1. The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
2. The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
You know the feeling. We’ve all been there. It might have been for an hour or for a day. For a whole year, perhaps. It’s that overwhelming numbness that comes from feeling nothing at all. It’s the lack of desire to go anywhere, talk to anyone or do to absolutely anything. It’s the blanket that wraps you up but doesn’t provide any warmth and ends up suffocatingly tight.
Motivation is what causes us to act. It’s what causes us to move, grow and change. It’s what spurs us on to just keep pushing when things get really, really slow. Have you ever wondered where real motivation come from? And when it disappears, how can we get it back?
There are hundreds of articles/blogs/quotes I could link you to right now about motivation coming from within and how your life is only complete when you follow your dreams and that following those ten simple steps to a motivated life will solve everything. But I’m not going to because a) I think they’re rubbish and b) I think they’re rubbish.
You don’t need a ten step program to get moving again when you’re feeling flat. It would be like giving someone who is trying to lose weight one of those weird fad diet plans where they can’t really eat anything at all. It works for a little while, but leaves you feeling empty and right back where you started. Tip: If you want to lose weight, go back to the basics – eat well and exercise. And when you’ve lost the weight and want to maintain your health, keep eating well and keep exercising.
I believe that there is an underlying explanation why I can and should live my life. I believe that there is something bigger than myself which puts in me a drive for life: An all-powerful creator. We were created deliberately and for a purpose that is significantly greater than anything we dream up for ourselves. Let me be clear. The things which we set out to do in this life are not necessarily bad. But they pale in comparison to what you were created for.
- You were not created to graduate with a masters degree in engineering, education, science or theology.
- You were not created to reach the top of the corporate ladder.
- You were not created to get married to the most perfect man ever.
- You were not created to have wonderful children.
- You were not created to be the most attractive person in the room.
- You were not created to weigh less than xkg.
- You were not created to leave an imprint on the world of social media.
- You were not created to buy the biggest house, or even buy one at all.
- You were not created to make more money than some people could only dream of.
- You were not created to retire in comfort.
- You were not created to go to the gym, eat organic food, drink good coffee, own a cute dog or have perfectly shaped eyebrows.
You were created to have a relationship with your creator and to enjoy what He has chosen to give you.
You were created to, in all things, point to the magnificence and wonder of God.
Ephesians 3:14 – 21
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
You were created to know your Father, the God of the universe and to love him more than you love anything or anyone else.
Do you understand what that means? Let this hit you. You weren’t created to make something great of yourself! The pressure is off. You are not bound to leaving a mark on this world. Your lack of motivation to do those things, in some way, can help us understand how insignificant they are compared to knowing Jesus Christ.
Note that I didn’t say those things are insignificant. They are comparatively. But they do not amount to nothing. All of these things can be done just fine when done in light of your greater purpose.
So how can knowing your true purpose help when you feel unmotivated? How can knowing the things that God has done motivate us to live the life we’ve been given, and live it to its full potential?
God motivates us to feel and to do what we should by calling to our minds his past performances of love and his future promises of love – some near, some far.
– John Piper
He says that we can be motivated by looking backwards at what Christ has done for us:
- Forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4.32)
We can be motivated by looking forward at the promises in store:
- Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. (Matthew 5:12)
- Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:13-14)
We can be motivated by enjoying God’s promises now:
- Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ (Hebrews 13:5)
The motivation that God supplies is hope. Hope is what drives us to carry on. Hope in the saving blood of Jesus – that because of his death and miraculous resurrection, mankind now has access to a greater life than what is on offer in a sin filled world. Hopeful expectation of being eternally with God in heaven and seeing him face to face. Joy and comfort that comes from knowing God is with us right now, carrying us as we stumble through our days here on earth.
You may be feeling unmotivated for all sorts of reasons. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe you’re aiming for something that you shouldn’t be. Maybe you don’t know what you want. Maybe your values are conflicting. Maybe you’re lacking challenge. Maybe it’s grief. Maybe it’s loneliness. Maybe you’re burnt out. Whatever the reason, maybe you’re just feeling stuck and don’t know what to do.
Can I remind you to keep your hope in Christ alive? Study his words! Learn about the things he has promised. Be comforted by the gracious things he has done for you. As you study and grapple with God’s word, hope is given chance to grow and in turn will surely lead to joy (Psalm 71:14).
And endure! Endure when you’re feeling downcast. Persevere when you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to shut off from the world. Endurance will lead to hope (Romans 5:3-5).
I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say that they regretted persevering through hard times. In fact, it’s always the opposite. But when you are lacking the motivation to get through what a busy life demands, remember who you are doing it for. Remember why you are alive. It will spur you on. You were created by the creator on purpose and for a purpose. Joy will come from living the way you were designed.
Can I reassure you that you are not alone? When those times come (and they will) and you feel unmotivated and like life is just one battle after another, please, please, be comforted in the knowledge that you are not the only one who struggles. You are not a ‘worse’ person because you lack lustre or enthusiasm to go to work or clean the house or go for a run or go to church or spend time with friends. You are simply human.
But being ‘simply human’ is not an excuse to give up. We have been given so much. I have a house to live in, a well paying job, a family who love Jesus, a husband who pushes me to love Jesus more and more, a church filled with friends who are no further away than a phone call, clothes that (generally) look nice when I wear them…I have been given everything and more. I have been saved from eternal death. Through faith in God, I have overcome sin (though I struggle with it in this life)! I have access to speak with Jesus Christ every single day and a Bible to learn from anytime, anywhere. I have been given everything I need to carry on through life trusting in God (Ephesians 1:3-6). For that, I am thankful. And it’s because of those very gracious gifts from God, that when I am feeling dull and unmotivated I must remain focused on Christ so that I can live the life I was created for.
I love these lyrics. They’re a great reminder for me.
Because he lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because he lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know he holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because he lives!
I have a sinful heart. Precious God, keep me from forgetting all you’ve done and all you’ve promised when I’m lacking enthusiasm to get through my daily life. Remind me that I am working and living to bring you glory. Thank you for giving me a greater purpose, because if I didn’t have it, life would not be worth living.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.