"I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken" (Jn. 12:47-48, NLT).
A verse on judgment and obedience might seem a bit out of place in a series of posts related to the topic of motivation. But as someone who has struggled with both chronic procrastination and intense guilt and shame, I feel that this passage highlights some important truth for those whose lack of motivation stems from deeper emotional issues.
Some of my lack of motivation in life has stemmed from those persistent feelings of guilt. It's incredibly difficult to choose and commence upon a course of action when I have incredibly high expectations for myself. I get caught in paralysis of analysis and avoid moving when I so fear making the wrong decision, moving the wrong way, or making a mistake. In short, I try to avoid the feelings of guilt that I know I will experience if I fall short of perfect.
Clearly, that is not a healthy or realistic approach to life. No one is perfect, except God, and expecting myself to live up to that kind of a standard, to be able to always choose the right path and follow God's plan for my life perfectly is unreasonable and will never work in real life. I understand that, cognitively. But when I believe that that is what God expects of me, I keep trying to meet that standard anyway.
But then I read that verse in John. And it tells me that when I'm not perfect - heck, even when I'm outright disobedient - God isn't going to judge me. He knows I'm only human. The only thing He will ever judge me for is rejecting Him and His message (Jn. 12:47-48). And what is His message to us? Salvation by grace. Through faith. Something we can never earn, never be good enough to obtain on our own. It's a gift, to be received humbly and with gratitude (Eph. 4:8-9).
So when I find myself struggling to complete a project I want to turn out just right, or stuck in analyzing my options due to fear of making the wrong decision - all I have to do is remember God's grace. It's okay to be a little less than perfect. God's grace gives me freedom to try and fail. And try again. Jesus was perfect in my place. I don't have to hold myself to such a high standard, because Jesus already met that standard for me. And best of all, a deep understanding of His lavish grace and love should inspire such immense thankfulness that I cannot restrain myself from doing everything I can to live a live that brings Him glory. How freeing is that?
So, friends, that was the last post in the Project: Inspiration series. After a summer's worth of posts, I have to be honest: I'm still struggling with procrastination. A lot. But I have found that even writing these posts - and my commitment to do so - is helping me focus better. As I have to keep reminding myself frequently, it's a process. Rome wasn't built in a day - bad habits take time to break. The important thing is persistence.
I hope you all have enjoyed this series, and perhaps even found it helpful in your own lives. Motivation can be hard to get a hold of at times, but it is possible. And when all else fails - just do it anyway. That's how you learn to master the force of inertia in life.