10/3/10

Motivation

We all have our motivators. I self-detected my personal (and very general) brand of motivation at a fairly young age: fear of failure. It was a fear that jump-started my mornings. A fear that whispered tasks in my ear as I awaited sleep. A fear that sent me, crying, to the principals office at 10 years old when I did poorly on a test. A fear that haunted me the year I didn't place in the Math Olympics. A fear that resonates in every resume, every interview and every work day I've ever completed.

But tonight I changed my mind.

My motivator isn't fear of failure. Rather, it is my own sense of expectation that I run toward and from at varying intervals. I now understand that fear of failure does not compel me to apply for a job. The monster is uglier than that, because it is a monster that changes shape. With each year, each goal completed, each road mark passed, the expectation increases and unfolds.

This is not an altogether negative fear. A healthy dose of expectation is appropriate and necessary for anyone hoping to take on a career in media. The fear is two-faced: it is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. I derive strength from an inability to give up - to pursue that goal in such a single-minded way that it's achievement becomes inevitable. However, I know that expectation may also prevent me from blessings that God has in His timing.

When I run, I do so with a goal in mind. Some days have more ambitious goals than others, but I always take on the task strategically. I promise myself that once I reach that telephone pole or house or fire hydrant, I can slow down a bit. But when I reach that marker I keep going. Why? Because I'm proud of surpassed expectation. Eventually, I can run further and faster.

My prayer as I learn these things about myself is that I hear God's voice above my own. I pray that He guides me in moments when I need to slow down, in moments when I need to push past the marker, and when I need to change direction completely.

We sang this beautiful song in church today. I am continually reminded that, in spite of my sometimes misguided motivations, nothing can ever separate me from the love of my God:

"My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart."

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