Have you ever spent the afternoon searching for homemaking advice and then made the excuse that you didn’t get the laundry done because you were busy? Perhaps you’ve used your lengthy “to do” list as an excuse for skipping your daily Bible reading? Maybe you’ve blamed PMS for an incident where you were impatient with your husband?
Though some excuses are legitimate (being tardy due to a flat tire, missing an event because of illness, etc.), most of the time we use excuses to justify poor actions or inactions.
Unfortunately, I make excuses pretty often. I don’t want to deceive myself with them—I want to confront my mistakes and inadequacies so I can rise above them.
Why do we make excuses?
Remember Adam back in the Garden of Eden? When God confronted him with his sin (eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), he made an excuse: “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (See Genesis chapter 3 for the whole story.) Since Adam, all humankind has been prone to giving excuses. Even Moses, a Biblical hero, wasn’t immune. When God told him to go to the Pharaoh to ask for freedom from slavery for the Israelites, Moses gave the excuse that he wasn’t a good speaker (Exodus 4:10).
We like making excuses because it’s easier to come up with them than it is to admit and address our weaknesses and errors. It’s easier to blame a busy schedule than fess up to our laziness and procrastination. It’s easier to blame the bad economy than to address our poor spending habits. It’s easier to blame how we were raised than to learn new communication skills.
Ditching excuses for action
God corrected Moses’ excuse and used him in a mighty way. God wants to use us in significant ways, too. This will happen more readily if we ditch our excuses! Given that it’s so easy to make excuses, how can we stop? I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve discovered a few strategies that help me.
- Identify your common excuses and confront them. There are some excuses I use repeatedly (my favorite is being busy). If you think about it, you may realize that there are some you use frequently. Being aware of common excuses allows us to anticipate them so we can be prepared to confront them with truth (e.g., if I have time to leisurely peruse the news online and check Facebook, then I’m not too busy).
- Get over yourself! Many times I make excuses because of pride—I’m trying to “save face.” I don’t want others to know my weakness or failures. I don’t want others to think less of me. Sound familiar? We ought to humble ourselves so we avoid the destruction that results from pride (Proverbs 16:18).
- Set goals and identify steps to achieve them. In setting goals, we focus on solutions instead of problems. Moreover, the likelihood we’ll achieve goals increases when we select simple, incremental steps to help us achieve them. There’s no room for excuses when we achieve goals!
I don’t want to miss out on God’s abundance and all He wants to do through me because I’m wallowing in my imperfections and mistakes by making excuses. Do you?
What excuses have you made recently? Why do you think you made them? Do any strategies help you stop making excuses?
Shared on the following link-ups:
Living Well Wednesday, Thriving Thursday, Works for Me Wednesday, WholeHearted Wednesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Titus 2sday, Living Proverbs 31, Miscellany Monday, & Making Your Home Sing.