Musings on Motivation, by Ben Smith

I received an email from my cousin the other day, and my very first thought was how long it was going to take me to write him back. He was just released from prison after seven years, and so the thought of choosing the right words was daunting. Part of me claimed that this was the real reason for my hesitation, that I wanted to treat the email with the gravitas I thought it deserved. Unfortunately, the reason was that I could only think of my obligation to reply, and what it would cost me to write such an email. I should really be doing laundry instead, I thought, and I want to look at pictures of cats and watch football. I could always pretend I have started leading an incredibly social life since I last saw him, and had numerous black-tie parties to attend.

You already know what happened. When I did end up sitting down and writing him this past Sunday, because part of me knew I really should, it took all of twenty minutes, and thinking about the relationship that we share was the bright point of a chilly day. I immediately began looking forward to the next time he writes.

Why this disconnect? I knew what I should have done, but I simply didn’t want to do it. It was going to cost me time and energy, and take the place of something I thought I would have rather done. This is the same reason why my mind reaches for excuses and more favorable obligations whenever I hear about an event or a social gathering that might be unfamiliar or unglamorous. Despite the fact that I grow and enjoy myself immensely every time I step out of my comfort zone, I always count the cost of doing so first, and my mind wanders to what I would rather be doing instead.

Sarah had a great response to this problem a few weeks ago when she wrote about desiring to do what we should:

It’s amazing. When I choose to obey and take the first step, God does give me a new desire and power and to do the task.

When I consciously walk away from that choice, when I do not allow myself to be taken by the hand and led someplace new, my life doesn’t change and I remain stuck and worried about the obligations still hanging over my head. When I submit, everything changes.

How many times have you had a day in which you struggled and battled and your choices didn’t quite have the consequences you expected them to have? Conversely, how many times have you had a day when you prayed and read the Bible first thing and things just seemed to…fall into place? I am not saying that God works with karma, but He does work with us. When I either consciously or subconsciously acknowledge that I am not the only one controlling my days, that there are times I need to listen rather than speak, that there is a set of priorities quite different from my own, life becomes far more sensible.

If your life seems too inefficient, cluttered, or topsy-turvy, check your approach and what you’re putting first. What gets the best of your time and energy? Are you trying to call the shots and maintain sanity at the same time, or are you trying to see your to-do list through His eyes? It sounds crazy, but the sun really does stand still if you set God first and let Him lead. Ask Him to work through your unwillingness, and whatever other obstacles may stand between you and the more abundant life to which you are called today.