What lies beneath?

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Today’s prompt hit a nerve as soon as I read the word….surface.  My mind immediately began to form poems about layers and things hidden deep within.  It affected me because it reminds me of a topic that I’ve been contemplating for days.

A few nights ago, I taught on Motives; those deeply private and often impure reasons we do the things we do.  As I studied in preparation, I thought a lot about my own motives.  I asked myself questions like, “What is hidden in this heart?” and “Are my motives usually pure?”  I know better than to ask “always” because I think we all know that our hearts deceive us sometimes and there are other times when we have just allowed the wrong things in and our actions correspond.

I knew I had written on this very topic before so I did a quick search on “motives” and lo and behold, I find Check My Motives.  This post was from 2014!  So two years ago, God was dealing with me on the same topic.  I’m thankful for God’s long-suffering towards me as obviously He is re-addressing this with me once again.  I am either a very slow learner or my human heart just needs a reminder from time to time.

We do find ourselves with messy motives though, don’t we?   Have you ever done something for someone else with the hope that someone else will notice and praise you?  Would you do some of the good things you do if there was to be no visible payoff?  Do you hide behind social media and post something with a motive to hurt someone or embarrass them, but tell yourself you are innocent of such?

In all seriousness and honesty, I really do want to have pure motives all the time.  In order for that to happen my heart has to be pure, because out of the abundance of it, the mouth speaks (or writes, or posts).

Sometimes things done with insincere motives unwittingly benefit others and often we don’t even realize where our motives are coming from when we act.  It is a topic definitely worth reflecting on in your quiet time.

Proverbs 16:2 says, “People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.”  We know God looks upon the heart, but we may forget what that means.  He examines our motives.  If that isn’t reason enough for me to examine my own, I don’t know what is.

 

 

 

Monday musings

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Why did I cook homemade cornbread today?  I initially told myself it was because I love my husband and I wanted him to have something special to go with dinner.  In reality, I wanted it.  My motivation for making it was two-fold; I was in the mood for some fluffy, sweet bread and making it would kill two birds with one stone, because my husband would also appreciate it.  Two large pieces later, I am questioning my judgment.

When I wrote Check My What back in November, God was dealing with me about checking my motives and looking at the why behind my actions.  I’m still doing that and I still recommend it.

I even find my faith increasing as I learn to trust God completely and not try to fix things myself in the background (like He can’t see exactly what I’m doing anyway).  When I open myself up completely, no hidden agendas, no hidden motives and I just pour out my heart; God loves that.  It’s so real.

Have a blessed Monday!  And if you want a good cornbread recipe, go here.

A work in progress

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Since I wrote “Check my What?” back in November, I have been more aware of my motives as I go about my business.  Hopefully I have offended less, exalted myself less and cared less about being right, and more about showing love.  Of course, as I write this paragraph, my failures glare at me from the recent past.  Thankfully though, I realize I am a work in progress.  I didn’t expect perfection quite yet, just improvement.  And that, my friends, is the point of this post.

As we closely examine ourselves (If you don’t do this, I highly recommend it for your own benefit as well as those around you), we often find areas in our lives that need work.  We long to see some speedy positive development in our needful areas.

I find though, that upon reflecting on their progress, many of my friends and members of my family are often way too hard on themselves.  They don’t see mere improvement as success.  Maybe 2 lbs. isn’t the 30 you want to lose, but it’s a start; it’s still success because you aren’t going backwards.

For me personally (besides the motive thing I’m also working on), I want to do more for others.  I still feel like I procrastinate too often or give in to laziness and fail to reach my goals.  However, I have improved and surely that counts for something.

If your heart is right and your intentions are good, you are headed in the right direction.  Be encouraged that recognizing something that merits change or improvement is half the battle.  At nearly 50, I am learning that there is still so much I don’t know, when I thought I about had it wrapped up!

Whether you think you can or think you can’t — you are right. ~Henry Ford

Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be.
~Karen Ravn

Not mine to control

Saturday sunset

Saturday sunset

Admittedly, I like to be in control of things.  I am a planner and it’s unnerving to me when I don’t know things.  When I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, my motives are bigger than my desires to know his particular cravings on that day.  I need to know what time and if there is a possibility that others may be invited.  After all, I must plan.  To him, the spur of the moment individual that he is, it is annoying that I need to know all of these things before lunch.  Learning to “roll with the flow” is a lesson I have not even begun to master yet.

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my Christian walk is that I have to relinquish control; especially when it comes to people and this is often adult kids who won’t just do what mom says is best.   I must trust God with them and most of the time, thankfully, I do.

The one that brought the most grief this week though was having someone completely misunderstand my intentions and refuse to give me the opportunity to explain.  My motives were harshly and unfairly judged and although I know in my heart of hearts that I didn’t intend any harm, that I harbor no ill feelings and that the person is truly mistaken, I wasn’t given the opportunity to right the perceived wrong.

As I have mentioned before, I loathe dissension.  However, in this situation, again, I must trust God to shine the light of truth on the problem, while I patiently wait.  It’s easy for people to say, “Don’t worry about it”, or “It’s not your problem”, but since I feel like the right words would be like a healing balm to a troubled soul, the waiting is difficult.  But, wait I will, with the calm assurance that God has a plan that is better than mine.

Have a blessed night!

Check my what?

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We have all heard the phrase, “check your motives” but how often do we really check them?  I am finding personally as I try to make a habit of it, that they aren’t always as pure as I had once imagined.  This motive checking has been on my radar for quite some time now as I knew it was something God was dealing with me personally about.  Not surprisingly, it is way easier to judge someone else’s motives than your own and your family members are easy prey.

My husband and my youngest daughter have always had this thing that they do when I am fussing at them about something.  While I am in mid-sentence, they say, “I love you”.  There were times when this was infuriating, but a large percentage of the time, it garnered a smile from me and the change of subject that had been their intent all along.  Their motive behind saying it was to change the topic and my train of thought, or to derail my indictment.   Thankfully, I know they both adore me and that although their motive wasn’t entirely pure, they still meant what they said.

If we pay close attention to our conversations, our emails, and our Facebook posts, they can speak volumes regarding motive.  Has anyone ever posted something seemingly innocuous on Facebook, but the reason you did it was to get back at or prove a point to someone?  What about the argumentative email that you go back and forth with someone at work?  Is it perhaps because you are determined to be right or prove them wrong?  Are all of your questions about others out of genuine concern or do you ever have an ulterior motive?  Think about times when you are discussing something and you say something that you later regret.  Why did you say it?  What was your motive behind it?  Were you being kind, compassionate, loving and merciful?

Now, for the difficult part of this post, the part where I am completely transparent.  Often when I speak, my motive is to prove that I am right, to make myself look good (attain praise), to get attention, or sometimes even to call attention to a fault in someone else.  Ouch!  The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

Silly selfie shared with girls

Now, you can see why God is dealing with me personally.  Thankfully, this journey has opened my eyes to some of the little hidden things of the heart and I have learned about myself and others.  I have asked for forgiveness and for God’s help that that my motives will always be pure; that the words I speak are from a heart filled with love.

I want to challenge you to pay attention to your own motives in conversations, as you go about your day and see if you have any “wow” moments in this area.  Then, be brave and come back and post something you learned.

I dare ya!

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