If You’re Good at Making Excuses, You Can’t Be Good at Anything Else

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

One of Satan’s most effective devices that he uses against Christians is E X C U S E S. And he often disguises these excuses as “good reasons”. If you give me enough time to give you good excuse, I can talk you out of doing ANYTHING. Just imagine how powerful Satan can be against the Saints if he can just get us to stop doing stuff for the kingdom?

This device of Satan has turned me into the Queen of Procrastination. Ask me what my dreams are, and I can tell you them all. But then ask me why I haven’t gotten started on them, and soon will come an onslaught of excuses! I hate to keep saying, “The Devil made me do it,” but don’t think Satan won’t do whatever is in his limited power to stop you. He has no problem whispering little excuses in your ear to prevent you from executing God’s will on the earth and even from carrying out your own personal dreams.

Take me for example. I want to be a Christian family and marriage counselor. I love learning and talking about interpersonal communication and relationships. I love watching the dynamics between two persons. I’ve been interested in this for a long time. I love seeing people become more intimate in their relationships with others. So this is one of my dreams.

B U T…

You had to know that an excuse NOT TO DO was soon to follow. When I ask myself why I haven’t begun to pursue my dreams by applying to a college, applying for FAFSA, and taking the GRE if need be, I come up with a lot of seemingly GREAT excuses! I don’t settle for okay, decent, or good excuses, I only want GREAT ones. Here’s some of the ones I “like” to use: #1 If I do become a marriage counselor, who’s gonna want counseling from me? I’ve never been married before!” #2 I’ve been studying tough for the GRE, but that math section has me beat. What’s the use in taking the GRE if I’m just going to fail it? I should only take the GRE if I know I’m going to make a decent score on it. #3 Master’s level programs often require one or two recommendation letters on the application. I don’t know who would want to do a recommendation letter for me! #4 And since I would prefer to go to a Christian university, they will likely ask for an official of my church to write a recommendation letter for me. Well, I haven’t served faithfully in my church, so I have no one to write a letter for me. So the college wouldn’t accept me anyway!” #5 I just signed a year-long lease and the school I want to go to is out-of-town. So that means I have to wait a year before I can get into school anyway. #6 I just got this new job, and I want to pay off my two credit cards before I rack on yet more debt from a SECOND degree’s tuition. I haven’t even paid off my Bachelor’s degree student loans yet! I should wait until I pay off some more debt. #7 I don’t want to waste anymore time in the wrong field. I already wasted four and a half years in a major that I don’t even want to work in. What’s the use of going to school to potentially waste two more years? #8 You know the news had a story about how so many people have graduate degrees and are yet finding that there are no jobs for them in this economy. What’s the use of going back to school then? To get in more debt? To waste more time?

“Several excuses are always less convincing than one.” – Aldous Huxley

You guys, the list goes on and on and on. Just ask my friends and family. They will tell you that I keep on coming up with a very rational, yet very useless excuse NOT TO DO.

Here’s the thing about excuses, guys. After I repeat all seven of those excuses to myself over and over again, guess what? What has all those “great reasons” done for me? Did any of those excuses get me what I wanted? Did any of them change my life for the better? Absolutely not. After I recite my favorite excuses, I’m still left in a career I dislike at a job I don’t want to work at with a degree I don’t need.

Satan makes you think that using his great excuses will make you happier where you are in life. He wants you to think that if you keep applying his excuses, you will be content with your decision not to get into the ministry, with your decision not to go back to school, with you decision not to get training for a different job, with your decision not to apply for the promotion, etc. But this is not true! You’re still probably miserable! I’m not saying that contentment and appreciation for where you are in life right now is a bad thing, but what I’m saying is that no amount of great excuses will make you feel any better about something you already dislike. All excuses do is postpone your dreams. You’re still going to want to achieve those SAME dreams, even if you wait a year to start on them or even a decade. And waiting to begin will only make it harder on you because the things that are easier for a single, childless, mortgage-less, career-less 20 year old is MUCH harder to achieve for a 40 year old married mother of five children who is already ten years into her displeasing career and only ten years into paying off her thirty year mortgage.

Let’s apply this to dating relationships. Satan will give you so many excuses NOT to marry. #1 You know the divorce rate in America is 50% #2 You know they say that so many African-American men have HIV because they are closeted homosexuals who will only use his wife as a cover to make him look heterosexual. #3 You know people aren’t faithful in their marriages anymore. He’s going to probably have three affairs on you after you get old and saggy. #4 Watch him flip on you during the honeymoon. Sure he looks sweet now, but he’s gonna get like Ike on Tina on you soon after you marry him. So don’t get tied to him in a marriage. #5 (Here’s a funny one) The world is going to end in a few months or few years anyway so just stay single and focus on ministry work.

“It is wise…to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” – William Arthur Ward

I’m not suggesting you rush into a new career or marriage, but I suggest you seriously think about these “great excuses/reasons” you hear popping up in your head. Ask yourself did they likely originate with God or Satan? With insecurity or confidence? With fear and doubt or trust in God? If Satan is giving you fearful reasons not to do, then it is because he is afraid of the success that is to come in your future and so he desires to stop you. Hear are some words of wisdom that I have heard a while ago which I have never forgotten: The purpose of fear is to stop you. It wants to stop you from dreaming, achieving, applying, trying, interviewing, speaking, etc. So one way you can know that Satan’s device is at work is if fear is your motivator. If you’re not going to do something, let it be because it’s the wrong thing to do, because God doesn’t want you to do it, because it is a bad idea/bad decision. Don’t let it be because you MIGHT fail, because you may be embarrassed, because it may cost a lot of money, because it may take longer than you think, etc. EVERYTHING MIGHT fail, is that a reason for everyone to stop moving? Everyone who became a doctor or lawyer had great chances of failing in law school or med school. They had high risk of failing the LSAT, MCAT, and bar exam. But there are SO many lawyers and doctors out there! So what if all of those doctors and lawyers had said in their head, “What if I don’t pass the test or class?” Then we would have a scary world devoid of lawyers and doctors! So scratch that excuse out. EVERYTHING that EVERYONE does has the potential of failing. But some people don’t use that excuse to stop trying, so why do should you think that it is okay for you to use an excuse that did not work for others?

I believe that God will use me in the ministry to a fair extent. I believe that I will lead thousands to Christ as was prophesied to me. I believe that I will give hope to so many people with the messages, insights, wisdom, and revelation God has been blessing me with over the past several years. I am excited about what God is going to use me to do for Him in the ministry. So I’m preparing for whenever He needs me. And so because Satan is threatened by the damage that I can evoke in his kingdom, he is sowing an excuse here and a reason there to get me NOT to do. A reason NOT to get into the ministry. An excuse NOT to go to theological seminary. An excuse NOT to open my mouth and say what God gives me to say. He reminds me that I am a woman and that many Christians don’t want to hear God’s message coming from a woman. He reminds me of my age and that many ministers began preaching a younger age than me. He reminds me of my fear of public speaking so that if I am offered an opportunity to speak, I will try to talk myself out of it. He reminds me that I talk too fast and that in times past I have stumbled over my words and stuttered when I was very nervous. He reminds me that I’m introverted. None of these excuses say that ministry is a bad idea, it just tries to scare me out of ministry.

Let the rewards of reaching your dreams motivate you more than the excuses of how bad failure may feel to you. Refuse to take anymore of Satan’s excuses. For every excuse Satan gives you not to do something, give him two happy reasons why you should. If he tells you that you shouldn’t get pregnant by your husband because the world we live in is so perverted and dangerous, tell him that you would love nothing more than to lavish all your love on and raise a child of your own. That you find it so exciting to raise a child up in the fear of the Lord and help that child to be successful and impactful in this world. Now which sounds more exciting? Not having a baby or having a baby? Yeah, the world is full of child molesters and gun-toting schoolmates, but what does that have to do with the joy of raising a child? Don’t let Satan’s fears prevent you from walking in the rewards of your carrying out your heart’s desires!

“Bad excuses are worse than none.” -Thomas Fuller

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Lazy Lovin’: Getting In the Relationship Is Easy, But How Long Can You Keep It?

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What do you do when you’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, and God still has not stepped into your situation? You’ve prayed for a spouse, and no spouse showed up. You’ve prayed for a job, and no employers’ have called. You’ve prayed to get out of debt, and you’re yet still in debt. Is God being lazy?

No. YOU are the lazy one.

Christians have the motto, “Pray until something happens.” And many Christians believe that they should not make any moves until God does something. They believe it is the mark of the spiritually mature to be still and see the work of the Lord. And in many cases this is true. But in some cases, it is laziness for an adult Christian to sit around and do nothing and to blame the Lord for nothing taking place.

I’ve seen this same laziness in people who read horoscopes and who believe in zodiac signs. They can meet a great guy, but as soon as they find out that their signs are “incompatible”, they stop all efforts of trying to have a successful relationship with the guy. They say, “It’s not worth it! It’s not in the stars for us anyway. He’s a Cancer, and I’m a Gemini. It’ll never work!” That is relationship laziness.

Some people may even do this with birth order. I hear that birth order is the number one predictor of one’s personality. This is probably said because your family of orientation is the first relationship you’ve had with people of the opposite sex for many years. If you’ve been the middle child for 25 years, you’re going to have middle child tendencies. If you’ve been the baby of the family of 13 children for 18 years, you’re going to have much in common with other children who are the youngest in their large families. If you’ve been the eldest of five for 14 years, there will be some personality traits that you will share with most other oldest children. And if you’ve been the only child of your parents for 20 years, that will shape a lot about you too. And these traits will likely follow you throughout your life since you’ve been trained with them in a controlled environment for at least 18 years. But is that an excuse to never date a great woman you met who’s a middle child because a book said that you as an only child are very incompatible with middle children? That is laziness not to try!

Many Christians do this. Especially Christians who have fear of failure, fear of intimacy, and fear of commitment. When a person has a fear of being hurt, they can find creative ways to avoid being hurt. And when a Christian has a fear of being hurt, they find seemingly “Christian” ways to avoid being hurt.

I’ll speak from a personal experience. My little sister bought a book called “Marriability”. And this book was written by a married couple who wrote about things that keep us single without our knowing. And one blessed chapter was about Christians. It talked of how many Christian women who have fear of being hurt will sometimes lie to themselves and say something to the effect of, “I’m not going to be actively looking for a spouse. I’ll actually just sit here in my house/apartment until God sends somebody my way. If GOD wants me married, there is nothing that I can do to stop that from happening. It won’t matter if I’m sloppy-looking, dressed in rags, have poor hygiene, and am as mean as a rattlesnake. Can’t me or nobody else prevent the plan of God for my love life!”

How delusional! Not even God will override the desires and will of a man for what he desires in a woman. If men want women who care about that looks, you need to remember that if you want a spouse. I think some people who fear the risk of hurt that comes with dating are the same people who say, “I’ll just sit here until God sends my prince(ss) to me. Why go out and date when I can get hurt? I’ll just stay safe in my comfort zone where no one can hurt me. The person God sends me will never hurt me. And the relationship with them will be effortless.” That is not true. Even someone that God sends your way can hurt you by mistake because they are imperfect. Even in a relationship that God send you, you will still have to put in a lot of work too. Even if you and the spouse are doing everything to make the relationship successful, please understand and know that many other people and spiritual enemies will fight your relationship. So you have to be strong with regards to the two of you and then also you have to be strong with regards to attacks that will come from the others.

So if you’re too lazy to get out and make yourself available and eligible for a relationship, what makes you think that you will have the energy to keep a relationship going? Haters will fight it. Exes will fight. Skeptical church members, friends, and families will fight it. And if you’re a Christian, Satan and his arsenal of demons will sure enough fight it! So since you know this, you know you will have to give it your all every step of the way.

Relationships are hard work. They are not easy. I’ve never heard anyone say either in real life or in the movies that their relationship has been effortless. Even if you and the person are compatible as a Taurus and a Cancer. Even if you and the person are compatible in your birth order – he’s the eldest brother of all sisters and you’re the baby girl of all brothers. Even if you both are preacher’s kids from the same denomination. Even if you two have the same intelligence level, same good looks, same socioeconomic status, and the same friends. Even with the foundation being pretty good, a relationship will be hard work at best.

We have to get the root of relationship laziness. I know someone who’s been trying to help a friend get a job. But the unemployed friend is very lazy. And so even if the working friend helps the other friend get a job, the lazy friend will not keep the job for long because the friend does not have the work ethic for keeping a job for a long time. He lost the last job because he was lazy, and until he gets to the root of his work laziness, he will stay being fired. So just as he needs to find out WHY he can’t keep a job, we constantly single people need to find out WHY we keep staying single even when we are able-bodied, attractive adults.

Relationships take work. Marriages take work. And I feel that Satan especially fights Christian marriages because he knows that every time a Christian marriage fails, it reflects poorly on Christianity as a whole. So when you get married as a believer, you better get ready with the skills to make it last in spite of Satan’s relentless attacks. And because relationships take a lot of work – two imperfect, flawed, sinful people trying to come together for a lifetime – you need to stop being lazy. You cannot do a job successfully with laziness. You can only do a hard job successfully with consistently hard work.

Let me tell you what I would do. I would meet a great guy. I would like him for a while. And then the minute I ran into an “obstacle”, I would stop trying to work at it and I would let it go. And that lack of stick-to-it-ness is what caused the relationships to fail. It wasn’t the obstacle – perceived or actual – it was my laziness. If the guy and I didn’t agree on everything, I would say to self, “See! That’s a sign right there! I shouldn’t be dating this guy!” If he liked a singer I didn’t like, or a sport I didn’t like, or a preacher I didn’t like, I took that to mean that God didn’t send him to me. I took that as a red flag for me to give up. I think I’m very fortunate in that God has sent MANY great guys my way. No alcoholics, no addicts, no abusers, no cheaters, no bums, but good quality men. And yet even though we both were eligible bachelor and bachelorette, I still found some way not to make it work with them. I had the materials to make a successful relationship; I just did not have the relationship work ethic.

That’s one thing I realized about myself. I’ve never fought for anything all my life. If a coworker or employer or client annoyed me too much, I would quit the job. If a club I joined had lost its excitement, I’d drop out of it. If a goal I made for myself became too difficult, I would either make the goal too easy or just quit the goal altogether. If I was given a prophecy and I didn’t feel like I believed in it one day, I’d just stop working to get what God promised me. If I didn’t like the pastor of my church or something he said, I’d leave the church. If a friend or family member made me mad, I would cut them off. If a Twitter follower or a Facebook friend rudely disagreed with something I wrote, I would delete or block them. I was L A Z Y! And needless to say, I had little to show for myself. I could have had so many more friends, could have been further along in the ministry, could have been closer to my family members, could have led many loved ones to the Lord, could have had a graduate degree, could have been married by now, etc. But because of my laziness, I would give up on things.

Everything you want is just outside of your comfort zone. The love life you want is just outside of your fear of intimacy. The career you want is just outside of your work ethic and your educational comfort zone. The health you want is just outside of your exercise and eating comfort zone. You will never attain anything of great worth in this life within your comfort zone. The only thing you will attain is comfort and regrets. Regrets that you didn’t work harder at that marriage. That you didn’t try to get the Master’s. That you didn’t persevere a little more with your pastor. That you weren’t more patient with that family member.
Comfort zone is the breeding ground for regrets.

Who told you that you should give up on something because it got hard? Did Moses give up on heading to the promised land because the way got hard? Did Abraham give up on having a son with Sarah because it looked impossible? Did David give up on honoring King Saul because Saul made it hard on him? Did Jesus give up on the Cross because it was difficult? Did Paul give up preaching the gospel because it got hard? No one has attained anything of great value in the bible by giving up when it got hard. Things getting hard are NO excuse to stop trying. Stop being lazy. Keep working at the thing until you achieve the thing. It’ll never get any easier. It’ll only get harder with time. NOW is the time. Now is easier than then. For example, it’s easier to go to graduate school right after undergraduate. It’s easier to work out the day after you worked out rather than waiting a week to work out again. Keep going even if it was hard the first time because it only gets harder when you wait.

Dear Procrastinators, Sometimes It’s Now or NEVER

Why wait until New Year's to begin? There's nothing magical about January 1st!

Heights of great men reach and kept
were not attained by sudden flight
but while their companions slept
were toiling through the night

We humans make things so much more difficult than they have to be. People want to lose weight, and they want to wait until New Year’s to make another unsuccessful resolution to lose 10 pounds. If you don’t have the motivation to do it now, what makes you think you’ll have it in 1 – 12 months? It’s not a big grand theory to lose weight. It’s simply a matter of using common sense mathematics. 1 + 1 = 2. If you know that an average-sized, active woman should consume 2,200 calories a day, and you eat three value meals at McDonald’s, then you know that you have surpassed your caloric intake to stay a healthy weight for that day. Now if you consume 5,200 calories a day and exercise off 3,000 calories, then you are fine. But you know if you don’t work out that you will gain the weight! Stop being so deep! You don’t need a profound plan to start on this date at breakfast time. You can start losing weight December 29th during lunch. Why you got to wait to January 1st?!

We want to make up plans to leave a jerk boyfriend or girlfriend. No plan needed. Ain’t nothing to it but to do it! We want to think of a way that won’t hurt feelings. Guess what? Break ups hurt period. We say, “I’ll wait until after our anniversary. After his birthday. After Valentine’s Day.” Why not now?! It’s not that deep. We want to write out pro and con lists. We want to consult with all of our friends. If dude is a jerk or if your girlfriend is a jerk, then leave! Kick him to the curb! Do it now! Like Dr. Phil says, the only thing worse than being in a wrong relationship for a year is being a wrong relationship for a year AND a day. Now is the time! I believe in tact, but I believe that if your boyfriend or girlfriend are just wrong for you, then no amount of tact can fix that.

CME Saints. Christmas-Mother’s Day-Easter Saints. “I’ll get saved next Easter. It’s time for me to finally turn my life around.” Why wait until Easter? Do you have any idea how many people were going to wait until Easter to give their lives to God and then died the day they decided to wait until Easter? Or died the day BEFORE Easter? The devil wants you to keep procrastinating. If he knows you’re going to die January 15, he’ll encourage you to hold off until Easter to get saved because you are a CME saint. You may not have that long. People who are not spiritual believe that there is a 50% chance that you will die tomorrow and that there is a 50% chance that you will not die tomorrow. But you never know. As Christians, we believe that on one day there is a 100% chance that you will die, and every other day there is 0% chance that you will die because God is in control and already has our death date set. Even if he moves it 15 years down the road as He did for King Hezekiah, there was still a 100% chance that King Hezekiah would die on a certain date. So if you think as a non-spiritual person, there’s a 50% chance that you could die tonight. Do you have time to wait until next Easter? You may or you may not. Do you really want to take that chance? It’s not that serious of a matter that you have to think about doing it. But it is very important that you give your soul to Christ. What’s so important in your life that you can put off eternal salvation for another second or for another 12 months? Don’t try to fix your life up first because there is no way that a physical and sinful body can make itself righteous and spiritual without the Holy Spirit. People say that they want to get out of a gang first or dump their fornication partner first. If you could make yourself right on your own then you wouldn’t need Christ! Come to the altar with your sins. He will take you as you are.

Men who want to sow their “royal oats.” You make me laugh. Royal oats. Ha! You want to wait until you’re 40 to settle down with a wife and to have kids. Those kids will have your back thrown out when they get 6 and want to play ball! Quit goofing off, and be real men! Sowing your royal oats will have you reaping STDS, unwanted pregnancies, and baby mama drama. You need to stop making it such a big deal. Ask God to help you to prepare to be a husband and father and stop making it so profound. Of course, marriage and family is nothing to be taken lightly, but with God on your side, you can get some responsibility to do things God’s way. If you want to have sex, why not have it with your wife? Do something fun the moral way. If you sow to your flesh, you will reap corruption.

I am very into orderliness. I’m not a stickler for disinfectant, but when it comes to a room looking neat, I got to have it! My friends say I’m a neat freak/OCD. So when I come into someone’s house and their home is a mess, I get slightly upset when they say, I was going to clean my room, but I ran out of time. If you put aside that TV program or two or three or four, then you’d have AMPLE time to hang up clothes, put clothes in the hamper, put papers and books on a shelf, put dishes in the dishwasher, etc. etc. I promise you the room refuses to clean itself, and it usually gets messier. CLEAN UP NOW! My sister always says, “I’ll clean up when I finish this exam.” Her room is still a filthy mess a semester later. If you have time to go shopping, then you have time to clean up. People act like throwing clothes in a hamper needs a schedule. JUST DO IT. Get off the couch, walk to all the dirty clothes, pick them up, and place them into the hamper. It takes seconds to put dirty dishes in a dishwasher. This is not a deep revelation. This is not a Rhema word from the Lord. Just put the laptop to the side. Stand up. Now walk to the stack of papers and books. Then put them on the book shelf.

The same goes for people who are in college. I used to put stuff off forever and a day. Yes, college courses and school work are more mentally demanding than cleaning up, but I do declare that a college education is the single thing that people will spend THOUSANDS of dollars on and will not even want to get all they can out of it. We make our cars worth what we put in them and then some. We’ll wear our clothes out of style. But when it comes to college, we’ll spend thousands upon thousands and then decide to skip class and stay in bed. Just get up and get out! Even if you fall asleep in class, you can sign the roll and get an idea of what class was about. People want to be doctors doing surgery on me and my friends, but they want to skip class and cheat on tests. I don’t want to working on me with that kind of dedication! I bet you’d get some motivation if your boyfriend was coming over even after you only slept for three hours the night before. I bet you’d get up for things that cost you little to nothing, but we want to make attending class a profound matter. Just get up! Just drive to the library and get the book! Just open your laptop and start typing! Ain’t nothing to it but to do it! Don’t write out a schedule or a to do list. Don’t do THAT. Just do IT! People put more effort into a to do list than they do in doing the actions listed on the to do list!

Don’t talk about applying to college on Saturday. Just do it today! Then find some financial aid! Don’t talk about looking for work tomorrow, just get your butt off that couch and drive around and apply tomorrow. Because gas is high, join a job search website and apply that way (that’s how I got my job). Don’t talk about fasting and dieting next week to lose weight. Fast and diet now! Don’t talk about exercising starting first thing in April. Start March 26th! (What’s the fascination with certain dates and holidays when it comes to procrastinators? What’s so magical about the first of the month or the first of the week? Today has just as much opportunity for success as January 1st!)

Don’t talk about reading the Bible more and praying more starting next Sunday. Put away the computer and pick up the bible or begin to pray now. The devil want you to wait because he wants you to be at a standstill. He doesn’t want you to progress. He wants you stagnant; God wants you prosperous. If you are a lazy couch potato who is 30 years old living with your parents, it’s because you weren’t applying to enough jobs. I called and applied for about 40 agencies before I finally was blessed with a job. Had a given up at agency 38, I’d have been unemployed to this day!