What to do when I don't want to!
I recently had a week where my joy came from doing what I didn't want to do! And not at all doing what I wanted to do. That's clear right?
That week was a STRUGGLE! I did not have any natural discipline or motivation. It was a holiday week and I had been out of town until midday Tuesday. Once home, I was really feeling the pull to just call the week DONE by mid morning Wednesday! And then again around noon Thursday. Ugh.
I just wanted to shut it all out. Turn on the TV. Focus on something else. Distract myself. And I don’t mean for a 30 minute break to recharge. I mean for 4-5 hours of just mind-numbing nothing. I don’t know if anyone else struggles like this. I selfishly hope so. Sorry. 😀 It’s more fun to struggle together!
This part of Sara is something God and I have talked about a lot recently. I’ve known for awhile about my tendencies and habits to lose motivation and discipline. Feeling super motivated and getting stuff done one minute and then losing my mojo and SO NOT getting stuff done the next.
In this season God has been showing me where this tendency is holding me back. Really holding me back, and potentially keeping me from doing all the things I really want to do. God has given me a big vision! I have big dreams and big goals!
But sometimes itty, bitty, tiny motivation & discipline.
At times I do feel super motivated and inspired. But it comes and goes like fair-weather Cowboys fans. 😉 (you know who you are)
And in the past when it went I just went with it. I'd longingly watch after it for a second and then jump up and run to catch it.
Follow it to the couch or the store or anywhere but where I could do what I was supposed to be doing.
But God had my attention on this issue. I was aware of my habits and patterns. God showed me some not fun stuff about myself and I couldn't disagree. I agreed it was there and it was a problem. And it would be the thing to hold me back from being who he created me to be if I didn’t do something about it.
So when all my motivation and discipline left me that week I was, thankfully, somewhat prepared to figure out another way through.
Then, God hit me with the "F word".
Everybody stay cool.
Feelings. Nothing more than feelings. (That's actually a really, really old song for those of you who are young and cool.)
God showed me my feelings were actually the issue. I feel ALL the feels. And I feel them all the way, all the time. Many times it’s easy to just go with how I’m feeling. And sometimes that's fine.
When I feel motivated and inspired I do the work. But when those feelings of motivation decide to take the day off, I want to as well. And my motivation feelings like to work really short weeks.
When my feelings keep me from what I actually want my feelings become a problem.
I want to write a book. Several actually. I believe I’m called to write. And lots of other things. But writing a book and doing all the other things I believe I’m called to do requires me to actually do stuff. Sit and type and think and process and study and pray and edit and write some more. It all takes time and effort and energy and discipline. None of the words in those lists are feelings btw.
You know what else isn’t a feeling? Choice.
Choice is choice. Now, I can choose to make my choice based on how I feel. Or I can choose to look at the big picture of what I know I want and decide based on that.
I LOVE my feelings. I know they are a gift from God. But I kind of have to put them in their place sometimes.
If I want to be who I believe God has called me to be it’s not going to happen if I try to feel my way into it.
God did not give me a spirit of fear (a feeling) but of power and love and self-discipline. (I happen to believe this "love" that God gives us is also not a feeling. I think his love and the love we have from him is a choice and an action. Yes, sometimes a feeling. But the feeling comes and goes. God's love does not, so he has to be talking about something more than a feeling. (Another great song, btw.)
Anywho, so we did not receive from him a spirit full of feelings and emotions! He did give me feelings and emotions. They aren’t bad. But they were never supposed to rule my life. They were never supposed to reign. They don't get to determine the course of my day. I can consult them but they don't get final say. God gave me a brain for a reason. On that note he gave me reason for a reason. I can feel a certain way all day but that doesn't mean I have to act on that feeling.
The greatest thing though and a super important detail to note is that our feelings really don't want to lead and be in charge anyway. Many times if we override our feelings and do what we know we need to do, our feelings will fall in line and change! Suddenly we will feel like doing the very thing a moment ago we didn't want to. Ultimately our feelings are pretty fickle. They can change on a dime, or with a bad meal, or a good song or a sad movie - they change all the time! Not really the kind of foundation we should be building on.
Truth is a much better foundation for us. It's the same all day err day.
And we have a book FULL of truth that we get to go to when our feelings try to derail us.
Thankfully when I lost my motivation and discipline that week I was able to push through. I was able to turn to that truth and just keep going. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Or maybe one word after the other as it were. 🤣
We can turn to Scripture to recapture some of the motivation that we lose. And there are lots of inspirational passages for us:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, or the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!”
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’”
“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 right hand.”
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, knowing that in the LORD your labor is not in vain.”
Sometimes we are going to be able to kick-start and reset our feelings to help us push through. There's no guarantee though. So we have to be willing to just move along without them. Give them the chance to catch up. We have to dig deep in those moments and just DO.
We can always rely on our good friend physics. (God invented physics btw 😉) An object in motion stays in motion. DO SOMETHING! Ignore those feelings for a second, stand up and go do a thing. Run an errand, make a call, send an email, put in a load of laundry, scrub a sink, make a list, just do something. Get yourself "in motion" and see where that carries you.
Show those feelings who's in charge and go be that amazing person God created you to be*!
*in the world of striving and straining that we live in I have to make mention of the fact that all of our "doing" or "not doing" has no impact on the love our God has for us. We don't "do" all of the things because we want him to love us or approve of us. He already loves and approves of us all the way. There is no room for him to love us more. It's because of those truths that we now want to be who he created us to be and do what he created us to do. Because he loves us so much.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10