PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• The last few weeks of my life could almost be referred to as a real-life “Series of Unfortunate Events.” Thankfully, Lemony Snicket doesn’t write my life. But when one goes through a season like this (I know because unfortunately, it’s not my first rodeo with a series of unfortunate events), everyone knows. It doesn’t help when you’re a blogger who writes every day and often includes details of your personal life. (As my husband would say, “That’s on you, Sweetheart!”)
But the biggest problem with a series of unfortunate events is, after a while, it starts to feel like you’re making excuses.
And I hate making excuses.
They may be perfectly valid. I know mine are… but after a while, I sound like a series of excuses and I don’t like it.
Making excuses though is a bit of an ingrained nature in all of us. It goes ALLLLLLL the way back to the very first excuse ever made.
Genesis 3:12-13 ESV records Adam and Eve’s conversation with God: “The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”
The core of the conversation boils down to the very first episode of “The Blame Game,” but it’s also rife with excuses. “This happened because…”
Let’s look at some other notable excuse-makers from the Bible…
- Moses (I am not an articulate speaker, Exodus 4:10)
- Aaron (The people pressured me and oops, a calf came out of the fire, Exodus 32:23-24)
- Gideon (I’m the weakest, Judges 6:15)
- King Saul (You were late so I didn’t wait, 1 Samuel 13:8-12)
- Jeremiah (I’m too young and inexperienced, Jeremiah 1:6)
- Jonah (I don’t wanna, basically the whole book of Jonah)
- Followers of Jesus (I have things to do, Luke 9:57-62)
The Art of Excuse Making is as old as humanity.
Yet, we do ourselves a disservice when we limit ourselves by our excuses. We may have very valid reasons, but our reasons don’t define us. At some point, we have to find our way around the obstacles of our excuses.
The Bible says, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10 ESV). Our excuses won’t hold water on the day of judgment.
But the Scripture that I really want to focus on is not one that is necessarily correlated to excuses and judgment. I used part of it yesterday and it’s still on my mind. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV).
Praying these verses removes the temptation to make excuses or lean on the valid ones. It shifts the focus from our obstacles to God’s greatness. And when we redirect our thoughts from our excuses to His solutions, amazing things start to happen to our attitudes, lives, and our faith.
Today, as you pray, thank God for being bigger than any excuse we have. Thank Him for being a God of solutions. Thank Him that we don’t have to be perfect, but we can trust Him to perfectly equip us. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus not on excuses but on God’s ability to bring good from every situation.