The Greatest Motivator

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There is nothing else on this planet that motivates me more than my sufferings.

Every time I experience the anxiety that plagues me, my immediate reaction is to run! My body tenses up and I can’t breathe. I grasp for my throat only to find my hands are already shaking. My pastor once said, “Stand up to trials and run away from temptation.” My flesh is real good at doing the opposite. If I’m honest, I’d rather not focus on my anxiety. I’d rather numb my mind in front of the television while I eat more junk food.

As much as I hate my anxiety — it keeps me in check. I have to ask myself questions like, “Am I sinning to avoid the truth?” “What am I so afraid of?”

Sometimes the answer doesn’t come right away, and I am left with panic attacks. Other times I realize it’s just my flesh readjusting to new surroundings — like a new husband and a new house. I even have an office now. Sometimes I think I become anxious because I have so much freedom in a whole room to myself.

My anxiety is a point of suffering in my life, and I guess I still struggle with accepting it. Even when everything is going great, I am always afraid that my anxiety is going to come back and shake my confidence once again.

I thought marriage would quiet my anxiety. Nope! I quickly learned in my first few weeks of marriage that God continues to allow my thorn in the flesh. Sometimes I hate that He won’t allow me to get the least bit comfortable, and yet I am joyfully surprised at times to see how God uses what I see as suffering to motivate me into godly action. What a comfort to know I have a perfect example to follow. When I feel lost, hurt, and overwhelmed by my anxiety, I can once again be motivated by the sufferings of Jesus.

The more I study the life of Jesus, I see how He didn’t waver. He did everything the Father asked Him to do — even if it meant suffering. Jesus was tempted in every way as we are and yet He did not sin.

Let that sink in for a moment!

He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed.” (1 Peter 2:22-24, NLT).

My sufferings teach me how to grow.

I have learned to embrace these times of quiet fellowship with God. When the panic attacks come I know God is waiting for me. All I need to do is surrender my pride. Easier said than done. The nature of anxiety is to take the focus off God and onto myself. I’m the one who’s suffering. As much as I struggle with the disruptions — I’ve learned to simply humble myself. The more I wrestle with God, the longer it takes for God to teach me these vital truths impertinent to my character.

If I can learn what He is trying to teach me — then He removes my anxiety. Not always, and not right away, but I can trust God to show me what to do.

Some days God uses my panic attacks to call me into action. The more time I spend in prayer the better. I remember to take my thoughts captive to Christ — not myself. Through reading the Word and other devotionals, I am able to stop worrying and let Him take control.

When I finally reach the point of giving everything to God, I can feel the release. My hands stop shaking, my throat stops closing, and I can breath again. I hear the words of the Lord from Exodus 14:14 that say, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I am thankful how much God has used my anxiety to motivate me into prayer and reading the Word. Some days I feel this is all I do. I feel plagued by my thoughts of worthlessness.

But I know better.

If it weren’t for that deep longing in my heart to allow God to use my anxiety to motivate me into a closer walk with Him, I truly believe I would have missed out on so many spiritual lessons.

When my husband and I first married I would take my anxiety personally. If I could just try harder, God would show me what to do. I furiously searched for the lesson God was trying to teach me.

But there are two of us now.

I love that God has given me a husband, but he has limits too. He works long hours, and when I take the focus off myself and on to serving the needs of Marc my anxiety is transformed. It’s not all about me anymore.

My sufferings are not all about me; they are for my husband and for those God calls me to serve! I’m so glad God uses our greatest fear to motivate us into acts of service. I now use Hebrews 10:24 as my ministry verse because it reminds me of where I’ve come from and where I’m going.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

Do you know where you’re going? Ask the Lord to give you the strength to be used by Him. Even if that means, like me, He uses your greatest fear as the greatest motivator in your life.

Enter Our Giveaway!

We have three copies of Renee’s book Not Another Dating Book: A Devotional Guide to All Your Relationships to give away. To enter for a chance to win one, leave a comment answering this question:

  • What’s your greatest motivator?

One additional entry can be earned for each of these:

  • Tweet about this contest and Renee’s article. Leave a comment to tell us you did.
  • “Like” this post on Facebook. Leave a comment to tell us you did.
  • “Like” our page on Facebook. Leave a comment to tell us you did.

This contest closes on Friday, March 2nd, 2012, at 12 a.m. Our apologies to our international readers, but it’s only open to those residing in the United States.

Thank you to everyone who entered! We’ve chosen our winners using Random.org’s Integer Generator. Congratulations to Rachel, Lisa G., and janackeh klein.

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About

Renee Fisher is an adoring wife to Marc and mom to their pit bull named Star. She is a spirited speaker and author of five books, including Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me (Harvest House, 2013). Renee is the founder of DevotionalDiva.com, and loves nothing more than to spur others forward. She is on the Advisory Board for ChristianMingle, creator of Quarter Life Conference, and a Biola University graduate. Renee lives in CA and loves running on sunny days. A Dream Coach, she loves connecting with new people daily. Connect at ReneeFisher.com.


  • Erin

    My greatest motivator is to make my life count even after all of the mistakes I have made.

  • Erin
  • My greatest motivator is pain. I was permanently injured in an auto accident six years ago and sometimes the pain becomes almost claustrophobic. When that happens the only thing I know to do is focus on others, to look beyond myself to keep from suffocating. And the amazing thing is that it works! The pain doesn’t abate, but my ability to cope with it does. God uses the pain to draw me away from me to serve others, not always physically, but often in beautiful oases of prayer. Cause as you said, it’s not all about me. It’s all about God and serving others in His name. Great words today, Renee!

  • Rachel

    I regret that my greatest motivator is often fear. But the good news is that brings me to prayer and focus!

    • Congrats, Rachel! You won a copy of Not Another Dating Book. I’ll be sending you an email.

  • Rachel

    I also liked this page and post!

  • Obviously, as editor, I can’t enter this contest, but I did want to share my thoughts on this article.

    Yesterday I listened to a sermon online from Joe Thorn (we attended the church he pastors when we lived in Illinois) called Praxis: Trials (Pt. 1). It’s on James 1 and in it he talks about how our suffering:

    1. Strengthens our faith
    2. Deepens our relationship with Christ
    3. Makes us mature as we trust in Him

    He went on to say that our trials aren’t meant to test our discipline, but our dependency. Renee, I think you also touch so well on this in your article! Like Joe, you point to how suffering helps us “grow up” spiritually. This is so true. As I’ve experienced panic attacks and anxiety in the last few years, I’ve found myself depending less on my strength and more on Christ’s.

    • Ashleigh,

      That’s awesome. I think all too often we think of it as discipline. If I can just work harder or figure out the reason for my pain then I can move on. But once we realize it’s a dependency issue then we can devote ourselves more to Him and the learning process instead of getting it all perfect!

      • Anna

        @Renee.. I would really like to ask you a question about this article, but don’t want to ask it publicly. Is there a way to do this? Thank you!

  • @Erin – that’s a good one!

    @Cindee – Thank you for sharing your story. Isn’t that crazy how pain brings us to our knees and at the same time sets us free in Christ?

    @Rachel – and the best place to start too!

  • Sarah

    My greatest motivator is my fear of disappointment. I don’t want to disappoint myself, family, friends & more importantly God!

  • Sarah

    I liked this post on Facebook!!

  • Lisa G

    Thank you for the great reminder in Exodus 14:14 that say, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
    This is something I NEED to remember, specifically when dealing with a certain situation in my life.
    That is a great question…what is my greatest motivator? The yearning/desire to carry out God’s will for my life.

    • Congrats, Lisa G.! You won a copy of Not Another Dating Book. I’ll be sending you an email.

  • Lisa G

    I Like you on Facebook!

  • janackeh klein

    my greatest motivator is KNOWING there is a better me waiting around the corner if i put in the work AND allow Jesus to take over!

  • janackeh klein

    i “like” your page on FB

    • Congrats, Janackeh! You won a copy of Not Another Dating Book. I’ll be sending you an email.

  • janackeh klein

    i “liked” this post on FB

  • Shannon

    My greatest motivator is striving to become the person God created me to be, rather than the person the world expects me to be.

  • kayla

    my greatest motivator are people who are negative and people opinions. My haters are my motivators. All i can do is keep on standing tall and walking in the right direction with god.

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The Greatest Motivator

by Renee Fisher time to read: 4 min
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