I wrote this post a few weeks ago. Life has calmed down somewhat since then. But I thought I’d share the article anyway.
I’ve been struggling with motivation lately.
Whenever I have a lot on my plate, my passion and drive takes a hit. I struggle with focus. I slip into randomness and mindlessness. I bug my sweet husband. I eat.
My littered life
Right now my desk is littered with little sticky reminders, my calender beeps every now and then (other reminders which get snoozed very quickly).
My wall is plastered with goals and dreams and projects.
My Evernote is littered with half done articles, messages, talks and ideas. My heart is overflowing with stuff – delayed dreams, to-do lists, thoughts.
Formulas not working
All this drama is self-induced – I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck.
Also I have this head knowledge on how de-stress, how to steward my time better and how to keep moving forward.
But all the formulas and tricks don’t seem to be working now. I’ve been living on prayer and grace more than anything else.
So anyway I came across these two fresh thoughts, which caused me to pause and think about how am stewarding my time (the main reason am feeling flustered and un-motivated).
I also remembered two thoughts that have worked well for me in the past.
1. Get out of the kitchen
Beth Steffaniak offers a great analogy in her article Are you trusting God’s timing?
She likens the waiting process to baking a cake. She says
“I can mix together all the right ingredients – 1 yielded heart, A cup full of requests, 1 powerful God.
But it’s not ready until I wait for it to “bake in the oven.”
If I try to stir it more, or add more ingredients, or take it out to “check on the progress,” I’m either delaying or interfering with the process it must go through. I can’t speed up the “baking” time by my efforts.
I can pass the time by doing other positive tasks or I can take the time to just “rest” while I wait on my delicious dessert to bake, but I can’t hurry the process along.
That’s because … the time is set by God.”
I realize I’ve been trying to hurry things along and this has resulted in frustration and anxiety.
Right now I am doing other productive things as I wait on some things to bake. But mostly, I am learning to put up my feet and relax.
2. Save the candy
In her article 4 questions to help you use your time well, Barb Raveling shares
“Life is like throwing candy in a parade. Only instead of throwing candy, we’re throwing minutes and hours at the things God wants us to do and the people God wants us to love.”
She goes on
“Like the parade candy, we only have so much time to give. If we use it all up on time-wasting activities, we won’t have any left over to do the things God wants us to do.”
I am trying to rein in my commitments (both real and imagined!) as well as getting realistic about what I can and cannot do. I can’t do it all, all though I’d love to.
3. Break monotony
I am not big on routine and sameness.
Nonetheless, whenever I find a system or process that works well, I tend to stick with it for long.
I am finding that changing my normal routine shakes off the lethargy and numbness that stifles creativity, focus and energy.
4. Re-discovering my “why”
A few weeks ago, I shared The 4 Stages of a Dream (Revelation, Conviction, Alignment, Perseverance).
Loren Pinilis shared something in the Comments that I found particularly helpful. He said
“It seems like these (dream) phases alternate back and forth. There are times of perseverance and then times where you have to dig back down deep for another level of conviction. “
When I am down in the trenches and feeling the heat of the dream, it’s easy to forget why I am doing what I am doing.
I am learning that there’s no shame in going back and digging out the basics again, no shame in acknowledging “I missed it“. It’s important to remember my “why” – it’s what holds everything else together.
Question – How do you stay motivated when you are feeling down? (on top of prayer and reading the bible). Please share in Comments.