Have you noticed an increase of motivational speakers lately?

The more the world unravels the more upbeat these guys seem to be. (Most are men. I think women know better.)

You know the type.

They challenge you to make your life count.

They tell you to change the world and make an impact for God. And then give you a zillion pointers. They call it a blog.

What about the super-godly who want to die with their boots on? (I don’t have boots. What does that say about me?)

How do you respond to these calls for excellence?

I’m a cynic at heart so my reaction is: Oh yea? Show me what you’ve done lately
to stop the rotation of the planet.

I hate these guys.

They’re appealing to the flesh. My flesh. Of course I want to be great and important. Who doesn’t?

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m all for excellence. I ripped a new play apart last week because it could have been so much better. (And I wished I had written it.)

I’m all for success. My success. I really don’t care about anybody else’s except maybe my children’s.

I know that these things in themselves aren’t bad. There’s a lot of mediocrity that passes for excellence, like that play, and so a slap on the head is a good thing.

But the question is: is this where God is calling us?

I know he tells us to be perfect as he is perfect, and that without holiness we will never get to hang out together. That’s quite a standard to live up to. It pales in comparison to the motivational mantras of becoming rock stars.

However, I’m not sure, given all the right resources, that we can even live up to being mediocre.

Even mediocrity has its standards that are hard to achieve.

I have a motivational poster in my office that says: “Ineptitude: If you can’t learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.”

I’m learning to follow Jesus poorly. I don’t get it right. My motivations are wrapped in me, myself and I – my favorite trinity.

I need a Savior. That’s why Jesus died for me.

My rock-star status doesn’t exist. It’s a lie.

My real status is bound up with his. God captured me, subdued me, and extracted me from the world and put me into the kingdom of his Son. Don’t look at me like that. It was God’s idea.

So maybe the challenge is not so much what I can do for God that is so great, but what God has already done for me which is enormous. I need to focus on that.

And then tell somebody else so he can wipe the sweat off his brow and know he’s not alone.

9 thoughts on “Exhausted!

  1. I love your honesty and transparency. I have many of the same thoughts when I hear these speakers, preachers and bloggers tell me how much better I can do and be, if I only wanted it more, and tried harder. The implication is that it’s all about me.

    And you’re right; we need to focus on Him, not on our “performance.”

    Thanks for showing us your warts, and in the process helping us to acknowledge our own.

  2. This is so true! I’ve been to a few events lately and I’ve heard more than my share of motivational speakers…I’m done! They all need to seek for the Lord and not themeselves…

  3. This was so helpful, hugely helpful. I keep crashing into my failures, and need to remember that my messy spotty record has been wiped out through His grace, and that He’s been obedient perfectly for me. It is easier to crash on weeks like this when I’m running on fumes and have loads to do–and nothing seems earth shattering, or is going to rock the universe–except that I’m trying to do it for the right reasons and for His honor. Some weeks are like this, where no amount of schedule management, or smart planning is going to make it much better. It needs Gospel grace, and that’s what I pray for and plead for from the Lord for all of us. I so often want a quick fix, and He is doing things His way. This is not instant potato flakes He’s making.
    He’s making something beautiful, and that means it happens on His time table not ours. But I’m like that little kid, longing for the holidays, and realizing that there is still 12 more weeks till summer vacation…

  4. I’ve certainly had seasons when I’ve fallen flat on my face and it’s been deeply hurtful. And, I’ve also learned important lessons from those episodes. But, personally, I praise God for words of encouragement and for those through who offer them. Encouragement is a gift. Groveling in our mediocrity can be just as self-centered and prideful as those who pursue excellence for their own glory…both reek. But God made us all with gifts and talents, and we’re admonished to “work at them with all our heart” as unto the Lord. There is profound joy and satisfaction in this. As Eric Liddell said in Chariots of Fire: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”

  5. My life has been full of failures. But it has also been full of successes. The kicker is I can’t take any credit for the successes. They are only as good as the Spiritual gifts and talents the God gave me in the first place. So the credit goes to him. I only get exhausted when doing things in my own strength instead of His. Like Eric Liddell, I feel God’s pleasure when living in my gifting. The Holy Spirit provides the power and the strength for what God wants done.

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