For the disenfranchised there is this hope: motivation for the task ahead, to change, or to maintain something difficult is made infinitely easier to know we have two keys for control.
We’re intrinsically motivated or extrinsically; one is favoured; however, the other is just as powerful and can prove to be our long-term betterment.
The Luxury of Calling
In Christian ministry circles, pastors are called, whether by the church they serve or by the tug of their heart to enter into service for the church, generally—preferably both.
When we ask a 15-year-old what they want to be when they grow up many don’t know. Most 40-year-olds find themselves in the same position. Indeed, we all have times when we don’t know our purpose; we have no sense of call.
That makes times when we do have a strong heart-call an utter joy. We have good reason to be grateful. It’s a comparative luxury to know what we were put on this planet to do. But such a luxury comes with a hook. Desire finds only half the enigma answered.
We need to convert this call, where we can, into a relevant role. If no relevant role exists calling can be considered a curse.
The ‘Curse’ of Calling
Whilst it is the sheer a blessing when a servant of God is able to serve in the manner of their calling, for every one in this position there will be at least another, or more, who battle with their sense of call, and a lack of opportunity to expedite the call.
In other words, many people have dreams and aspire to serve in certain ways, but never find the opportunity—for myriad reasons.
Such a calling can, therefore, procure a curse. Without the ability to express that sense of burning passion the soul is brought to collision point with itself and a spiritual dissonance likely occurs.
Beyond such inner conflict, however, is the inevitable gauntlet that the Lord throws down; we are compelled to mature past this seeming irreconcilable issue of calling.
This is where the power of an extrinsic motivation comes into its own. Nobody wants to admit they are extrinsically motivated; but what a testimony of God’s faithfulness it is to live in ways to experience grace that is always sufficient, despite any inner dissatisfaction.
This is how God matures us. We cannot always be intrinsically motivated. Expecting that, on its own, is consummate immaturity.
Sometimes we might be required to exist, productively, in roles that bring little inner satisfaction.
Our Lord has a purpose in putting us—the square peg—into a round hole. That might sound cliché but it is nevertheless true. Sometimes we grow most when placed in difficult, unnatural circumstances, but it’s not until afterwards we understand.
Motivation is blessing. Let us not deride an extrinsic motivation, for forging through trials, problems, and anxious times is part of us growing up. Then there is intrinsic motivation; pure bliss in being alive to do this thing!
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.