What’s Motivating YOU – Fear or Love?
Have you ever stopped to consider what’s motivating you – the real reason why you do what you do?
In a particularly chaotic season in my own life, a quote landed in my email in-box that stopped me in my tracks. Is said…
“Are you pushed by fear or pulled by love?”
If I’m honest, my natural leaning is to be pushed by fear. It’s something I’ve wrestled with most of my life. Maybe you can relate to some of the ways it has shown up for me like…
- Catastrophic thinking – a habit of anticipating the worst possible outcome
- Striving for perfection
- Trying to do more and more and more in hopes of mattering more
- Having ridiculously high expectations that ultimately leave me feeling disappointed
- Skipping activities that bring me joy
- Not being fully present
- Missing the little things in life that are invaluable
- Trying to change others
When fear is in charge and motivating me, it rarely leads to a positive or happy outcome. Even worse, the more I operate out of fear, the more it triggers fear in those around me.
Be Who You Were Created To Be!
Each one of us is created to reflect God in a certain way – something we are only able to do And I’ve made it my aim to deliberately approach life, especially when it is scary, in a loving way. It’s been exciting to see what a difference that’s made! In fact, I would go so far as to say that the fear-based issues that I mentioned above don’t cause me the same challenges they once did. While I might not go so far as to say I’ve been cured (after all I am human), it’s pretty rare for me to let them drive me the way they once did. And I’m pleased to share that I’ve also enjoyed these shifts a result…
- Seeing the possibilities rather than resorting to catastrophic thinking
- Embracing my imperfections
- Working smarter not harder & enjoying rest and relaxation (that’s not easy for me!)
- Being more realistic and more accepting of what comes my way – trusting that God is at work
- Regularly engaging in what I call my “Y thing” – the activities that make my heart happy
- Being present more and multitasking less
- Slowing down and noticing small blessings – letting little things count
- Accepting others and praying for them
For me. choosing to be pulled by love has made a noticeable difference!
While difficulty free won’t happen this side of heaven and discouraging news may still initially knock me off my center, I’m able to let love pull me again more quickly – that’s progress!
God challenges me, grows me, and then circles back around to deepen my understanding and challenge my heart beliefs once again. He’s been doing more of that lately! My definition of success has been obedience to what God’s asking me to do, and that continues to be my definition. However, as a goal-oriented gal, it’s still tempting to measure my progress or success in expected worldly ways: money, titles, accomplishments, etc. Success isn’t always that concrete! Sometimes success is the ability to see opportunities and act on those opportunities. Success may simply be making a difference in someone’s life or surrendering in the moment to what God has in mind for my day even if it’s radically different from my plan.
Pushed or Pulled?
When I’m pushed by fear. I tend to control, manipulate, and keep a tight grip on what I think something should look like.
Leaning into love allows me to embrace the adventure and trust that a God who deeply loves me, and knows me better than I know myself, also knows what’s best for me! When love is what’s pulling me, I’m able to relax. That doesn’t mean I don’t work hard – anything worthwhile takes hard work, but I have a sense of peace and confidence along the way.
If I find myself overwhelmed, overly fatigued, and stressing, I’m probably letting fear push me…again. Being discontent, criticizing, blaming, or complaining are also signs that fear is motivating me.
In order to be pulled by love, I must receive God’s love for me and allow it to soak in so that I’m able to not only love myself, but I’m able to love others well too. That allows me to see myself as worthy and transforms the way I view the situations I encounter.
to be pulled by love more frequently requires me to make changes! Maybe you’d like to make that shift too! Here are some ways to get started:
1. Allow God’s Love to Soak In
It’s a choice to intentionally allow God’s love to soak in. A deliberate choosing to ignore the lies that God isn’t interested in you or that He couldn’t possibly love someone like you – whatever your version of that lie is.
Some ways to purposefully begin absorbing His love for you…
- Actively seek out scriptures on His love
- Meditate on those scriptures
- Memorize scriptures on God’s love for you
- Surround yourself with scriptures that focus on God’s love
- Listen to worship music that highlights God’s love for you
- Listen to sermons that dig deeper into God’s love
2. Challenge Your Beliefs
Are you ignoring the beliefs that are rooted in fear and causing you to act in funky ways? Pay attention to what you are thinking – tune into your self-talk. It’s worth investing the time to expose the beliefs that are not serving you and are fueling your fear. Begin to recognize the feelings that accompany those negative beliefs and most importantly, let God show you the truth.
What beliefs keep you from venturing out into the unknown? After all, what He has for you will most likely be outside your comfort zone and in the realm of the unknown! Keep coming back to how much He loves and adores you. Remember, He’s trustworthy. He’s more than able to help you no matter what you are facing. Let His love pull you forward!
What do you keep complaining about? Be aware – complaining is actually a form of meditation. It makes problems seem larger than they actually are. Complaining dashes your hopes and believe it or not when you complain you are inadvertently advertising your fears to the world! Instead, challenge yourself to get creative, use your imagination, and with God’s help find solutions!
Where do you find yourself blaming others? As long as you are placing the blame outside yourself, you can’t take responsibility or be pulled by love. Blaming keeps you stuck.
3. Become A Learner
When you view life in terms of success or failure, fear follows. No on wants to fail, so why not start viewing life as an opportunity to learn and grow and let your failures naturally teach you valuable lessons. That’s love pulling you!
4. Extend Love
When you truly get how generously God loves you, you can’t help but generously extend His love to others. Choose to diligently look for ways to bless others. It might be helping them in some small way, a kind or encouraging word, or simply being available when they need someone to listen.
If love were pulling you, what would be different?