Every human ever has suffered from a “meh” feeling: a sluggish, almost inebriated lack of motivation that saps all your creativity and energy away. All you teenagers and even preteens know what I mean. Riley has written an excellent post on this very topic, so I will say no more and just direct you there.
And we Christians aren’t safe from this unmotivation. Lately, after starting college, I have wished that I could subsist entirely on chocolate and Pinterest, skipping the study time for two big tests. I wish that my books would write themselves. I wish that ideas for blog posts (ahem) would appear out of nowhere.
Is there a way to solve this? How can we make ourselves leap out of bed and say, “Good morning, Lord! I’m ready to face the overwhelming tasks and unforeseen obstacles of the day with all the strength and joy of your Spirit! Yippee!” (My brother informs me that the proper interjextion among millenials is “hype” or “woot;” I have elected to ignore this confusing protocol.)
Those are not rhetorical questions. It’s time for us to find the answers. And I think I know just where to look; a friend of mine named Paul (okay, we’ve never actually met) has some excellent insight on this subject. He compares life to an athletic competition:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. (1 Corinthians 9:24-26 ESV)
Let’s face it; as hard as we teenagers think our work is, athletes have it much harder. Tim Tebow does something like 200 push-ups daily just to keep in shape. Eric Liddel had to endure painful massages during the Olympics to prevent muscle damage. And those warmups are in addition to an athlete’s “real” work of playing professional football or running marathons. No homework, not even chemistry, is so physically strenuous.
People don’t work that hard without some sort of motivation. Honestly, when was the last time you did 200 push-ups just for the fun of it? The reason all those athletes work so hard isn’t just to stay buff and look good for a camera, as would be the motivation of a movie actor. Nor do they endure that kind of pain just to provide bloggers with useful object lessons. Athletes work so hard because, as Paul says, they want the victor’s wreath, the prize.
This is why Paul compares life to an athletic race. Christians aren’t living just for living’s own sake; we work toward a higher goal, that of bringing glory to God. To hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” is better than any perishable wreath on earth.
God has created me for a purpose. He knows that I’m going to suffer trials- he gives a warning about that- but He promises to give me strength. And bringing glory to the one who created me is infinitely better than any medals that humans can give me. That is how I can keep going. It won’t always be easy, but it is never a waste.
“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” -Eric Liddell