First Motives/Second Motives

Friday, 5 June 2009

One of the things that struck me about Michael Leunig last night was that he is a person who operates out of what I call first motives. There are several people like this who I know. Things have become quite simple for them, and they have become quite easy to be around. These people are vulnerable enough to operate out of their heart, their soul, their mind and their guts. You come away from them feeling like they have given you something, somehow. And they have. Themselves. And you are richer for the gift.

The second sort of person is the one who operates out of second motives. They are the hustlers. Their intent is on building themselves up at every turn because they feel so fragile. It's all about the brand. You come away from a hustler feeling like they have taken away something from you, somehow. They have. Your energy. Sucked through a straw.

Often with a second motive person you have the strange sensation of wondering what the purpose is to their actions. Second motive people often speak loudly promoting their own brand while looking over your shoulder to see who is listening. It is like talking to an empty glove.

I guess we are all a mix of the first and second types, aren't we? But oh, how it fills me up just to be in the presence of a first motive person for a few hours. I have a few friends like that. They are cherishable. The first sort of people are gold and when you find them you should treasure them and dress them in fine robes and put rings on their fingers.

They have suffered to get to this place and they suffer to stay here. Part of what keeps them tethered here is the knowledge that they too are second motive people who have simply discovered where the life is.

You can smell first motive people. There is a richness, an earthy loam about them that makes you want to be around them. Second motive people smell like they're on the make and on the take. You can smell the difference.

It is a brave, courageous act to be a first motive person. I just cannot shake the feeling that one day we shall all be first motive people, that this is God's intent. That this is our reality. First motive people are what we look like naked and unashamed. And it's a beautiful thing.

But in the meantime it's all a bit ugly, really.

This all sounds simple and childish, I'm sure, but so do all of the priciest things these days.


  1. Sue ... this post I pray reflects the life I seek to live ... first motive ... wow, if this is the only Blog I read this week your post here has satisfied ny hunger ... thankyou.

  2. Sue, this is brilliant. Your mind is so deep...I love when you share stuff like this

  3. Dudes, wow. I published this blog yesterday, then saved it back to drafts because it felt judgmental and labelling, and then I get this sort of response. *Scratches head* I don't understand what is good and what isn't.

    Yeah, B, my mind is so deep I fall in it and can't get out of the bastard again :)

    Thanks guys. I hug you ((hug Mark)) ((hug Layla))

  4. It is soooo true. And I have known too many primarily second motive people. Really, without even knowing this stuff, it accurately describes how I choose friends these days. Do they speak from their heart or are they always calculating?

  5. This is beautiful, Sue. Too deep for my brain, but I agree with it.

  6. Erin - yeah, that's my friend criteria as well. Makes for interestingness because you can have some people who speak from the heart who are nevertheless totally fucked up, but I much prefer those to the second motive people who don't realise how fucked up they are :)

    Sherry - thank you!

  7. Hiya Sue - Doing some catching up here on your trip, new mandala and all. Oh, and Norman! Such a wonderful name for a good-natured horse.

    This post is great - hadn't thought of things in terms of 1st / 2nd motives before but can see clearly where it applies to people I know.... and which I prefer the company of.

    Love the new look.

  8. Hi Sue,

    I haven't been here for some time. Reading this reminds me what I've been missing. I've been lucky enough to know some first motive people. They continue to inspire me, but the distance between them and me (a second motive if ever there was one) can be depressing.

  9. Norm - thanks. Yes, I think Norman is a great name for a horse :)

    GFN - thank you, and good to see you again. You know, I don't think that distance is all that far between first and second motive people. I think it might take a long time to come to an understanding of where the life is, but I do think that is God's aim for us. I love the term "walking with God" and I do think it is that simple (and difficult to learn to see). I think God has healing on his wings for you, David dear ((hug))


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