Monday Motivation

It’s Monday morning. Again. But it’s not any ordinary Monday morning because today I got up early to write. I’m sitting in a dark, empty cemetery, watching the sun come up and writing. Sounds morbid, I guess, but also very motivating.

It’s motivating because no matter how long you live, life is short. Even if you get 100 years, which is good by today’s standards in the US, it’s still too short to do, see, and be all the things that you want to do, see, and be. And if you have idle years where you are just coasting through, well, it’s even shorter.

I’ve done that. So many years I have done that. I have been that girl just coasting through. I haven’t done what I wanted to do or gone where I wanted to go. And I am nowhere near who I want to be. So many times, I’ve settled because going for what I really wanted seemed hard. It seemed risky, and I’ve never been good with risks.
But this morning I woke up early because I’m ready to take a risk.

Ever since I learned to read, I’ve wanted to be a writer. It’s documented in yearbooks and other memory books from my childhood. When someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “writer” (after the brief time in my early life when I said “singer”). It’s why I paid attention in English class. Because, let’s face it, why else would you pay attention in English class? It’s why I love to read. I’m not just reading for pleasure, I’m researching for what I want to do with my life. I’ve put a lot of effort into this thing already, but then I just let it set idle. Why would I do that?

Because I was scared. Even in this day of blogs and the internet and self-publishing and all the other ways to get my stuff out there, I was scared to do it. It was too hard and too risky and so I just didn’t. I went to work as a preschool teacher every day instead. Which, by the way, is one of the riskiest things a person could do with their life. There are tears and snot and mysterious wetness and weird smells that come from these little people. And they have no filter. They tell you exactly what they think and they don’t feel bad about it. Risky business.

So this morning, I woke up early to write before work because I’m safe. I can do this. I’m sitting in the dark cemetery because it reminds me how short life is and it motivates me to start doing and going and being me. If you could ask the people whose lives these headstones represent what they regret from their lives, I think the most popular answer would be that they regret what they didn’t do more than what they did.
I could be wrong, but what if I’m not?



Brave Start

I woke up around 9am because I didn’t go to bed until around 3am. I was finishing a book that I was reading and then I did some writing. Sometimes my creativity flows late at night, sometimes it flows early in the morning. You just never know about me.

When I woke up this morning I had the brilliant idea to take my tablet to the elliptical with me. I read while I was working out. It worked. I worked out for 48 minutes while I read my devotional, my one chapter of the Bible for today, and then a chapter in the book “Start” by Jon Acuff. And I remember more of what I read while working out than I normally do when I just sit her idle and read. I think it is a habit that I will be continuing. I don’t know how effective the workout was because I was not moving very fast, but it was a start and that’s all that is required. A start. A simple step forward.

I’m reminded of a sight I saw the other day as I drove to work. I live in the country and although my commute is much shorter than it used to be, I still drive about 12 miles one way to work. It starts out in the hills and curves and eventually flattens and straightens out. I drive past a farm that takes up both sides of the road and usually, on the electrical wires above the field, are hundreds of birds just sitting there. If you watch them long enough, they swoop down toward the field without quite reaching it before they fly back up and land on the wire. They start out with great bravado toward the ground and then with just as much enthusiasm, they land back on the wire. As I watched the other day, I wondered why they do this. Why do they all at once sweep down and then back up to the same spot they came from without reaching the ground where the seeds and bugs are? It’s like they want to go, and they start, but then before they reach their goal, they go back where they started from.

Don’t we do that? Don’t we get inspired to try something new and take that first step and then before we know it, we’re right back where we started from? Why do we do that? Fear? Probably. It can be scary to step out. We don’t know what will happen if we continue to move forward. I can tell you with certainty that nothing will happen if you don’t step out. NOTHING. If we don’t take the first step, we won’t move. It’s that simple.

What is it that we see that we want to go after? A new career? A ministry opportunity? A relationship? A new, healthy lifestyle? What is it that keeps us perched on the wire? Be brave. Step out. Being brave doesn’t mean the absence of fear. Being brave means being scared and taking that step forward anyway. Instead of asking “What if I fail?” ask, “What if I don’t?”

Got to go. I need to start laundry or I’m never going to get it finished. See, it works with laundry, too. 🙂