One of the moments I remember most from high school was being in a locker room in Waco, Texas before the basketball state championship. Everyone was nervous feeling the weight of the game we were about to play. Coach walked in with The Dallas Morning News newspaper folded up. He said, “I want y’all to hear this article. It says, ‘The State Championship is a mere formality for (our opponent). (Our school) lacks the height and the talent to keep up.’” Something happened in that moment. He said, “Go prove them wrong!” We started banging on the lockers and screaming. We came out of that locker room a force to be reckoned with and won the game. We were all of a sudden motivated to win, but it was the discipline we learned in practice that gave us the victory.
Motivation is a good thing, but it doesn’t keep you going. When we first accept Jesus, find our calling or discover our God given purpose, our motivation is high. When it comes down to working it out, getting things moving or bumping into roadblocks on the way, motivation does very little to keep us on the path. It’s the daily disciplines that do that. Motivation is emotional and depends on success to stick around. Discipline is willpower and depends on determination to move despite how you’re feeling. God gives us the mountain top, emotional experiences because we need the motivation from time to time, but He expects us to be disciplined to continue through the valleys of not being able to hear Him or sense His direction for our lives.
Proverbs 30:25 says, “The feeble ant has little strength, yet look how it diligently gathers its food in the summer to last throughout the winter” (TPT). He keeps working for the future despite the present, and is a good example for us. You may have lost your motivation along the way to doing what God called you to, but let me encourage you to begin small, disciplined steps to move you towards it. Find five things you can do daily that will keep you moving towards the place where God is calling you, and do them no matter what. The ant is considered wise and a hard worker in this Scripture because he does the necessary work before the winter arrives. So you and I need to be working while we can towards the place God is leading us. Motivation may give you momentum, but discipline will keep you going when you’re not feeling it.
Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash