What’s Your Motivation?

 

I recently read a heartbreaking article written by an anonymous sister in Christ. In this article, the woman spoke about the Proverbs 31 woman and how trying to mimic this picture perfect woman is nothing short of exhausting! She said that simply reading Proverbs 31 made her want to give up, sit down and take a nap.

 

She went on describing the many wonderful qualities of this wonder woman and in a rather sarcastic tone, talked about how she didn’t understand why any woman would do all these praiseworthy things! Where was the motivation?

 

Then she came to the second sentence in verse 28, “and he praises her.”  Suddenly it became clear to her: the Proverbs 31 woman was happy to be such a blessing to her family because her husband praised her for it! That makes sense right? Well, it made more sense after I kept reading the article. You see, this sister went on to explain that in forty years of marriage, she had never, not once, ever received praise from her husband.

 

This dear woman confessed she had no motivation to live out the example of the Proverbs 31 woman, because her husband didn’t live out the example of verse 28.

 

I admit my heart breaks for this woman. How sad that, after forty years of marriage, her husband has yet to give her praise. But, what breaks my heart even more is that her husband is her motivation.

 

Verses 29 – 30 say this, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

 

Did you catch that? A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Proverbs 31 woman was motivated by her Heavenly Father, not her earthly husband.

 

Our motivation must be the Lord, and only the Lord, every day, every time, no matter the task.

 

I can think of no better motivation than Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

Matthew 5:16 tells us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

 

It doesn’t say let your light so shine before men so that they may see your good works and praise you for it. It does, however, say let your light shine before men so that when they see your good works it glorifies your Father in Heaven.

 

Glorifying God should be our motivation, not receiving praise from man.

 

I could certainly say a thing or two to this husband who has never given praise to his wife. He hardly seems to be living out his charge to love his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). But as wives, we can’t be a blessing to our husbands only because they praise us for our efforts.

 

With that being said I, like most wives, can relate to this. I’ve had my fair share of moments when I thought, “Why should I do this or that when no one seems to notice?” But those are the moments when I’m telling myself the lie that I deserve praise, and that in that praise I will find my self-worth.

 

When I instead think to myself, “I’m so thankful that God blessed me with a home to maintain and a family to care for,” my entire attitude changes. Suddenly I don’t really care if they notice all the little things I do, because now I’m doing those little things out of response to the love my Heavenly Father has shown me. He has given me a family to care for, so I’m going to care for them to best of my ability – to honor Him.

 

I had a friend tell me once that every day when her husband came home from work, she immediately thanked him for working hard and supporting their family. But one day she realized that he had stopped thanking her for staying home with their kids and taking care of their house. So guess what? She stopped thanking him because he had stopped thanking her. Round and round it goes….

 

The ugly truth is, people disappoint. I have complete confidence that I disappoint my husband and, thankfully, I have complete confidence that he takes his charge to love me as Christ loves the church seriously, despite my shortcomings as a wife!  We cannot be each other’s motivation! 

 

Think about Jesus…think about Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

What if, instead, that verse said, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: Once everyone loves Him and honors Him the way He deserves to be loved and honored, Christ will die for them.”

 

That would change everything, wouldn’t it? Jesus would still be waiting to make that sacrifice! But the reality is, Christ died for us, not while we were on our knees praising Him, but while we were running away from Him with hard and rebellious hearts.

 

When we understand how God demonstrated his love for us…when we understand the sacrifice he made while we were still dead in our sin…we understand that God, and only God,  can be our motivation. We must remind ourselves that our worth is found in Christ, not in the praise of man, and that our goal, in all that we do, should be to honor Him.

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Motivation?

  1. Hi Beth: I just found your blog after reading this mornings words on “5 ways you may be cheating on your spouse”. I just love your take on things. I am a want a be writer and will keep subscribed to your blog. Thanks for giving of yourself. You really blessed me today!
    In Christ, Debe

  2. Hello Beth,

    My husband came across your blog, your post about praying through suicidal thoughts. I have battled with the notion of wanting to die for as long as I can remember as a result of the larger war that is anxiety and OCD. We have been married almost 5 years. We just recently, very recently, had a miscarriage. Despite my ability that I know only comes from God, to rise everyday since and carry out my responsibilities. The pain is crippling. It’s been dark. The notion of wanting to die has more often then it used to turned to thoughts and ways I could end the pain and the burden (that is my grief and my anxiety) for everyone. The suicidal thoughts and desires have lasted longer than they used to. My husband is scared to leave me. Because we are both social workers we know how to do a “safety plan”. We make pacts to see eachother tomorrow and do something together that is intentional. It’s Thankgiving weekend, I didn’t have the energy to go to his family’s for dinner. He left me behind, so very reluctantly. With tears in his eyes. He said I emailed you a prayer that this woman who struggles with what you struggle with. Please read it.

    It took my breath away. I thought I was alone in my battle with desire to die and desire to hope. I felt peace. Peace that I can pray through the lies, that I can remember actual words in those moments.

    Thank you for being brave to share this!

    1. Hello,
      Thank you so much for contacting me. You made me cry. I struggle with anxiety, depression and OCD. I have also suffered a miscarriage. Our daughter, Grace would be 15 now had she lived. I am so terribly sorry that you had to experience a miscarriage, especially when you are already carrying the heavy burden of OCD. I am so heartbroken over how many people struggle with suicidal thoughts. My father committed suicide, and so I know first hand how devastating suicide is for a family to deal with. There have been times over the years when my thoughts have gone there…but because of my dad, I know I could never put my family through that. I also have chronic migraines/physical pain, which makes the depression so much darker because I often feel so worthless. I felt particularly worthless after the miscarriage because I felt as though it were my fault, my body didn’t work right. But, the truth is, our bodies are broken, we live in a broken world and bad things happen. Even so, God is sovereign and we must praise Him in the sunshine as well as the rain. I will pray for you. I will pray for physical healing but also mental/emotional healing. It sounds like you are in a very dark place. How blessed you are, though to have a husband who cares so deeply for you and who wants so badly to keep you alive and well! That alone is worth living for!
      Although it’s been 15 years since my miscarriage, I still think of our baby almost everyday. But, the pain does get better, I promise. The OCD and the anxiety will make your recovery harder, longer, more grueling perhaps, but there really is so much to live for. Despite the miscarriage, OCD alone can make someone want to be done with this life…years ago my OCD kept me from functioning. I’m thankful to have moved past that, but I do understand how crippling it can be. I’m thankful your husband came across my prayer. I do hope it can help you through the dark moments. You are very much NOT alone in your struggle. The struggle is real and if you haven’t talked to a doctor, perhaps you should. But, know you’re not alone in this and more importantly, that you are loved far deeper than you know.
      Please feel free to contact me again if you want. I don’t know your name, but God does, and I will pray for you.
      Much love,
      Beth

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