Today we go deep, to where the rubber hits the road. I love this part! So, let’s open in prayer, follow up on what resources you’ve chosen and then get to work.
“God, thank you so much for the heart of_______. They’re here, looking for answers and willing to do the necessary work. Direct the process, every step of the way. Give us wisdom to know what to do and the ability to go deep and follow through even when it might be difficult. You, as our Shepherd, promise to guide us. We trust you to do that now. In Jesus name, amen.”
Now, to follow up on last time, tell me about the resources available to help you. Did you chose one? Why that one? How did it help you?
Okay, now let’s focus on setting up your Action Plan! Remember when you knew what you wanted – and you simple went after it until you got it? That time when nothing held you back? Sigh. I know, I remember when I did that, too. How I wish I could bottle that determination and pull it out when needed. Theories abound on what flips that switch in us, and frankly, they’re pretty good. Psychologists have boiled it down to something like this: if you really want it, you’ll do the hard work to get it. If you fall short, it’s because you only think you really want it but there’s a deeper motive you’re not willing to face that keeps you from attaining it.
Sometimes life is so full of difficulties that going deep is simply not an option. For example, your loved one is diagnosed with cancer and needs you more than ever. You delay your goal to get a promotion at work until they’re better. No wrong motive there.
But let’s go even deeper. What if you’re willing to delay it because you know the real reason you haven’t been promoted is because you often arrive late to work? You resent your boss and being late is your way of letting her know you’re not happy. Emotionally, it will take a toll on you to face your motives and deal with the difficulties with your boss. I get that. However, consider the benefits of being honest about your real motive and addressing it. In the light of truth and honesty, you may see how the energy you’re spending on an unhealthy work situation can be freed up so you’re there 100% for your loved one. Plus, deal with the issue with your boss now and you’re in a better position for that promotion later.
Motives. I keep using that word – have you noticed? Why? Because motives motivate. Merriam-Webster defines motive as ” “something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act”.
Please take a few moments and let that sink in. Motives motivate us to take action.
What motivates you? Your desire to be loved, your desire to be a certain way, to be perceived a certain way, to do this, to not do that, to obey God, to defy God, to gain something? Consider both internal and external factors that determine your motives. Ask yourself if you’re motivated by someone else, either in being like them or in making sure you’re not like them. How do societal values affect you, or the values of your friends, or enemies, or family?
1. Make a complete and honest list of what motivates you in life. Make this list for your eyes only so you’re able to be as thorough and as honest as possible.
2. As you look over your list, take it one step further. After each motive, ask yourself “Why does this motivate me?” Keep asking why until you’ve identified as many of your personal motives as possible.
3. When you’ve run out of answers, look over your list. Read it through several times. Make truthful adjustments, and then consider that this is who you are.
Now that you’re clear about who you are, what do you think of yourself when you see this on paper? Is this who you want to be? Your motives and attitudes shape your responses to life and your choices in life. Change them, and you change yourself. Make different choices, have different responses, and your personal history is altered forever.
Our motives and the consequences of our motives strongly affect us and those around us. Prisoners of war are clear examples of the freedom men and women have to chose their motives and attitudes when every other freedom has been denied. Amidst inhumane suffering, many prisoners chose to be motivated by the hope of seeing their loved ones again. They see the bitterness and evil in their captors, so they’re motivated to be the opposite of that. They chose to trust in God’s love for them despite the terrible things happening. Their endurance motivates their fellow prisoners to endure. How prisoners cope in the future, upon release, is often determined by their motives and attitudes during their imprisonment. They are a powerful example of how our motives shape both our present and our future.
4. Identify the motive behind your one clear objective in being mentored. If by any chance you’re still not clear on your motives behind your objective, write a list of pros and cons. In your list of pros you’ll see the benefits – which come from your motivators. Go ahead and name them. Are you happy with your motive? Is it enough to move you forward? If yes, go on to the next step. If not, you either need a new objective or a new motive. Which will you choose?
5. Brainstorm: Create a list of actions you believe will bring you closer to your goal. Get them all out on paper.
6. Now, put them in order. You’re creating a step by step Action Plan to reach your objective.
7. Put a realistic time frame around your Action Plan. Make it challenging but not disheartening (not too long or too short). Each time you accomplish a step, tell yourself what a good job you’re doing. If the step isn’t successful, but you gave it your all, tell yourself you at least tried – that’s a “little win”.
8. If you find yourself stalling out, this last step is for you. a) Give a copy of your Action Plan to someone who will hold you accountable. Follow up with them regularly. If they fall through, you’re still responsible for your plan, not them. Be honest about the motive that’s holding you back. b) Identify that one thing you really don’t want to do. Now, go do it. Don’t think about it, just do it. Get that monkey off your back! Your sense of accomplishment will be off the charts!
Step 4 – Action Plan – My Contribution:
The rubber’s hitting the road. I’m stepping up my prayers for you because in many ways, this is make it or break it time. You’re either going to do the work, or revise your objective or motive, or delay the work. Or, worst case, you’ll walk away altogether. I don’t want you living with regrets or unfinished business. You’ve done a lot of work to get to this point and I’m committed to hitting the road with you, running shoulder to shoulder in spirit, with my head up to face the changes that come so I can encourage you when it gets tough and rejoice with you as you accomplish your goals.
I’m also hoping that by seeing yourself honestly and clearly, you’ll become more intentional about the choices you make in all areas of your life. If you’re having a hard time admitting your motives, I’ll be praying that you’re open to asking God to help you with this. He knows where you’re motivated by wounds from painful experiences. He knows the choices you make that keep those wounds concealed and the consequences on you and those around you. He also knows the motives that are just plain not good. We all have them at times, and we all need forgiveness for them and the hurtful behavior that comes from them. I’m hoping you don’t go hide in shame, but rather bring them to the light so they don’t run your life anymore. God’s in this with you for the long term, at a deeper level than I can possibly go, and I hope you see the incredible love and forgiveness He has for you through Jesus, and how I represent in just a small, small way, the fact that He wants the best for you and is cheering you on, always!
The Finish Line – our final and very special step – is coming next. Meanwhile, run well, my good friend, run well.