I love living in a place of inspiration and motivation, and praise the Lord, it’s where I’ve been lately. The excitement, the energy, the hope, the fun, the fire, the passion, the change that can come. I love it.
But maybe you know all too well like I do, that so often as quickly as these fires are lit inside of us, they are often just as quick to die.
From a faith stand point, it reminds me of the spiritual high you get when you finish a youth retreat or a women’s retreat, or hear an amazing message from a Pastor or teacher, when you’re away from the real world and enclosed in a bubble almost, where everyone is on fire for the Lord, and then you come home… and well reality rears its ugly head and there goes that fire for change or whatever it may have been.
It’s typical of new year’s resolutions too isn’t it? Here we are in January starting off the new year with grand plans for change in our lives, and we’re feeling ready and motivated. We start to tackle that thing on our list, and we did good for a few weeks, but then as the month ends and here comes February, that thing has lost its shine, its appeal, the monotony is coming through, the goal is becoming work (ugh, who wants to work?), the fruits are taking too long to appear, and so there fizzles the resolution. Poof. Gone. We want the beach bod, but not the sweat and work and sacrifice and time it takes to get one.
For me personally, since the New Year, I’ve been feeling encouraged and inspired to dive deeper into the Word again and to drastically give my prayer life a makeover (thank you War Room … and other sources hitting me with the same message, shout out to my Disciple Maker’s group). Honestly, I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from movies and books, so after seeing the movie War Room, you better believe I’m ready to jump on the bandwagon and ready to transform my closet into a prayer closet. I’ve started planning my space in my mind, where it’s going to be, what it’s going to look like. I’ve even started printing out my favorite Bible verse printables from my Pinterest board to tape up on my walls and use as prayers, and I’ve started writing down prayers for each member in my family again, making everything all pretty to paste up to look at and read and pray over each day.
But I also hesitate, because I don’t want this to be a bandwagon move. Because I’ve experienced so many crashes from these sorts of highs, that I’m tempted to fear it happening again any time I start to feel a new wave of inspiration and passion flow through my veins and surge in my heart. I need a way to fight that, to keep that flame burning. I don’t want it to be like that prayer journal I kept for a short season. I don’t want to have been attracted by fun, glittery, shiny part of the inspiration that came from a movie. I want it to be real. I want the thing I’m inspired to do to be lasting. Transforming. So that led me to ask, how do I do it then? How do I keep my inspiration and stay motivated and see this through?
Here’s what I’m learning:
It’s going to take self-control and discipline.
To make a change lasting, you need to have self-control and discipline. The initial fire will need fanning to stay lit. You have to keep at it and turn your inspiration and motivation into a habit. Make it a habit. What is it that they say? It takes 21 days to form a habit? I’m not sure that’s entirely true, but it’s onto something. It’s going to take time and repetition. I would say most of us lack self-control and discipline on our own, I know I personally am terrible at it; this is why I have to work out in a group setting, whether it’s a yoga class or CrossFit, I know I will never work out or put in 100% unless I’m with others. Ultimately though, it’s still my choice whether I go or not. And it takes discipline to keep showing up. Really when it comes down to it, if we really want self-control and discipline, we need to pray for it. Thank the Lord, He gives it to us!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7
For me, my one area of inspiration right now is creating a war room in my home. If I’m going to go through with it, I need to pray – yep PRAY for my prayer room – for me to have self-control and discipline to not just make it happen, but to put it to USE, and USE it, daily. The fun part for me will be creating it, I know this. I love words. I love pictures and printables and graphics with scriptures. I love the beauty in them and reading them and seeing them. I love designing spaces and the idea of creating an intentional space to come before the Lord. I love the creativity that comes through in all of that. BUT, once I finish creating that space, I know the shine and excitement will dull, and when I have start using that war room for its purpose, to go to battle, when I have to put in the work, I know that’s when I’m really going to need the self-control and discipline. And I know the Lord will give it to me if I ask.
Be realistic and do the work.
Dream big, aim for the moon, yes, but there has to be some reality checks to get there. To get to that place we’re so excited to start striving towards, we forget that it may take a million baby steps, not one giant leap… sort of like a marathon, not a sprint. Which is a great example; if you feel inspired to run a marathon this year, but you haven’t run a mile since your high school gym class, you may need to set some realistic goals in terms of the training it’s going to take to get there, you may need to rethink when you should run that marathon (maybe not next month, but maybe in a year), etc. You’re not just going to be able to do it all of a sudden; you have to prepare and plan and work at it and work at it. Do the work. Expect the shine to dull as you start to get into the thick of whatever it is you’re being inspired to do. Be prepared for that so it doesn’t surprise or discourage you when it happens. Look for the fruits along the way as you keep at it, because there will be fruits of your labor as you go. Realize whatever it is that you’re being inspired to do or change or be, it’s going to take not only self-control and discipline, but it’s going to be hard. Be ready to put in the work, especially when you don’t want to.
For me, I know that what I’m feeling inspired to do, will, like I said before, dull once I’ve finished the fun part, which for me is creating the space. In recognizing this, I know some of what it will take to see this through for its ultimate purpose. I know I will have to carve out time in my schedule to use my room for prayer. I know when it comes to my prayer life, I will be tempted to not pray – to believe my repetitive prayers aren’t being heard or don’t mean anything, that my prayers may begin to feel like empty words instead of the heartfelt prayers I want them to be. I know my prayer life will be attacked; it’s part of the battle after all. I will need to remind myself to keep at it, even when I feel like I’m not being heard by God (because I am), even when my prayers aren’t being answered (because they are), even when I feel like I can’t pray for that (because I can), even when I feel like God doesn’t care (because He does), and my list can go on and on. I need to pray, have a battle plan, and use my space that I’m feeling led to create, especially when I don’t feel like it.
Have someone in your life who you can share your inspiration with, who you can talk through it with, who can check in on you and see how you’re doing, who can encourage you when you’re losing your fire and help you light it again if it goes out. A spouse, a friend, a mentor, a coach. I believe it needs to be someone you trust, but also someone who isn’t afraid to speak truth and toughness to you when you need it. It’s probably a good idea to choose someone who maybe has been where you want to go if you can, who has the experience you don’t, who can not only give you encouragement, but who can impart wisdom to you, someone who can check in on your progress and keep you accountable.
For me and this prayer adventure I want to go on, I need to go to those people in my life who I know are prayer warriors. And thankfully, I have a two wonderful mentors discipling me right now too. You better bet I will go to them. (You hear that Kristy and Jenny? You have my permission to keep asking me about my prayer room and my prayer life. 🙂 ) When we’re held accountable, we are more likely to make lasting changes.
What is it for you? What fire is being lit in your heart? Is it to run a marathon? Is it to break an addiction? Is it to commit to reading your Bible through in its entirety?
Leave me a comment if you don’t mind sharing what it is for you, and please tell me, do you have any other tips for how to hold onto your fire for something? How do you hold onto inspiration and make a lasting change? I’d love to hear from you.