What is Your “Why?”
Recently I got the book “Find Your Why” by Simon Sinek. The author wants to help people discover what actually motivates them, what gets them out of bed in the morning, what stirs their juices to perform. Knowing your “Why” is significant, as it helps you to focus your energies and efforts so you will be more effective, and empower you to communicate it to others, inspiring them.
Many people would say it’s money that motivates them; but they are wrong, it’s what money enables them to obtain. For many their actual “why” is one or more of three things: they want to be significant, safe and have purpose. Few people actually think about these motivations, but they are usually the driving forces in our decision making. They are, in fact, God-given desires which can only be fully fulfilled in our relationship with God. All other attempts to obtain them fall miserably short.
So, as a follower of Jesus, what should be my “why”? A good theoretical answer is “to Glorify God.” Another is “to Love Jesus.” A third, “to Obey the Lord.” These are biblical principles and commands; personally, I want to do these and strive to do so–but they are not what moves me to get up early and spend time with Him.
My “Why” began being revealed to me when I was seven years old. On an August afternoon I was looking for the cows to bring them down to the barn for the evening milking. Walking through the woods, I was suddenly struck with the splendor around me: the sun shining through the trees, creating great shafts of light in the leaf dust in the air, illuminating the vibrant green of the leaves. The pattern of the trees’ bark, the delicate lichens on the stone wall, the soft green forest grass suddenly overwhelmed me with their beauty. In this moment of awe, a question came into my mind, “I wonder why I’m in the world?”
This, of course, was not the product of a 7-year-old farm boy’s mind, but was placed there by God as a means of drawing me to Himself. And that question did lead me on through my childhood, adolescence and on into adulthood, where He then revealed the answer to me.
In my twenty-second year, on a dark December night, on the shore of the Bering Sea, I was able to understand and embrace my “Why” as I prayed, “Lord, I give you my will, and take yours in its place.” Living for Jesus, joining Him in His great plan for eliminating evil as He sweeps as many people as possible into His Kingdom and in the end brings in the New Heaven and Earth–this is my purpose, my “Why.”
As time went on, my “Why” got sharpened. I remember the first snowfall in 1976–the first snowstorm always brought a great rush of sales in our tire business. When I first began to manage the business, we sold $2,000 worth of tires on that day. In 1976, we sold $15,000! That’s a lot of tires to sell, mount and balance!
Such growth and success, however, did not satisfy. That evening I said to myself, “We made a lot of money today, but what difference does it make for the world? Not much! I want to do things that will last for eternity, not just a day.” That sharpened focus of my “Why” led me to leave the tire business, leave my extended family, our home on the farm and going to the tumultuous Middle East to plant churches among Muslims.
That is not the end of the story, however. As time went on, the Lord brought other influences into my life to further refine my “Why.” Now it is, “I want to be a useful instrument in the Lord’s hand so He can use me to achieve things that will last for eternity.”
This motivates me to get up early, to spend time with Him every day, to memorize and meditate on His powerful Scripture, to pray on the armor, to spend time lifting my soul to Him and interceding for the world. I deeply want to do these things, to nurture my relationship with Jesus, so that I can be useful to Him.
Embedded In this “Why” are the desires for significance and security. Both are found in abundance in my relationship with Jesus, the Great Shepherd and Mighty Conqueror. And living in the realities of His great Being gives purpose, meaning and a certain future–I dwell in the deep, stable and unshakable shelter of God’s mighty plan.
Actually, I must confess that the “Why” of my life is not primarily to honor God, but to have a sense of fulfillment and purpose by being a useful instrument in His hand and to accomplish things that will last for eternity.
This is what God desires also, for the result of living this out is glory for Him. This is amazing, He can take my self-centered motive for fulfillment, and as I join Him in seeing that happen, He is glorified.
This is what Jesus proclaimed in John 15:8,16: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
Help me, Lord, to live out my “Why” for you moment by moment.
Picture below: dawn on the Bering Sea, 1968