I love what I do for a living.
Coming alongside leaders and helping them lead better, lead longer, and enjoy it more is deeply fulfilling. Some days I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Getting to do what you love every day is a gift from God.
But that doesn’t mean every day feels like a gift from God. I don’t jump out of bed every morning ready to seize the day. Loving what you do doesn’t exempt you from times of momentary fatigue.
If we’re not careful, we can think incorrectly when emotionally low moments strike. Thoughts like these can intrude: “What’s wrong with me?” “Why don’t I feel it today?” “Does this tiredness mean I’m losing my passion?” “Am I going to feel like this every day?” “If I don’t recapture my passion soon, does that mean I’m going to have to start my race all over again?” Catastrophic thinking lurks just around the corner from these thoughts, and threatens to confuse us about our God-given purpose.
So, what can you do when those fleeting moments of tiredness and doubt emerge? How can you fight through it? What behaviors will keep you running the race God’s called you to?
Remember Who called you
God’s purpose for you is always clear . . . at least from His perspective. His calling—though it often morphs through the seasons of life—is certain. When you feel weak, tired, and unsure—ask Him for energy, boldness, and clarity. God will give you what you need and more. His resources are inexhaustible, and available to you simply by asking Him.
The apostle Paul, who knew a thing or two about purpose and calling, wrote these words: “To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Remember each morning you strap on your uniform, you’re not alone. God is actually walking beside you, literally giving you strength for whatever the day brings.
Tell yourself: feelings are not always facts
We should pay attention to our emotions, while at the same time refusing to be ruled by them. It’s healthy to acknowledge how you’re feeling in a particular moment. I tell God how I feel a lot. It’s extremely therapeutic. But how we feel about things may not be a true reflection of reality. At times, our feelings can lie to us.
Just because you may be feeling unmotivated this morning doesn’t delegitimize your calling. When Jesus was facing the prospect of the cross, He became stressed to the point of sweating blood. He prayed: “Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” Now, He quickly followed up that prayer with this: “Yet not My will, but Yours be done.” If Jesus had a moment like that—why do we think it strange when we do? Being clear about our calling doesn’t mean our feelings will always line up. Feelings are not always facts.
I know that sounds obvious, but here’s something I’ve discovered over time: passion often returns by simply doing what you love, even when you’re not “feeling it.” When your first inclination is to blow off the day because you feel a mild funk coming on, just start working.
Due to my struggle with major depression many years ago, I feel compelled to offer this disclaimer: If you’re truly depleted and suffering with exhaustion (maybe even major depression), you’ll need to take time away to recharge, refuel, and reconstitute the way you approach life. For you, it’s not a matter of pushing through—it’s a matter of getting healed up. But for those of us who are generally healthy, don’t let a down morning or two keep you stuck. Get started.
I hit the gym early this morning, and upon arriving in the parking lot, I sat in the car and thought: “I don’t really want to do this today.” Then I told myself: “You’ll feel better after the first set of bench presses.” And you know what? I did! When your passion seems low, when you wonder if you’re the person for the job, when you question whether or not you’ve got what it takes—just get started. You’ll often discover that the energy you feel is missing will find you.
Your calling is not an easy path. Twists and turns await you. Success and failure will greet you. When you’re working in your wheelhouse, most days will be a pleasure. But there will be some low emotional days that compete for a bigger piece of real estate in your mind than you should ever give them. Remember Who called you. Tell yourself that how you feel in the moment might not reflect reality. And when everything inside of you wants to crawl back under your blanket in the morning, get started. Feelings often follow behavior.
I’m rooting and praying for you!