We all have them, millions of them. Every day. We have excuses to keep us from doing what is good. We have excuses for justifying what we have done that is wrong. We have explanations, rationalizations, backstories - excuses - for just about everything.
Then we mourn our emptiness and wonder why we just aren't getting there. Why we aren't where we want to be, where we think we should be.
And we have an excuse for that, too. But beneath it all, our excuse is always...our excuses.
Now, I know myself fairly well and know the excuse traps I'm vulnerable to get caught up in. I don't want to spend the money. I don't have the time. Nobody probably wants me to. And so on. But I'm challenging those excuses head-on and taking them down before they can take hold.
Case in point:
Two nights ago, I was engaged in a long prayer, an overdue talk with my God. When I get the itch to pray and feel like I need something more to my words, I turn to my prayer journal, its pages filled with a heart crying out to the Lord, and I write. (I feel like if I write some of these things down, I am more likely to hold myself to them. It's not about whether God hears me better; it is for me.) I've had this journal since this urge first struck me back in, oh, 2008. The other night, after penning an Amen and sitting for a moment, I saw that my journal is finally nearly full. There are only a few blank pages left.
For a split second, I wondered what I would do when I didn't have it any more. Until the obvious answer smacked me upside the head - I'd buy a new one, a second prayer journal.
None of my excuses stood in the way, none of the difficult back-and-forth I've become used to when I'm about to do something, especially make a purchase. (I'm unemployed, ok? Money is tight, even though I'm fully aware I have never had a need in my life. My God is good.)
But it was more than that. Taking that trip to Barnes & Noble, spending a good ten or fifteen minutes going through their selection of journals, picking out just the right one, blessing it in my hands and feeling like God was present right there in that moment....it was the interception of an excuse in the making.
Because I know myself. And I know that if I had no empty pages to fill, I would look at my full prayer journal with a sigh and simply say, "I guess I'm not going to pray because I have nothing to pray with" when the vulnerabilities of my heart were looking for something more tangible than a spoken word floating on air. I knew my prayer life would suffer, then die, if I procrastinated. Because I would always say I didn't have it, that nothing else was right, then sigh myself into resignation and forget about it if I wasn't thinking about it at the moment. Time would pass, and it would be simply....nothing.
There are a million excuses out there, but none sufficient to stand between me and my God.
What excuses are defining your life and what can you do today, right now, to take them down before they take hold?