What Your Heart Motive Says About You

Jeff explained that everyone had some sort of heart motive:

  • Perfection – always trying to meet your own standards, whether they’re consciously or subconsciously, and holding others to those standards, too. There’s a lot to do with judgement and one’s own pride.
  • Respect – seeks to earn respect from others, such as co-workers, peers, communities, and so on, for a sense of validation and satisfaction.
  • Being Liked – wants to be liked by as many people as possible, as well as maintain popularity and reputation.
  • Love – selects a close group of people to feed their need for affection. Other people outside the few “chosen ones” do not matter as much.

Heart motives can be combined, overlapped, and be in different forms. All of these are a type of idolatry that conflicts with the heavenly father, which Jeff politely left out of the conversation.

“It’s something to think about,” he said. “It helps if you know what you are, so you’re more aware of why you think a certain way or…”


After I hung up the phone I was emotionally turbulent. I immediately gathered all my stuff– laptop, headphones, whatever– threw them into my backpack and headed towards the library.

I needed a moment to compose myself in the restroom, elbows propped against the tile wall. The opaque window exuded a green glow with trickles of purple, the pattern spaced like a mosaic. I thought of France, some made-up green pasture in Italy and sunshine, somewhere far away. I felt like I was collapsing within myself. But after I washed my hands and double checked my make-up, I felt fine.

All the isolated cubicles were full of students cramming for finals, so I left thinking I wanted coffee but I didn’t. I just started walking home.


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