I bought Sue a Fitbit for Christmas. And she bought me one. That was Christmas 2015. They have been reporting on our daily steps, calories, and heartbeat for a year now. With a year in the history books, I have learned something; I need a deeper motivation than continuous information from a fitness tracker.
Trevin Way recently posted on his blog lessons he learned from his Fitbit. Here are a few:
- “The Fitbit itself cannot inspire; it can only inform.”
- “It’s not the Fitbit that motivates you to exercise; it’s your motivation to exercise that gets you interested in the Fitbit.”
- “Measurement is one thing. Motivation is another.”
Now there is a key life lesson. He nailed it. For so much of my life I tried to motivate myself by measuring how I was doing…in my exercise program, in my spiritual disciplines, etc. I had charts and graphs. Some how progress was not a lasting motivation…actually it was the opposite. I had made such good progress I could slack off. And the lack of progress check marks didn’t help either – they just made me feel guilty and confirmed I was not a faithful person, so I might as well quit.
I need a deeper motivation than information. Than measurement. Than the rush of success. Or the fear of failure.
So what is the motivation? I am learning lasting motivation in every area of my life is the love of Christ. Let’s take physical fitness and health for example. Sorry to be so personal but it is easy to articulate. And it is an area where we are constantly sold false motivations.
I am pretty much the same weight I was in college. Now granted it has shifted around. People say keeping my weight down is my genetics. I disagree. I know how easy it is to add twenty pounds. I have been there. More than once. I don’t like it. It doesn’t feel good and it inhibits my ability to capture the dreams God has given me. Calorie counts haven’t had a lasting effect. Nor weight graphs hanging on the bathroom mirror. I have to keep coming back to three truths:
- God made my me.
- Jesus died for me.
- The Spirit of God lives in me.
Add these three together and they say to me that God values me and loves me…and I want to be a good steward of what He values and loves. As I spend more time dwelling on and experiencing God’s incredible love for me, I find I want to love what he loves. I desire what He desires. He wants me to live healthily. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Let’s apply this to the practice of the spiritual disciplines. God loves an intimate relationship with us. He paid a great price to make that a reality. And I want to love what God loves…and so I am motivated to spend time with him.
At some point my motivation needs to be deeper than information that I am making progress or falling behind. My motivation needs to be the love of Christ.
My behaviors will always follow my affections.
Coming up: A series on the inner breeding grounds of stress, anxiety and burnout…from someone who has wondered those grounds. ME!