Motivate {Five Minute Friday}

by in Family and Faith

5 minutes of freewrite. Join the link-up or read more posts here.

I see myself in my eldest son – he isn’t interested in being motivated by someone else. My pressuring or persistence, my nagging and requesting – it does nothing to motivate him. 

But this morning playing in the snow, he started making a wall out of snowballs.

My husband and I watched from the window. “He’s so industrious,” my husband remarked. 

His motivation is at its best when it’s internal. 

There’s a time and place for him (and I) to learn to be externally motivated. Motivated out of obedience, out of obligation, out of commitment, out of necessity. But there’s something entirely pure about a self-motivation.

I’m at my best when I’m digging from that well – the well of determination and natural drive. When I write because I’m motivated, when I capture an image because I’m compelled, when I play a game with the boys because I love them, when I chat with a friend because she matters to me, when I spend time with my husband because I really miss his company — these are the motivations that don’t drain me. They sustain me.

I hope to dig deep into my own natural motivations this year, to make room for the things that are true to my wiring, and I hope to marvel when those around me – young and old – do the same.


  1. Lesley January 6, 2018

    So true- we need one another’s encouragement, but it is so much easier when we can find the motivation for ourselves!

  2. Anita Ojeda January 6, 2018

    Yes! They say that with enough positive external motivation, our motivation eventually becomes intrinsic.

  3. Jeannie Prinsen January 6, 2018

    This is so good, Denise. My daughter is 19 and on the autism spectrum, and it is really a challenge to motivate her right now. She’s started her university degree by taking online courses, and the external structure is good for her — but I sometimes wonder if she is really internally motivated to study these courses. When her mind is sparked by a strong interest she can be SO motivated! Your post reminds me that my task as a parent is not to force her (which i can’t really do anyway) but encourage her.

    • Denise January 6, 2018

      Thanks for commenting and sharing, Jeannie! I really struggle to encourage rather than try to force things with my kids. 🙂

  4. Julie Dibble January 6, 2018

    Hi Denise, startled just now by the Spirit. Your post touched me but I am not sure how. I will pop back tomorrow if anything comes to me in prayer. Blessings upon your Saturday evening. And nice to meet you here in FMF, Julie

    • Denise January 6, 2018

      Thanks for commenting, Julie. I’d be interested to hear more.

      • Julie Dibble January 8, 2018

        Back again! Denise I would love to hear more about how you listen to your natural wiring. I am reading a book on Quaker wisdom. It talks about how Quakers value silence because it is useful, the only way to access the still small voice of God. I think silence is helpful but not necessary. Not sure how many times we can comment back and forth here. My email is if you want to continue!

  5. kelly @kellyblackwell January 7, 2018

    Great post Denise. I definitely see how external motivation has often caused me to not only be uninspired but on occasion, I give a little push back. I wonder, if we are more internally motivated when we are working more towards the call that God has put on our lives? Thanks for sharing. You’ve given me food for thought.

    Visiting from FMF #68

    Have a blessed day!

    • Denise January 8, 2018

      Hi Kelly! Thanks for reading. I think we’re often internally motivated by what God calls us to (love the quote: God calls us to where our deepest desire and the world’s greatest need meet), but I think he sometimes calls out of what we naturally feel inspired to do. Somehow, I think, it’s some of both.

  6. Erendira Ramirez-Ortega January 9, 2018

    Thank you Denise for this great post on going to the well of self-motivation. We need to intentionally move ourselves to work and create; we are better when for it when we do! “I’m at my best when I’m digging from that well – the well of determination and natural drive.”


Leave a Reply