I’ve always been more motivated by what I don’t want than by what I do want.
This fear has served me well. It has sent me out of the ordinary, out of where I don’t want to be. I think about the Twenty pilots song Leave the city that admits to not knowing where you’ll end up, or Brené Browns book Braving the wilderness, about leaving our clearly pronounced structures and stern belief systems.
And it reminds me of what a lot of people seem to be going through at the moment, or have been going through for a while. Churches, ministries, or just people. We know we’re not exactly where we should be, and so we lay things down, move out, take the first step in trust even if we don’t know where we’ll end up. The wilderness, or trench, as Twenty One Pilots call it, is scary, because it’s where we don’t have all the answers. And now we’re out here, not knowing the answers.
It’s made me to think about my competitiveness. If you’ll stay with me for a moment:
I’m extremely competitive. Always have been. But it’s much more important to me to not lose, than it is to win. It’s bad, I think. People motivated by winning and succeeding will do anything for it, they’re fighters and victors. But for me: if there’s a chance I’ll lose I might not even want to try in the first place.
This is obvious in other parts of my life as well. I’m very motivated by what I don’t want. What kind of life I don’t want, what I don’t want to do, who I don’t want to be. The most motivating sentence to me has always been: “But what if I’m not?” in response to “What if I’m too scared to do all the things I’ve ever wanted.” My point: I am fully aware of what I’m moving away from.
Truth is, anyone can be a rebel. And our courage has served us well. So has our eagerness to obey God, to move out into uncertainty. But I’ve been out in the wilderness for a while now, and the problem with it not being a place for answers is that there still seems to be no answers. And so what I’ve decided is this: There comes a moment, out in the dust – with that city looming in the background – when we have to stop looking back at what we left and turn our heads to where we want to go.
It is time to stop being motivated by what we don’t want and start being motivated by what we do want. If it hasn’t yet, the looking back, the awareness of what you don’t want, will make you desperate. What takes actual maturity is to look forward. To make a choice and move towards it. To be brave enough for what you want, even if you think you don’t know (Which, you do, you actually do, otherwise you wouldn’t have left that other place behind. It might just not be in the shape you think a dream should be.) Grow up, look forward. Maybe it’s a mirage, that city you see in the distance, I can’t promise that it’s not. There’s no way to see from this distance.
But I know you’ll never know if you don’t start moving towards it.