How to Stay Enthusiastic for a Lifetime
By Rick Warren
In order to reach your goals, you have to figure out how to maintain your enthusiasm over the long haul.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” I believe that with all of my heart and have found it to be true in my life. You’ve got to have passion and enthusiasm, or you’re never going to make it to the finish line.
Most people would consider me an enthusiastic person—and I am. I haven’t been an enthusiastic person for just a week or a month. My enthusiasm has not waned after a year or five years or 10 years. I have been consistently enthusiastic about the goals that I’ve set for more than 30 years.
How do you do that? How do you stay enthusiastic day after day in spite of delays, difficulties, dead ends, problems, pressures, and criticisms? How do you stay enthusiastic for more than 30 years?
Positive thinking is not enough. Pulling yourself up by your psychological bootstraps is not enough. Talking yourself into optimism is not enough.
The way you stay enthusiastic for a lifetime is found in the word “enthusiasm,” which comes from the Greek word en theos. En is the Greek word for “in.” Theos is the Greek word for “God.” So en theos means to be “in God.”
When you get in God, you will be enthusiastic. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t affected by the economy or the weather or your circumstances. It’s eternal, because you are tied to the eternal God. You are in Christ.
Paul tells you how to be “in God”—enthusiastic—in Romans 12:11-12: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (NIV).
If you want to reach your goals, you need to get God-given enthusiasm by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
Start by praying this prayer today: “Dear God, I don’t want to go another day without you in my life, controlling every part of my heart. I dedicate myself to you. I offer myself as a living sacrifice to you as a spiritual act of worship.
“I humbly admit that I need help. I want you to renew my mind, so I can think the way you want me to think—with the mind of Christ. Please forgive me for my pride. I don’t want to think more highly of myself than I should. My faith needs to grow, and I need your help to set goals that can be measured so I can manage them. Forgive me for trying to change on my own.
“I want to fill my life with love. I want to fill my life with you. Help me to take delight in honoring other people and to focus on giving my life away so that you can take care of my needs. I want to nurture my enthusiasm by being in you. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”