in service or community based industries where our work directly impacts and improves the lives of other people. We serve in ministries and participate in volunteer work that enhances our communities and touches others. We function as loving, helpful, and giving friends, moms, wives, daughters who pour into the lives of those closest to us. But what is at the root of all of that?
During a painfully revealing time of self-evaluation I realized I was doing a lot of good things for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps the largest of those revelations was that most of my good deeds were linked to pride. Yes, I was prideful people and I had absolutely no clue at all. Here I was this selfless and loving person who gave 110% of myself to everyone all the time, even when it hurt me, and yet God was telling me I was prideful.
Nearly every kind thing I did was rooted in my need to be needed. I fed off of knowing that I was the reliable person everyone could count on no matter what. There was an emptiness in me that made me feel worthless and insignificant, but being needed by the people in my life temporarily filled that void. I was doing great things- being a shoulder to cry on, lending an ear to listen, offering sound advice, giving money, cooking meals, offering my home, literally doing whatever was in my physical power to assist the people around me. However, I wasn't doing it because I wanted to be a demonstration of God's unconditional love or because I wanted to pour life into them, I was doing it to meet a personal need to feel needed and that was robbing God of the glory He was due.
Here's the thing: God cares about more than what we do. He cares about the heart behind our actions.
Colossians 2:23-24 says,"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
If you look up the definition of 'whatever' one of the definitions is 'no matter what.' If you were to implement that into the scripture it would read, "No matter what you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
You know what that means? It means in everything we do, say, or even think we should be doing it with God in mind. He should be our motivation. He should be our driving force.
When I studied this scripture a few months ago, I felt led to do an exercise for 24 hours. Every single time I went to do something, say something, or caught myself thinking something, I would stop and ask myself, "Why am I doing this? Why am I saying this? Why am I thinking this?" Tedious- yes, but also very enlightening.
I stumbled upon revelations like this-
"Am I posting this quote on social media because I think it will get a lot of likes, or am I posting this quote because it's a revelation I know will help people live their lives better?"
"Am I sharing this to show off?
"Am I writing this article because this topic is trendy right now, or am I writing this article to enlighten people?
"Is what I am watching and listening to edifying?
"Am I wearing this to get attention?"
"Am I serving in ministry because it's what Christians are supposed to do, or am I serving out of a genuine desire to pour into the lives of others?"
It's truly interesting to get to the heart of what you do. In that 24 hour period I learned that God was very low on the list of consideration for many of the things I did, said, or thought. My motivations were things like- being successful, being perceived well, being on trend, & even money.
The beautiful part of developing a genuine relationship with God and getting to know Him as your father, is developing this natural desire to consider and incorporate God in all things. I can remember being a little girl who wanted nothing more than to make my biological father proud. It was second nature for me to think thoughts like, "Will my daddy like this?" or "Will this make my daddy happy?" I loved my dad and I wanted to do whatever I could to please him.
It's no different in the spiritual. Our love for God should be the driving force behind all we do. We should constantly be asking ourselves if what we are doing or saying is God driven, or driven by something or someone else. And we should constantly be readjusting what we do or the way in which we do it if we discover that our motivations aren't Christ-minded.
So I challenge you to start with just one are of your life- your career, your marriage, your parenting...
Then ask yourself, "What is my why?"
Reflect & Readjust as needed.
I'm off to celebrate my birthday now!
p.s. If you got the reference in my blog title, you're the real mvp!