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Entries in Excuses (3)

Tuesday
Jul092019

5 Excuses that Hold You Back

Kathy Carlton Willis is not only an encouraging cheerleader for writers and speakers, her practical wisdom as a life coach helps people move forward in faith. In this Goals UPGRADE, Kathy identifies five excuses that hold us back.

“How would your life be different," Kathy asks, "if you could ditch excuses for good?"

As a long-time excuse maker, I (Dawn) understand the distraction and loss that comes from living with excuses. In fact, my goals mantra has become, "There may be reasons, but not excuses."

Kathy continues . . .

One of my biggest blessings, but also biggest struggles as a life coach, is to recognize what causes someone to feel stuck, and to strategize biblical ways to help them be free of those restraints so they can function in freedom. It is challenging because some prefer to stay stuck rather than step out in faith into unfamiliar territory.

Faith gives us the bravery we need to move forward, one foot in front of the other, until we get to the destination God has for us.

Are you feeling stucik? What’s holding you back from pursuing the goals God has for you?

First, let’s look at the typical excuses we give.

5 Common Excuses

  1. I don’t have time.
  2. You don’t know my story, my hang-ups, my trials.
  3. I can’t afford it.
  4. I have a broken relationship.
  5. It’s out of my control.

You make your own list. What’s holding you back? Why can’t you or won’t you take the next step needed toward your goal?

6 Ways to Ditch the Excuses for Good

1. Is it an excuse or a reason?

  • If it’s an excuse, learn not to listen to it.
  • If it’s a true reason, learn a “work around” so the reason is merely a detour rather than a dead end.

2. What fear is attached to your excuse?

If you find yourself in a place where you aren’t comfortable moving forward, usually it’s because there’s a fear holding you back.

What do you fear might happen if you move toward the goal God has for you?

  • Fear of failure?
  • Fear of success?
  • Fear of change?
  • Fear of what others think?
  • Fear of it costing something you hold dear?

3. Kick the excuses to the curb and use godly self-talk instead.

Evict the excuses out of your head and heart. Then learn a new truth statement to repeat to yourself instead.

You can find what God thinks about you in Scripture and can apply it to your situation.

4. Make moving forward a priority.

Don’t wallow in stuckness.

Don’t give your excuses permission to have control over you.

Determine what God wants for your life and don’t let anything hold you back from it.

Even if you have to wait for something out of your control to happen, you can have “active waiting” by learning how to adopt the right thinking so it’s in place when you get the green light to move forward.

5. Spend as much time seeking the solution as believing the excuse.

Evaluate what it would take to tackle the problem.

Decide if you were aiming for the wrong destination—maybe the solution is a different destination or outcome. Seek God for that direction and then ask Him to help the next step become apparent to you.

6. Embrace the work of change.

Many people don’t move toward their goal because they’re comfortable where they are and don’t want to put in the extra effort necessary to get to where they wish they could go in their lives.

Sweat equity isn’t just for house projects—it’s for life projects.

We might get a little uncomfortable moving to the next step. That’s okay if it’s a temporary discomfort. And hey, that’s one reason Jesus sent the Comforter, right? He knew we’d be uncomfortable living out the deeds of His will in our lives.

“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom” (Galatians 5:7-9 NLT).

Would you allow a thin rubber band wrapped around your middle to hold you back from rescuing a child from a burning building? Of course not.

Don’t let a thin excuse hold you back from what God wants in your life—from what you know to be a desire you have as well. Risk the momentary pinch or snap of that rubber band as you disable it from holding you back, and then all of a sudden you realize there’s less resistance than there was before.

What’s holding you back today?

Kathy Carlton Willis, God’s Grin Gal, shines the light on what holds you back so you can grow. She’sspeaker and author with over a thousand articles online and in print, as well as her Bible study, Grin with GraceHer popular blog, Grin & Grow with Kathy is featured on CBN. She just released a training manual for speakers called, The Ultimate Speaker’s Guide. Kathy and husband Russ are trying to raise seven-month old Hettie the Boston Terrier—but in truth, she’s training them.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Geralt at Pixabay.

Monday
Aug202018

Reasons, Not Excuses

In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson admits to her own struggle with excuses, and how a more biblical perspective has helped her grow to be more like Jesus.

"There really is no personal growth or progress until we stop making excuses for bad behavior, bad habits, and wrong choices."

As a young pastor’s wife, I remember counseling a woman and hearing her litany of excuses.

Finally, when I could take no more, I lovingly but firmly said, “Those are all reasons—maybe even valid reasons—for you to feel the way you do, but they are not excuses for your behavior, because you have the living Holy Spirit dwelling in you, and He can empower you to do what is right.”

The woman seemed stunned. She stopped talking, blinked at me a few times, and said, “You know, you’re absolutely right. They are reasons, not excuses.”

That kind of counsel is easy to give, but hard to follow.

I’ve struggled in my own life with a list of excuses—and God’s Spirit kindly returns the counsel that I’ve given to others.

When it comes to making wise, biblical choices, there is never a place for excuses after the fact.

We simply chose not to do what we knew was right.

  • We may have been motivated by lies.
  • We may have had ulterior motives.
  • We may have chosen to fear man rather than God.
  • We may have lacked faith at that moment, or hope.
  • We may have given in to our emotions rather than living by the truth of scripture.

There can be hundreds of reasons for wrong choices.

God wants us to OWN UP to our wrong choices.

Some are sins that need to be confessed in true repentance (I John 1:8-9). Other choices are simply not wise—not necessarily sin, but not the best (Proverbs 1:7).

We can’t move on to make better choices when we cling to excuses and try to justify our words or behavior.

What should we do instead of making excuses?

1. Listen to your Conversations.

What do you say when you "mess up"? Are you always defending yourself? (See Proverbs 16:2, 25.)

What do you say to others when you make sinful choices? What do you say to yourself? Not only that: what excuses are you making in prayers to the Lord? 

I'm not kidding. I found myself excusing a sinful habit in prayer because "that's just the way I am, Lord." What was I doing? I was accusing God of making me sin!

The Lord wanted me to understand my position in Christ, and not give in to the enemy's evaluation of who I am!

How often are you making excuses?  (See Proverbs 16:2, 25; 21:2).

2. List your reasons for not following through with wisdom and obedience.

Take time to sincerely consider why you do what you do. Be honest!

The person who conceals or tries to cover up failings "will not prosper" (Proverbs 28:13a).

What motivates you to make unwise choices? Call that motivation by name.

I discovered in dealing with one of my own besetting sins, I was soft-pedaling my sinful overeating. It wasn't until I named the sinful motivation as gluttony and even idolatry that I began to see some changes in my attitudes and approach to obeying the Lord regarding my health. No more excuses!

Why do you think you disobeyed? Was it rebellion or ignorance of the truth (or something else)? Dealing with a root of rebellion or idolatry is different than ignorance—and the Spirit of God will encourage you to deal with them in different ways.

Examining the reasons behind sins and failings can bring you greater understanding.

3. Learn to acknowledge any wrong, sinful, or unwise choices—quickly!

If it is sinful, confess it (1 John 1:9) and then deal with your sin biblically. The person who confesses and forsakes sins "will obtain mercy" (Proverbs 28:13b).

Run to the cross and remember why Jesus died. No sin is too great to bring to the cross!

I remember the day it hit me.

Dawn, stop making excuses, because . . .

Jesus didn't die for your excuses!

Don't ever allow the enemy to convince you that you have no other choice. God provides a "way of escape" (1 Corinthians 10:13), but we have to be alert to it, and that's harder when you're listening to the devil's lies.

Determine to take the holy escape, not the harmful excuse!

Ask the Lord to help you, then make yourself available to Him. Keep in step with the Spirit of God! (Galatians 5:16).

4. Lean in to the unchanging Word of God and the Spirit of God.

The Lord will help you as you continue to counsel your hearts according to scripture and keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him for a heart that wants to hear and increase learning, wise counsel "and the skill" to steer your course wisely (Proverbs 1:5).

Excuses are fruitless. Rationalizing and justifying doesn't change anything.

But figuring out the reasons for our failings and then dealing with them God's way—that sets us up for a life of fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.

In what area/s of life are you making excuses? Can you see how the enemy uses that? What can you do to stop making excuses and live according to the truth?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator the blog, Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of knerri61 at Pixabay.

Thursday
Oct062016

5 Excuses That Sabotage Personal Growth

Gail Goolsby is a professional who implements practical counsel rooted in scripture. In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she offers 5 excuses that sabotage our growth and success.

“You have a calling from God—a destiny,” Gail says. "So why aren’t you moving forward? What is holding you back?”

Sometimes I (Dawn) think the person who most needs posts by my guest bloggers is ME! I recognized myself in Gail's analysis and am taking her counsel seriously.

Gail continues . . .

The roadblock to personal growth and success in life for many people is: EXCUSES.

As a career educator, counselor and life coach, I have heard multiple reasons people give to explain away their failures and lack of achievement.

Here are 5 excuses that sabotage personal growth:

Excuse #1: I don’t have time.  

People believe this answer gives permission to say no or be released from an activity they want to avoid. They may follow up the statement with details of their schedule-packed day or week or year.

“Okay,” I say. “I have 24 hours every day—the same as you do, as we all do. How should we determine the use of the time? It will pass for us all. What do you have to show for your time spent?”

No time is a common complaint in today’s fast paced world, but a real problem when used to explain lack of progress toward selected goals.

Use time for what it can do for you—not an excuse for not doing.

Excuse #2: I am too busy.

This popular justification is a twin to #1 but deserves its own mention, as it frequently hijacks rational discourse about setting priorities.

I refuse to use the word "busy" in my conversations. I think the term makes people insecure, comparing their significance to those who claim such demanding lives. What does busy really mean anyway?

I try to help clients unpack their "busy" and see what activity is worthy to keep, but reorganize. Other endeavors may need to be booted out to make room for balanced living and growth.

For both these excuses, hear God’s answer: "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12, ESV).

Excuse #3: I tried before and I failed.

Fine. That was then and this is now.

“Define failure,” I say. “Tell me what happened.” I listen carefully to help the client discover the lessons, the take-aways that can help inspire him/her to try again.

Perhaps the goal needs tweaking or releasing altogether. Together we can often find the gain from the pain of failure.

Romans 5: 3-4 (ESV) says: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope."

Excuse #4: I am too undisciplined.

Here is some honesty, but still a cop-out.

All of us need training and new behaviors at various points in life.

When something is important enough, valuable enough, desirable enough, we find the strength and endurance to obtain the prize.

How do handicapped and semi-paralyzed individuals run races and create amazing artwork? They learn new things—hard things—by pressing through the I-want-to-quit stage. You can too.

Work hard. Be proud of your accomplishment.

Hebrews 12:11 (ESV) says:  "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

Excuse #5: I am afraid. I need help.

Now we are getting somewhere.  

Sharing your hopes and goals with a trusted friend, counselor or coach can be the first step toward moving ahead and busting out of the failure box.

God gave us one another. His power multiplies as we combine our giftedness and ask for His guidance.

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:4, ESV).

Together we can push back the darkness and enjoy the radiant lives we have been given.

Which excuses are sabotaging your personal growth today? What action will you take to press toward the hope of your calling?

Gail Goolsby, MA, MEd, is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. She and her pastor husband of 38 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well. Learn more about Gail and the services she offers at her website.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Morguefile.