By: Danni Synot
I have a confession to make. Sometimes I have days when I just can’t be bothered. I mean really can’t be bothered.
I can’t be bothered with the dishes in the sink, or a trip to the shop. At times, a conversation with another human being just seems beyond me, I’m not talking about depression, or feeling hopeless or sad, just totally unmotivated.
Yep, I said it.
And what’s more, sometimes I actually like it! Some days I just crank up the heater and flop on the couch, snuggled up with my dog, Princess, devouring vanilla flavoured coconut ice cream while watching re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond and laughing ’til my cheeks hurt.
Chances are some of you are thinking that I need to get a life or make better use of my time. Others who get where I’m going with this will be thinking “Good for you!” …But then there are others who are thinking “Man I wish I could just chill out like that”.
The Occasional Unmotivated Day Is Okay!
If I were having days like this on a regular basis, there might be something to be concerned about. But those few days a year when I get to that place of feeling so unmotivated, I know that my body is telling me to stop and take a breath, and just be.
“Not taking the time to stop when you need to, can lead to burnout and even anxiety and depression.”
Sometimes the scene is different to the couch. Sometimes it’s just laying on the grass, bathing in the warmth of the sunshine, listening to the birds and feeling the gentle breeze dance across my face. Sometimes it’s standing on the shoreline of the ocean talking to God with my feet in the water, while the waves wash over them and then rush back out to sea, because I like that weird sensation it creates of sliding backwards really fast.
Boredom Can Be Therapeutic, In the Right Dose
The truth is that feeling a lack of motivation or boredom can actually be very restful and therapeutic, in the right measure for the right reasons. Rest and relaxation is often followed by a burst of creative ideas and energy, and in that sense, it’s actually very productive. In fact not taking the time to stop when you need to, can lead to burnout and even anxiety and depression.
Been there, done that – more than once, and I can tell you, I’d rather opt for a day on the couch with my dog and a tub of ice cream.
But, I’ve discovered that unmotivated has an evil twin, and here’s the thing. It isn’t driven by an underlying need to rest, it’s driven by that gut wrenching knot in the pit of your stomach, the one that gets you all churned up. The one that filters into your mind with every reason not to do something. Within seconds “what if’s” start marching right in, and pretty soon you’re left completely stripped of any motivation, by a false prophetic failure spoken over your life and sense of impending defeat. It captivates your attention, drawing you around and around in circles, then as brazen as a seagull with a fetish for hot chips, steals your bravery and your joy, and finally demotivation unmasks itself… as fear.
When Lack of Motivation is Really Fear
I saw this principal unmask itself recently with one of my sons. We were at an indoor water park with our two boys and their friends, who also happen to be brothers. They were having such a great time running around and squirting each other, jumping in and out of the pool and just generally going crazy, until my younger son Logan asked to go on the giant waterslides.
After a quick chat, we decided to buy all the boys a ticket for the afternoon, so that they could double the fun with their friends. They all ran off super excited, but just as we turned to go and buy the tickets, our older son Adam suddenly decided that he didn’t want one.
When we asked him why not, he gave us every excuse under the sun. He said “It’s dangerous and I could fall off…”
I responded quickly “It’s safe buddy ..it’s a tunnel slide remember, you can’t fall off”.
“But it’s big…how big is it?” He quizzed
“Adam, it’s way smaller than the Aqua Racer at Adventure Park and you’ve been down that by yourself and had lots of fun remember!”
Fear was working overtime to kill his joy and hold him back from connecting with his friends, so I changed tack.
“Having had my own battles with anxiety and panic attacks in the past, I know that to conquer we must confront.”
Having had my own battles with anxiety and panic attacks in the past, I know that to conquer we must confront. The price of our bravery needs to be worth more than the price of our fear. I also know that the right reward with a dash of positive motivation often works, so I continued: “Adam I’ll give you 5 bucks if you go on it.”
“Mummm…No it’s too high.”
It was time for the big guns, no more cheap talk. Seeing as I already knew that his birthday was coming up, and the whole family was contributing, I could afford this next one.
“Ok Adam, if you go on the slide, you can have an XBOX for your birthday”
He stopped in his tracks. His whole countenance changed. He looked back over at the slide overwhelmed and then back at me, “You’re joking …aren’t you”, he retorted in disbelief.
“I’m so not joking. If you go on the slide you can have an XBOX for your birthday. Why don’t you go down it together with Levi and share a double tube”.
“Ok” he said, as he cautiously walked over to the tubes where his faithful friend was waiting.
And so he did. Once, twice, third time – now on a single tube on his own. Over and over, grinning from ear to ear and not looking back. He confronted and conquered.
Countering Your Fear
Is there something in your life that God is calling you to do, but fear is demotivating you?
Fear dishes out the opposite to what God is longing to bless us with, bitterness, weakness and poor mental health, anxiety, depression, and distorted thinking. Where is that fear coming from? Because God says that kind of fear is not from Him:
“I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind”. 2 Timothy 1:7
Did you take that in? The God of the universe, who so powerfully spoke the world into existence gave you a spirit of love, power and a sound mind! You already have it in your possession! But fear attempts to hoodwink you and steal it, often successfully. But you, Princess Warrior, have the power and the right at any given moment to be brazen and snatch it right back!
You might have noticed that some translations of this verse use the term self discipline rather than sound mind. However both are equally as relevant and connected, because God has given us a spirit of love, power and a sound mind, which requires self discipline to live out.
Who are you allowing to speak over your life? What are you speaking over your own life? You see, what you choose to think, or continue thinking at any given time matters! And, you always have the right to change your mind and adjust your thinking. Here’s how:
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
Are you unmotivated? Take a little rest, have some time with God, eat some ice cream and cuddle up on the couch and laugh at Deborah and Raymond.
Are you demotivated? Consider this: Is the price of God’s calling worth more than the price of your fear?
Name your price, and take it back!
About the Author: Danni is a TV and radio presenter and the Founder and CEO of Brave Enough. It is her passion to encourage people to be brave enough to heal and find hope and freedom in the love of Jesus.