Motivation . . . or Supporting Motivations? Does God Care?

Motivation, the force behind every choice . . . every decision.

Let’s consider for a moment … Does it matter if we “own up” and espouse our true motivation or simply select and use one (or more) of what I refer to as supporting motivations?

Sometimes I think we live in denial . . . or is it . . . simply, that we lie? Honesty of Heart, I fear, often seems to be MIA . . . sigh . . . .

Most of the time we have more than one “reason” for anything we do or want to do and as we begin to think “through it,” we come up with “proof” that this particular desire is a good thing to do. And . . . sometimes our motive is pure. Sometimes it is not simply to get our own way . . . but truly to do God’s work, fully selfless and serving . . . many times, though, we need to “check it.” If our heart intent isn’t pure (and often even if it is) – the more people we anticipate may try to influence against us carrying out our plan or the more people we need to help us achieve the goal – the more “reasons” we come up with. We begin to add reasons why it is also good for them. However, most of the time, twenty-nine “reasons” will not be a motivating force. Only one of them actually propels us into action . . . the rest – we logically come up with to support the desire. The rest of them we could talk about forever, using phrases like “I really need to . . .” or “I should . . . because . . . .” But, for some “reason” . . . we never do it.

Webster defines motive as “that which incites or impels or causes.”

I don’t want to spend time at this point in discussion of whether love is an action or a feeling. I personally believe it is both and can be acted out without the feeling of love but that the feeling of love is a very strong motivator. However . . . either way, the actual, propelling motivation will be based on underlying emotions – perhaps wanting to be “good” in an effort to meet a longing for approval or acceptance or out of a fear of punishment or of going to hell or the fear of losing something we feel we need or . . . . Even when we believe and/or feel that we are choosing to do something we don’t really want to do, only out of obedience, I propose that we still have set our mind on a “reason,” but that the basis for that reason comes from the heart. The feeling of love for another or for God can support (or be) the motivation for the obedience of an action we may be called to. This is why the Bible tells us to love the Lord, our God with all our heart and all our minds and all our soul and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This is why . . . above all else, we must guard our heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Let us consider . . . Deep inside we all have longings and desires and we know there is something we want . . . even if we haven’t precisely identified “it.” Suddenly . . . or finally . . . a way to meet the longing is found! It is then that we begin the process of collecting our reasons. And collect them we do. We organize them. We rationalize them. We enhance them . . . and then tada! . . . We present them!

We expect that people will “see” the logic behind it and have understanding for it – after all “This” is in everyone’s best interest. It’s not just for me. I have considered it and decided that it is “best” for “all of us.” And then we wonder why we don’t get the support we desire, the support we want or need, the support we thought through and “figured out” how to enlist. Sometimes, we often even convince ourselves – we choose not to think about “that part,” though. Most of the time – we “know,” but we are going to do it anyway. Do we believe we have even convinced God?

We all have emotional “needs” or longings that are strong and deep. Sometimes we are well aware of them, but some come from a place we don’t understand and may not even be aware of (like the fear of failure or fear of loss or acceptance or . . .) somewhere deeper yet. We make decisions based on those emotions and then we begin the logical reasoning that allows us to move forward and defend our movement. However, within this logic much deception often lies, as we select whichever it is – either the main motivation or one of the supporting motivations – and present the “best one” as the “reason” to the person or persons we are trying to convince. And the “main reason” may change depending on who we are trying to convince or persuade. Don’t get me wrong . . . we usually throw all of them into the conversation . . . it’s just the subtle difference of the focus that changes. In doing this, we are not being honest – not with others . . . and often not with ourselves or even God. Deception sets in. This is manipulation in one of its finest and most frequently used forms.

Though what it is we want to do can appear to be in everyone’s best interest, it often is not. We only figured out a way to present it as such, in an effort to enlist their support, in an effort to appease our own conscience . . . or just so we don’t appear to be selfish. How it would be in their best interest “surfaced” as we considered their feelings and what their response would be to what we want to do. We deemed it in their best interest because from our perspective as we searched for ways to legitimize what we planned to do . . . based on our emotional longings . . . we logically came up with these reasons as we looked at their life. The problem is that it didn’t consider their emotional longings and desires. Logically, it may make sense . . . but even WE could just as easily walk away from it . . . based only on the logic. We are set in our decision because it meets OUR emotional need – which is, as stated prior, where the whole thing started. When we consider others as ourselves . . . we are only truly doing that and loving them when we consider their emotional needs, as well as, our own emotional needs. When we don’t dismiss their longings and concerns based on what we have determined is logical . . . therefore, a perfectly fine thing to do . . . as we run right over them. We can only do this when we listen, hear, and respond to their emotional needs, desires and longings . . . as well as our own.

Ladies, we learn it young . . . some of us are masters. Have it our way . . . we will. We just have to figure out how. So . . . we “work it out” . . . you know . . . for all concerned. It’s really . . . much more “caring” . . . because we “considered” everyone. Truly . . . See . . . ? Rather, I suggest it is often simply our own agenda and we must make it “work.” Of course, we’d never hurt others while making it happen . . . or would we?

And, men . . . you may not have some of the “swings” emotionally that women have and probably don’t have the need to talk through things in order to process them . . . but make no mistake . . . you are not strictly logical when it comes to your decisions. Your decisions are based on your longings and emotions as well. The difference may be they are deeper, underlying, not accessed or acknowledged. You may decide to move the family, against their wishes . . . to a new place. It could be that your main motivation is to provide for your family and may not be a true self-serving main motivation. Or, your main motivation could be your need for approval or success or it could be a fear of some kind and your supporting motivations are that it will increase your income and will provide financially for the family.

Before calling that shot . . . I suggest it wise to pray and thoroughly and honestly consider all of our “reasons” and identify the motivating factor. Identify the one that is impelling us to demand this be done . . . before beginning to try to convince or reason . . . or trample on those around us . . . often those we claim to love. Consider whether we have convinced ourselves that even God believes it when we say something is the “reason” . . . when in actuality we are claiming a supporting reason in an effort to persuade others to do it our way.

There is a problem with being honest about what our true motivation is. We have avoided truthfully identifying the one true motivation, the one that impels us to make the move, many times before. This “problem” is the reason we present our supporting motivations and call them logic. We may not get our way. We may be called upon to give it up because once we have identified our true motivation – someone else’s needs or fears or desires may be more important . . . as we love them the way the Word of God calls us to. We may be called upon to lay our desire or fear or deep longing at the throne of grace and rely on God to provide all we need and long for or heal our wounds or insecurities. As long as we pretend and manipulate by touting supporting motivations as the real reason . . . the main motivation . . . we will continue to be deceitful. We will continue to hold onto fears. We will not heal our wounds. We will be selfish in our relationships. We may crush those around us into submission and crush their spirit as well. We will not be able to allow the God of heaven and earth to heal us, comfort us, provide for us. We won’t allow Him to truly guide us so that our lives influence and bless and draw others to Him. And . . . because we manipulated the situation to get what we wanted right then . . . we will not receive what He longed to give to us . . . His best.

In fairness, we don’t always do this with intention. Sometimes, we are aware of exactly what we are doing . . . but other times we really don’t even see it in ourselves. But “they know.” Others sense what we are doing. They can’t “prove” it, but they know that it wasn’t really done out of concern for them, no matter how much we assure them it was . . . it was for us. Our relationships are injured, sometimes permanently destroyed while we continue on the path of using supporting motivations as a way to force others into doing or supporting what we want done.

We can begin to understand ourselves and begin to truly care and love others the way God calls us to, as we begin to pray . . . fervently. Ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding regarding what we are considering doing and talking with Him about it long before making a decision . . . asking Him to reveal our own hearts to us. Pray honestly (He already knows anyway.) before Him. Stating our desire and longing, asking Him to help us understand the driving force behind the desire and to give clarity of heart and mind. Ask for healing and help if the course called for us to take seems it will cause us pain. Ask for what is best for all involved. Ask for help and guidance and to be shown how to love others as Jesus did. Ask, being willing to release it to Him, if called to do so. Be honest . . . and then wait. Wait for His voice and His direction. Do not make a decision. Do not act until you know what He is telling you to do. He will make it known, if you wait . . . and if you are willing to obey when you hear it. He may call you to give it up. He may call you to wait. He may say go ahead. But whatever it is . . . if you will wait on Him . . . all your needs and your longings will ultimately be met. Not perhaps as you planned and maybe not at the time you want to have it done . . . but met they will be . . . and in ways far superior to what you can think or imagine!

Someone told me once they read that . . . the work is in the waiting. Wait . . . then . . . for your “work” for the Lord will surely pay big dividends.


Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life
Jeremiah 17:9, 10 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”
Psalm 139:23-25 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 51:9-12 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Philippians 2:2, 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Isaiah 55:8, 9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Ephesians 3:17-21 . . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen
Psalm 38:15 For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.

Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name . . . for Your name is great and Your ways are merciful and full of grace. Wonderful are You, Lord! I thank You this day for all good gifts that you have supplied me with. As I count them one by one – I am ever surprised by what you have done . . . for You amaze me! Thank you, Lord for (List them out – count your blessings one by one!) Father, I come before your throne of grace today with a heart full of indecisiveness . . . . I am longing for (or thinking that . . .) I need (or want) to do (fill in the blank.) Lord, you have given me life. You formed me in the womb and you know my every thought, longing, fear, desire. You placed me in this world where you would have me be and I have been impacted by my past, my family, my circumstances, by my personality and mind. You know my weaknesses and how Satan has played on them. I ask You to heal my wounds and let me know what is motivating me in this decision. I ask you, Lord, to forgive me, in Jesus name for (confess any un-confessed sin). I ask you now to allow me to see this situation clearly. Remove from me anything that will allow me to manipulate this situation for my own best interest. Heal me and reveal my own heart to me and teach me to love as you love . . . to consider everyone involved as you would have me. Give me pure motivations and “right” intentions in all that I do, in every decision that I make. Lord, guide me in this choice, in this decision, in this path so that I may glorify you with every action I take, so that your name may be preserved. Teach me to empathize with those who this will touch and let me hear their concerns in such a way that I respond to them. Protect my relationship with (name people this will affect.) Oh, Father, teach me to be wise. Please, give me wisdom. Give me patience. Give me eyes to see Your will in this, for only You know what is best. Search me and know me, Lord, that I may become more like you. I lay this request . . . and that Your will be done in this . . . at your feet and here, Lord, I wait now. I stand and I wait, with my eyes on You . . . for Your direction and what You would have me do. Let me “hear” you clearly. I bless your Holy name and praise you forever . . . In Your Son . . . Jesus . . . name I pray. Amen.

Practical Application

What is it you want to do?

List ALL of the “reasons” it is “sensible” and logical:
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
6. ____________________________________________________________
7. ____________________________________________________________
8. ____________________________________________________________

Pray and ask God to reveal the deep heart longing or fear that this addresses. Ask Him to reveal your heart to you. (It is helpful to get a list of emotion words and “go deep” in and identify the “real” issue . . . longing, fear, etc. Be patient and kind, it sometimes takes time and can be difficult to identify. Pray!)

What are your basic longings or fears this decision is really addressing? (There may be one or more than one.)
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________

Who else does this decision impact?
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________

Pray to be able to understand their heart cries, their needs and the ability to act and move in their best (emotional) interest, as well as your own.

What “reasons” are they giving for not supporting this decision? (They may not have any reason (or as many) as you because the deep emotion it is triggering has not been identified.)
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
6. ____________________________________________________________

What deep longing or fear in them does this decision conflict with?
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________

(It is helpful to get a list of emotion words and “go deep” to identify the “real” issue . . . longing, fear, etc. Be patient and kind, it sometimes takes time and can be difficult to identify. Pray!)

Come up with a myriad of solutions, creating ideas that would take all parties logical reasoning and deep emotions into consideration. Don’t act until you have prayed, prayed together, identified the deep fear or longing (without judgment as to whether any one “should” feel that way or specific effort to “help” them “see” it differently (i.e. correctly) . . . and both are content (hopefully happy) with the movement that will be made. Cover with humility, prayer and loving others . . . as you love yourself.

*Link to emotion words –

Learn to give up the words “YOU” and OUGHT, SHOULD, CAN’T, ALWAYS and NEVER and say instead “I feel . . . insert emotion word . . .” when


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