“All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” —Proverbs 16:2
I’ve been writing a series of blogs pertaining to the busyness of our lives — a busyness that our culture deems normal and expected (See Living Busy vs. Living Best and Slow Down and Seek Him). However, if we’re not careful, this busyness can be dangerous, impacting our health physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
It’s busyness that can render us ineffective, distracted from our purpose and mission. It can lead us to neglect what God says is most important — a loving relationship with God and others (Matthew 22:37 – 40). As much as this way of life impacts us daily, we can be countercultural — aware and intentional to implement change.
Slow down and seek the Lord
We can embrace change that will bring health, clarity, discernment and availability to God and others. Slowing down and seeking the Lord regularly is where it all begins. Spending time with Him reorients us to right perspective, truth, surrender, and wisdom, including what we add to our schedules and what we don’t.
The second tool to implement change begins with examining our motives — why we do what we do. As I look back over the years, there were countless times where I found myself over-committed and stressed out, having added one more thing to my already packed schedule.
Examining my motives in those situations, I came to realize they were impure and usually steeped in fear or control. Worried what people thought, I wanted to please others. I didn’t want people to think ill of me, so I would agree to one more activity. Other times I didn’t want to miss an opportunity.
I wanted my life to matter and be significant which wasn’t necessarily wrong, but rather than my value and significance being anchored in Christ it was rooted in my performance and vocation. I had control issues as well, “If no one else is going to do it, I will have to step in and make sure that it gets done.” Donning my cape and “fixer” mentality, I would swoop in to save the day.
Some of us do things to hear affirmation or be noticed, some are motivated by false guilt or believe that the busier we are the more value we possess. Some may agree to more so we can keep up with friends or others in our specific industry; comparing ourselves with others, we don’t want to fall behind in any way.
Examine your heart
Asking the Holy Spirit to lead the way in examining our hearts’ motives, we can receive clarity and direction pertaining to our schedules and ultimately our lives.
If we have impure motives when contemplating involvement with something, we would be wise to let the opportunity pass until our hearts are pure. If our motives are pure, then the opportunity is worth exploring with the Lord.
Looking inward and allowing God to examine our hearts doesn’t have to be a frightening thing but in fact, growing, freeing, and life-changing. Rather than becoming busier in an attempt to satisfy our self-serving insatiable “needs,” we can become more available for God’s agenda and experience His peace.
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How would examining your motives help bring direction to your life?