Points to Ponder: Face Up To Lack of Motivation
Points to Ponder
Face Up To Lack of Motivation
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer
I don't want to exercise.
I feel unmotivated for sometimes a month or more to get to the gym, ride the bide, lift the weights. Yet for 30 years I have worked out consistently, three to four days per week. Many amorning I'll be riding the cycle in the Spin class (an aerobic bicycling class that uses stationary bikes), and the thought will come: "I could leave now." Some days, I am just not in the mood to push myself. Yet I do.
How many of us confuse motivation with ability? In other words, if I really don't feel like doing something - even the thought of it is painful - that means I can't do it. If I'm unwilling therefore I am unable. That, of course, is self-deception; a lie that caters to one's lazy side.
One morning, the Spin instructor was preparing us for the all-terrain "ride" we were to embark upon for 45 minutes. She gave us a point to ponder:
"When things get uncomfortable, growth happens."
Now there's a thought. Has anything worth having or achieving come to us without struggle or hard work? It was a challenging phrase. How many of us are motivated to enter the zone of uncomfortable at full throttle? And then once you've crossed the threshold (where you're thinking, "I'm not liking this.") you plow through with dedicated persistence. If you have ever done that, you know from past experience that once you're on the other side of that zone, something good awaits. Not a mere trophy or a promotion necessarily; but a discovery about yourself. Many people don't stick with the tough stuff long enough to find out.
In these 30 years of working out, I have moved from Maryland to North Carolina and back; changed careers, gone to seminary, got married and had two children, and dealt with many life-altering changes. Yet, through all of them and the convenient excuses they provided me for quitting exercise, I only missed one week of workouts. And that was because a leg infection had me laid up.
I am healthy today, but for a number of months, I have lacked motivation to keep to my exercise routine. I have struggled with these seasons of sluggishness before - more times than I can count. But, feeling motivated is not a qualification for compelling motivation. My brain is capable of ordering one leg and then the other to go. And they will comply.
But how does one get motivated or stay motivated to do something that one lacks the internal motivation to do? For 30 years I have been able to consistently push myself to do my workouts whether I felt like it or not. Really, what difference does it make whether I feel like doing it or not?
Here's the key I have discovered: thanksgiving. Or to expand it: thankfulness, praise and worship, gratitude. The lesson has become over time standard equipment in my soul.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
This instruction is standard in that when I am doing a class or an exercise that I do not feel in the mood to do, a phrase comes forth from my heart to my lips: "Thank you, Lord" or "Thank you, Father." When I complete a set of exercises, I sometimes say, "Praise God!" Why? Because I can do what I just did. Life and all of its benefits are gifts. And these gifts are special blessings, which should be appreciated and cared for.
I began working out 30 years ago because I got a job at a health club. I had to learn about exercise. Many of the sales staff did not work out; but I felt duty-bound to study and use the "product" we were selling. It took me two years to figure out a routine that worked for me. In those early years, it was tough to stick with it. But I had to find a way, because I was preaching to clients that lifestyle management was a necessity.
I know how hard it is to get started, and then to stay with it. I am struggling with it now. But, how you feel - whether you like it or not - is irrelevant. Your life on earth is a stewardship. Many of the diseases that burden us are preventable. One of the biggest health problems in our country is obesity. This does not have to be.
Change begins with one's attitude. From a prison Paul tells us:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6)
In other words, talk to God about it. Express your needs. And with a thankful attitude, get going.
Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.