1. Your motivation is love. Never regret what you do because you love another. I’m referring to love that is true, consistent, and selfless. Love requires that we spend years doing the same things over and over again—giving baths, changing diapers, cooking meals, balancing checkbooks, juggling schedules, solving problems. The sheer repetition can make us feel that we’re not moving forward an inch. But the love is moving mountains even as we wash yet another load of laundry or put in another extra shift at work. Love is forming people—us, and those we care for and live with. Love is building a life that is good even though it’s flawed and sometimes treacherous.
2. You are more grateful and less anxious. One spiritual definition of forward motion is interior freedom. We move forward as we become freer to receive life as it comes and to accept others as they are. We move forward when we are not bound by our worries, resentment, regrets, and fears. Habits of gratitude will build an interior life that does not need to worry so much or resent others for wrongdoing or stew about the past or future. Gratitude and anxiety do not live well together. So if you are growing in your capacity to love your life, say thank-you often, and savor the gifts given you, you are certainly moving forward in a profound way.
3. You are navigating challenges. Forward motion nearly always encounters resistance. Family members resist when you introduce more vegetables into the menu. Friends resist when you choose not to choose sides in a conflict but remain open and loving toward all parties. Coworkers might resist when you move your department toward higher levels of accountability or lower levels of infighting and competition. And you will resist yourself as you work on breaking a bad habit or forming a new, healthy habit. As you move into new areas of activity, ministry, and learning, you will stumble and hesitate and go through uncomfortable emotions. All of these are signs that movement is happening. Even negative reactions can signal forward motion.
I encourage you to spend a little time reflecting on your life in terms of these three points: love, gratitude, and challenge. Congratulate yourself for the movement already happening. Thank God in advance for the movement that will happen as your future unfolds.