Confession: There’s a part of my personality that I really dislike.
It’s my motives.
I find motives to be sneaky and insidious things. Motives are a matter of the heart, the “why” behind what we do. And mine generally stink.
motive: a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.
I feel a deep connection to Paul, when he shares in the scriptures, “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”
This has been my struggle for years. I want to do something good, and then I am immediately plagued by wanting to do it for all the wrong reasons. I want to please others or look good. Actually, more often with me, I just don’t want to look “bad”. Or I act out of fear. I am often motivated by the fear of not being good enough, or not doing enough good. Sometimes I feel like if there is a way to warp a motive, then I’ve probably discovered it.
And yet, I realized something recently. I don’t have to accept my motives. I can argue with them. I can argue with myself. I can actually change the “why” behind my actions. If I am calling someone back, motivated out of guilt, I can actually remind myself of their friendship and change my “why” to calling them because I value them. I actually have the choice to identify, and choose, the right reasons for doing good things.
I imagine that my stinky motives will keep whispering in my ear and heart. But I’m up for a good argument!