News and the Good News

Searching for Inspiration

January 1, 2019

It’s usual to look for new resolutions, new motivation, with the beginning of a New Year. And not out of place to look for motivational or inspirational quotes to keep in front of us. Below the touchscreen in my car I have a card with such a quote that is supposed to make sure I make it to the gym to get a cardio workout. It says, “Be stronger than your excuses.”  It works most of the time to get me to the gym and onto the exercycle. But in the winter, I will confess, my excuses have the upper hand so far at least when it comes to going for a swim in the cold water.  

Searching for motivational or inspirational quotes, Google tells us, has doubled in the last decade. This statistic doesn’t tell us, of course, whether people are looking for something to quote in a speech, as part of their profession to motivate others, for instance, as teachers, coaches, or preachers like me, often do--or if they want something for themselves to get them going toward some important goal. But there is a third possibility it seems. With the advent of social media posting inspirational quotes is a way of declaring one’s aspirations or values to the whole wide world

Famous celebrities now post quotes for Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and others as a means of revealing more of who they are or who they hope to be. Or, even, who they want others to be. “Don’t be all hat, and no cowboy” is one catchy posting that caught my eye in this last category.

Well, whether we plaster motivational sayings on Facebook or Instagram for the whole world to see—and that’s not much of an exaggeration anymore—or post sayings on our refrigerators or elsewhere, we might remind ourselves that truth has to work its way into our hearts if truth is to show forth in our lives. “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket” is the old country saying that expresses this truth.  It’s not far from the saying of Jesus, in the twelfth chapter of Matthew, that out of the human heart come our thoughts and speech. Out of the human heart comes a life. If we pause to think about this, about what it takes to get things into our hearts, we might admit that anybody can find a quote, and post a quote. The real search is for a way of life—a set of convictions and a community, a community that reinforces our convicitons-- that will make what we post, stick.