What drives you to do what you do?
"Why do these people do this?" I asked myself as I drove through the large city. I cringed at my situation. I felt smothered by the immense lines of traffic surrounding me on all sides. "Oh my goodness, I would despise enduring the hubbub of the stressful, fast-moving throngs each time I needed to drive somewhere."
I felt a sort of admiration for the people who waited patiently in their automobiles wanting to move ahead and proceed to their destination. Why would anyone give up an hour or two each day going to and from work? It seemed like such a waste of time. Most of those who persevered in the adverse traveling circumstances undoubtedly did so in order to create a better lifestyle for their families. I dipped into my well of imaginations and conjured up all sorts of reasons why people do this. Perhaps many did so to advance in their jobs, to secure more material wealth, or to attain power. Others, though, did so to reach a hospital or for another purpose. I felt compassion and sympathy toward those who were forced into the hordes of traffic just so they could survive.
Everyone has his reasons -- reasons that keep him pushing on, day after day. Whether the price you pay for the outcome you hope for is driving in herds of traffic, rising unusually early in the morning or working at a job you strongly dislike, there's motivation of some kind. Look at the multitudes of parents who toil overtime so their offspring can attend college -- more than I can visualize.
Many keep going so they can pay medical bills for someone they love and contribute other gifts. Some, however, work and endure inconveniences to impress other people. They become a victim of their own making. Those individuals value others' opinion more than their own.
Everyone has a motive for what he does. Hopefully that motive is a good one. Only we can look within and see of what our driving force consists. Do you do what you do for love or for greed and power?
Love seems to be the highest motivation, one that brings willing sacrifice and the greatest rewards. The giver truly is the most blessed. The object of one's love can cause the individual to reach unfathomable heights, but to also make enormous sacrifices. He will surrender enormous amounts of time, and money, and forgo numerous pleasures and conveniences to help or win someone he loves. Yes, one will even drive in heavy traffic and sit in rush hour congestion for those he loves.
I suspect the larger percentage of people I saw on those busy highways and streets were doing so because they loved their families. Only they know the genuine reason. The same scenario holds true for any endeavor one tackles. Ask: "Why am I attempting this feat? Is it genuinely what I want to spend my time, energy and resources on?" Regardless of how much one does in the name of love, it's never too much.
According to Christopher Note, "The sincerity of our love of people is not measured by academic attitudes, by passing resolutions, by meeting once a month and complaining about conditions in the world. Mere lip service is almost the equivalent of nothing at all. To love your neighbor as yourself means doing for others as we would do for ourselves, regardless of the time spent, inconvenience involved, even real suffering sometimes endured."
Corinthians 1 13:13 says: "And now these three remain, faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love."
Hopefully love is the driving force behind what you do. It's the reason you were created. Matthew 4:14-6 says: "You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others so they may see your good works and give glory to God."
Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.