On Tuesday, my Organizational Behavior professor was lecturing us about Motivation Theory. Ironically, I wasn’t too motivated to listen to her lecture about motivation.
It was about 12:30, and I had a bad case of the post-lunch tired’s. It probably didn’t help that I was multi-tasking during class with my Kindle Touch in one hand, strategically shielded from the professor’s sight by the head of the person in front of me (note: this is not a good idea – so don’t try it).
Nonetheless, something the teacher said made me perk up. She was explaining that people are all motivated by different desires—achievement, recognition, relationships, security, etc.—and it’s the job of a manager to understand the different needs of each employee so he or she can motivate them. So I started thinking about what motivates me. It didn’t take more than a moment to come up with the Big 2 for me: success and status.
These didn’t seem too bad at first but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t really like my motivations. I felt concerned that I wasn’t more motivated by relationships or friends. My motivations felt selfish to me.
So I raised my hand to ask a question: Can you change what motivates somebody?
Basically, she said: No, you get what you get. And sometimes it changes over time. As a manager, you try to understand people, but you can’t change what motivates them… So hire wisely.
I put my hand down. I wasn’t too excited about the prospect of being stuck with my current motivations. Wouldn’t it be terrible to not be able to change? Then I thought about God – and that God is not like a manager. He actually can help us change:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you.
Ezekiel 36: 26-27
The Bible says that our personal relationship with God allows us to change our character and areas of our hearts that can seem impossible to change. But here’s the catch: it’s God who does the changing, not us.
This implies that transformation doesn’t just happen by itself. I’m learning right now that change takes faith, and that faith takes effort. Everyday, I have to make decisions to build my faith and my personal relationship with God. I’ve been reading the book of Philippians to learn how God can change my desires from only wanting glory for myself to actually valuing friends, attaching to people, and making positive impact.
Our campus ministry will be hosting a retreat on March 2nd entitled Catching Fire. If you’re a college student, and you want to learn more about how God and how he can infuse our lives with passion and purpose, join other college students from campuses all over the Bay Area at the Hyatt Place in Downtown San Jose – you won’t regret it.
Class made me grateful for who God is. Someone else may be incapable of changing my heart, but God can change me from the inside out. God can help each of us change our desires, our values, our motivations, and even our destiny. That’s pretty cool.