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Self Less

July 14, 2008

what do you care about? what motivates you? why?

i was thinking just now of things that motivate me. like…music, laughter, writing. and. well. they all involve…me. im not saying that’s bad. not at all!

then i started thinking about the last time i served at our food pantry. wow. that was quite a day. it was difficult. not laborious. but heavy, emotionally. my kids and i served that day. we served others. hopefully we were a blessing to others and were a part of a life changing moment. others focused. isn’t that what life should be about?

yet..what motivates me still? the very thought of feeling satisfied and happy.

i am not yet at a place in my life where self sacrifice is the first thing that comes to my mind. not that serving and sacrificing can’t or doesn’t have an effect on me personally…it’s just the motivation is different… it is not self serving – it is a process of serving self less.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2008 2:05 am


    Probably just moments in life…usually notice-able things, things that catch my eye that didn’t the second before…I live to be different from average…so learning new ways to be that way, that is motivation…not being like the norm, but striving to be more…

  2. July 14, 2008 4:11 am

    What motivates me? My family, God’s glory, and living out God’s bidding for my life in the context of community!

  3. July 14, 2008 4:23 am

    Safety. Comfort. Stability. For myself and my family. I struggle between being a protective husband/father and being a radical, risk-taking fool for Christ.

    Sometimes my choices cause not only me to sacrifice comfort and stability but also expose my family. Then there are the times when I chose to seek safety/comfort/stability for my family (which includes me) and I wonder if I am rationalizing turning away from my cross to be a “Godly” husband/father.

  4. erinstraza permalink
    July 14, 2008 4:47 am

    For me, the root of motivation often trails back to my desire to diffuse conflict and preserve the feelings of others. Sounds nice on the surface, but I’ve learned over the years that this too is self-serving: I hate the inner-turmoil that comes when life is too choppy and people around me are ruffled. ugh.

    This post reminds me of John Piper’s book Desiring God. He proposes that God has wired us to long for the best good for ourselves b/c ultimately the best good is found in God. He quotes C. S. Lewis in the opening chapter, “The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. . . . Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

    Point being, although I often still think in terms of wanting to be “selfless,” the real goal is to stoke up the passion of life, seek out God fully, and being satisfied in Him, He will pour Himself out overflowing in my life so that others are feed, quenched, and drawn to Him for more.

    I don’t want to be easily pleased w/the trifles of life when God, who is all satisfying, is ready to burst my heart full of all that’s lasting. I may long to write, but am I doing that b/c I desire more of God? I may long to serve in the community, but is it for the desire of God? A good filter to run these thoughts through!

    [My apologies for the great length of this comment!]

  5. July 14, 2008 5:46 am

    GREAT post…

  6. July 14, 2008 6:11 am

    The Dalia Lama had a similar thing to say about happiness. Essentially we achieve more fulfillment when we make others happy than when we work only to make ourselves happy. I’ve noticed that this is true in practice as well as in theory. The things that I do for my children, other family, friends or even strangers are more satisfying than the selfish times that I have. I rarely even matters what it is that I do.

  7. Sean permalink
    July 14, 2008 6:11 am

    My motivation is to be everything that God has in store for me… Through that drive, I will be able to bear up under whatever I am subjected to, I will remember to be thankful for whatever blessings I receive, and when everything else is gone I will always be mindful of the fact that God is looking for a relationship with me!

  8. July 14, 2008 6:27 am

    My motivation is simple… I will not and can not go back to my past without Christ. If I even start to think down that road, I feel like I am disrespecting the sacrifice of the Cross, and holding the hammer and nails in my hand.

  9. July 14, 2008 6:47 am

    “then i started thinking about the last time i served at our food pantry.

    If you are feeling guilty about not serving others, I have some gutters that need cleaning. 😉

  10. Heidi permalink
    July 14, 2008 7:03 am

    What motivates me?? The list is long, my husband, kids, my career, ministry, blogging, relationships, writing and the desire to become intimate with my Daddy God.

    I’m still working on the self- LESS too, it’s hard in a self-made world.

  11. July 14, 2008 7:04 am

    awwww….i’m on your blogroll! thanks!

    motivation…..ever since I read the book “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn, I can say now that Heaven is my motivation. I not only want to live an eternity in Heaven, but I want my REWARDS and the jewels in my crown. LOL…..seriously. Wanting to be self-less is the first step.

  12. July 14, 2008 7:12 am

    Quite convicting, Tam.


  13. TheNorEaster permalink
    July 14, 2008 8:25 am

    “What do you care about?”

    “What motivates you?”
    Sharing that grace.

    Because I know graceful God REALLY is.

  14. July 14, 2008 8:42 am

    “like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.”

    this is huge. in our society it is “me, me, me”. look out for me first. everything we see and hear encourages us to look at self. pride and selfishness are already, naturally, a part of who we are…we dont need anyone suggesting we watch out for numero uno…we WON’T forget that 😯

    what we dont see enough of is selflessness. its out there, yes, but we are constantly bombarded with flesh and fleshly things, so our (my) time is mostly spent on me…so….thats what i know and am more ‘comfortable with’.

    but the deeper part of me…my spirit, knows where true happiness and contentment is found. it is found in serving others. and if i choose to sacrifice my “wants” more to do that, i would realize, like the quote above suggests, that serving unselfishly (if entirely possible even) is far more better, satisfying and fulfilling. it is all those things with a whole new meaning. but we are often deceived in thinking our mud pies in the slum is the best life out there.

    also…serving isn’t only a physical thing. not all of us can get dirty in the trenches. but…we can be an ear when we’d rather do something else. we can write a note when we’d rather watch a movie. we can pray through the night when we’d rather sleep. selflessness comes in many different packages.

  15. July 14, 2008 9:54 am

    This is such a timely post for me because I have turned my selfish, self-centered tendencies over to God and asked Him to work on them. And, He has been taking me on an interesting journey of discovery regarding the world around me. My bubble has been burst and my heart burdened for people and my struggle in recent weeks has been to figure out my place in all of it. My primary motivation is to be in God’s will in every aspect of my life so that I can be the best disciple I can be.

  16. July 14, 2008 10:11 am

    I am motivated, usually without even thinking too hard about it, by the desire to see others change. To watch them mature and desire the Lord more and more. I think it may have something to do with being an exhorter. Funny how our motivations are usually tied to our spiritual gifts…

  17. July 14, 2008 10:51 am

    Great subject today Tam. Selflessness is not a natural thing for us. We, by nature, a fallen one….are use to serving ourselves first.

    I agree that there IS a process we must go through of learning to serve ourselves less and others more.

    My biggest issue in serving others is not serving itself. I love to serve. I love to bring love and joy to others and to see that I could make a difference even if just for a moment.

    But the issue for me begins when I try to serve those who are not thankful or appreciative of my serving. Those who I serve in love even if they hate me.

    This week I have come across this issue. I have someone ( a so called friend) who for NO legitimate reason doesn’t like me and I know I should probably at least send an email asking how she is doing and if she needs anything right now.

    Thats tough when this person is walking around slandering me so falsely. And yet I am called to serve and love others, regardless. I think this is the hardest part of being selfless.

  18. July 14, 2008 12:37 pm

    Great post, Tam. Love your last sentence “process of serving self LESS.”

    I’m motivated by relationships. Relationships with my husband, my children, my extended family, my friends. Also motivated by my relationship with God and how blessed I am to serve him.

    Thanks for making me think!

  19. July 14, 2008 1:20 pm

    Sadly, not a whole lot these days.

    I get motivated (by random things)for a few days…and then it fades.

  20. July 14, 2008 1:37 pm

    Somehow – somewhere mama and I made a commitment to God to serve him and others in everything we do – and have fun doing it if we can! We often get upset with each other because we want to do what the other one wants – not what we want! Now I am confused.

    P.S. I am having internet issues with this wifi thing !! I will be in and out till Friday eve.

  21. July 14, 2008 1:46 pm

    What motivates me is knowing that life is too short and I need to work at experiencing it as much as I can before it ends.

    I want to leave the world a better place when I go, another job that I don’t think I spend enough time at.

  22. July 14, 2008 2:00 pm

    My God, family, music, art.
    My God…He is the one who gave me my family, music and my talents. I am nothing without Him.
    My family, I often get upset with many of them because they are always to busy for family…growing up we got together for dinners to celebrate birthday, anniversaries, company, or whatever…most of the gatherings were held at my grandma’s house. She moved in with my mother when my dad passed away and all the family gatherings came to a stop. My grandma passed away in 2007 and still very few make an effort to show up for family gatherings anymore. I am planning on moving back to my hometown next year, and hoping that we can start the gatherings again. Wish me luck with that!

    Music and Art…music inspires me in my artwork. I grew up with music all around me… I love to sing to myself, my kids, and other peoples kids and sometimes just to annoy my husband. Art, my family is full of artists, my grandma, my mom, my uncles, my kids, my brothers, my cousins and the neat thing is we each have our own different artistic talent.

  23. July 14, 2008 2:08 pm

    This might sound crazy, but blogging and reading other blogs really inspires and motivates me.

  24. July 14, 2008 2:25 pm

    My God, my family, music, studying, blogging 🙂

  25. July 14, 2008 8:35 pm

    I actually just studied the Luke 12 passage @ bible study tonight… the one about the rich man and the store houses… and how his motivation was for himself and not to help anyone else and how God called him a fool because his storing up his wealth was neither profiting him or anyone else and it hit me and how alot of the stuff that I have doesn’t really benefit me and how I don’t use alot of what I have… but my friend just suggested that I give some stuff away and I was like you want me to give my stuff away??? But I need it… but I really don’t… I just hold onto it like I do…

    People motivate me… and the bible motivates me… I love music but I think I put that too high sometimes and need to work on it
    My prayer is that God blesses me so that I can be a blessing to others

  26. July 14, 2008 9:11 pm

    I definitely am motivated to do things to please myself. That is fo sho.

    However, I am also motivated when it comes to my family and ministering to women.

    Few things thrill me more.

  27. July 14, 2008 9:19 pm

    I am motivated by so much. When I begin to lose motivation and I evaluate why, it inevitably shows me that I am motivated by something “self”.

    So for me, motivation of all kinds is good, but once I am looking for self fulfillment in it, I both loose site of the “selfless” task at hand and I lose motivation, cause I don’t get enough back.

  28. July 15, 2008 8:00 pm

    excellent thoughts, my friend.

  29. July 18, 2008 10:26 am

    AWESOME post, Tami! It reminds me of a quote from c.s. Lewis. Something about humility not being self-loathing but self-forgetting. I like that. I like your heart, too! You rock, sista.

    Sorry I’ve been absent. Busy preparing for my mission to India.

  30. February 13, 2011 8:35 pm

    Wow you are geneous,
    wat motivates me is the accounting,
    i think accounting is a very interesting subject.


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