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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Put aside the excuses and instead put on the grace of God.

Scriptures:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Ok, I need to give a not-so-subtle introduction to today’s post. Today’s post is written with a desire to help some mommas out. Having home educated all the way through, I have seen a wide varying difference in attitude toward work and education in all of the families I have encountered over the years. People would often hail me saying things like, “Oh, I could never homeschool”. Believe me, I could not, either, except for the grace of God. It is hard because it requires consistent discipline. But so does accomplishing anything worthwhile in this life.

Over all of the years of home education, some years were amazingly productive and some were engulfed in sickness or chaos of some sort and the ability to carry on effectively was more than challenging.

But something that truly makes me sad is when people who are so capable, so full of potential – fall short of reaching their goal or giving their best. What is it that drives some to pour themselves out to achieve their highest potential? And what is it that stalls or impedes another from the desire to give their best effort? Sometimes circumstances or people can hold us back, but at the end of the day we are still responsible to steward what we have been given and to give the best of what we can. So what causes some people to avoid giving their best?

I really hope to encourage us all to put away excuses and to rise up and use the gifts that God has placed in us. But you will have to forgive me while I try hard not to totally bear a sarcastic tone in this post today. I just can’t help myself. So here we have it, folks, in David Letterman style, the Top 10 countdown of reasons (excuses) of why people don’t apply themselves and try to achieve their best (drum roll, please):

#10 Laziness.

I know. I said it. Not trying to be preachy here. Our flesh really makes it tough to apply ourselves sometimes. It is just easier to chill. Or is it? Laziness creates a lot of unnecessary stress and makes getting projects done seem impossible. Ultimately, though, laziness is allowing the desires of our flesh to dictate what we do instead of us telling our flesh what it will do. If only recognizing these deterrents to being diligent could fix laziness. But slothfulness is kind of like a disease. An object at rest tends to stay at rest, right? What causes laziness? Oh, don’t get me started . . .

#9 Entitlement, perhaps.

We don’t want to do something, so we don’t feel we have to. We feel entitled to just take it easy. Keep walking down this entitlement lane, though, and things will get U-G-L-Y. Especially if you have someone along with you providing enablement for your entitlement.

#8 Busyness.

Being busy is another great excuse for would-be achievers. They just don’t have the time and can’t believe we do. But we all make time for what we need to. Notice I did not say what we want to. Ugh. I don’t mean to have a preachy tone. Can you tell I’m a momma? I get it – I am extremely busy myself, but getting out of the busyness cycle takes intentionality in order to overcome the busyness mentality. Prioritization is an important key to unlocking our vicious list of to do’s.

We have to stop listening to our flesh that tries to lead us down ineffective, unproductive lives and make a choice to prioritize what are the “big rocks” in this life. Putting them into place first, we can add in our other responsibilities and commitments according to their priority, not what our flesh wants to do. Prioritization requires discipline. Oops . . . there is that harsh word. What’s that you say? You are too stressed out to apply yourself? Oh . . . that would mean you are . . .

#7 Overwhelmed.

Life is hard. It just is. If you don’t have problems now, just wait. Feelings of being overwhelmed can affect us all, but they don’t have to paralyze us. Watching my children grow up, get jobs and start college, I remember well the stress of those days. But when we use being overwhelmed as an excuse to prevent us from doing what we know is the right thing to do, we become complacent and are sipping the Kool-Aid of . . .

#6 Procrastination. 

Procrastination has a way of lulling us into a sense of feeling like we may as well give up. But hey, it is just a part of our personality, right? Right? We cannot control that and are powerless . . . or maybe we are descending toward . . .

#5 Apathy.

Ooh. Not a good place to be. This is where we feel numb and think it all does not matter anyway. We tell ourselves we just can’t do it all. Why try? Maybe instead ask “Why not try”? We might be . . .

#4 Discouraged.

Discouragement can affect us in profound ways. It can suck the life and determination out of us if we allow it to poison our attitude. When we look at our abilities, we might begin to think we don’t measure up, especially if we are prone to . . .

#3 Comparison.

Someone else will always be better, so why bother trying to compete? Comparison can stall some people in their tracks and cause others to rise up and try to be even better. We are all in a race, running to give our very best to God. All can win. We may stumble along the way, but if we get back up, we stay in the fight.

#2 Legitimate Hard times.

Ok, so life happens. Boy does it. I know. So sometimes there might be a temporary disruption and sometimes having a normal schedule is super challenging, but even in such times, we can pick a couple of things that are a necessity and make time to do the next best thing. Step after step we begin to climb out of our chaos to a place of tranquility – not perfect surroundings, but peace that Christ gives when we do what is right.

#1 Maturity.

Sometimes people don’t even realize they are using this excuse. Their thinking is clouded because they are thinking like children. We all need to grow up and handle all of our increasing responsibilities and then . . . wait for it . . . then we can reward ourselves. In a “me” generation focused on the pursuit of meeting the demands of our flesh with instant gratification, this is a tough one.

I am sure there are even more excuses. Maybe it all seems too hard. But in the place of being challenged, perplexed, intimidated and unqualified – we meet our Savior. He empowers us to do what He has called us to. When we suffer the hard knocks of life, we remember that the One Who brought us to it will bring us through it.

Put aside the excuses and instead put on the grace of God. See what God can do through a people yielded to Him. God gave us His best and is calling us to do the same. Don’t let anything hold you back – don’t look to the right or the left, pray and ask God to help you.

When we see the mountains ahead, we look to the One Who made the mountains. And when people look at what God is achieving in us, we lay the crown down at His feet and He gets all the glory.

Lord, help us to not look at the waves around us, but to You – the One Who has called us to give our best for Your glory.

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