Excuses. We all make them. But what if your excuses are keeping you from obtaining all that God wants to do in you and through you? Are Excuses Keeping You from a Happy Life? Have you ever thought the following?
When I get money, then I’ll give.
When I get a nice house, then I’ll take care of it.
When I get this car, then I’ll do that.
A lot of the time, we think we have to wait till we have all these things before we can do what God has called us to do. But I want to encourage you today to start now! Do what you can with what you have now.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV).
Satan wants you to keep making excuses for why you haven’t started doing what God wants you to do. The Bible says that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He wants you to lose your focus off of your assignment.
Keep Your Focus
I used to dread my phone ringing. Why? Because I already knew who was calling!
Every day, I had a woman from our church call me to talk about her problems… for hours. I was happy to offer my advice and pray with her the first couple of times, but I was starting to notice a pattern… She always called me again the next day with the SAME problems. And, to my surprise, she hadn’t taken my advice!
I didn’t recognize it then, but this woman didn’t want help; she wanted an audience. One of the most valuable lessons you can learn is the difference between someone who wants help and someone who wants a handout. I later found out I wasn’t the only person getting held up on the phone for hours with this woman. She would talk to me about her problems and then turn around and call somebody else to repeat the same stories!
Being a Christian, I felt like I had to talk to her. It would be wrong of me not to, right? My mindset was so wrong about what being the hands and feet of Jesus really meant. And with that wrong mindset, I spent every day dreading the sound of my phone ringing.
From the outside looking in, this story may sound unbelievable to you. How hard it is to just ignore a phone call? Looking back on it, I totally agree! When you’re in the moment, though, things aren’t always that clear. The feeling of obligation can cause you to make bad decisions for your time, family, and destiny.
Ask yourself: “Are there any unhealthy relationships or situations where I’ve let obligation convince me to jump through hoops or bow down to it?”
There’s an unhealthy mindset in the world that Christians are supposed to be the doormats people walk on, so they never have to step in a puddle. I need you to know this absolutely isn’t true. You can’t take the place of God in someone’s life—nor should you.
In this particular story, being in ministry, I felt it was my moral obligation to take every call I got from this woman and to talk as long as she wanted. In reality, I was enabling her to continue down the path she was on! There may have been times in your life, too, that you let sharks gnaw on your hand because you thought it was the “Christian” thing to do. This is a scheme from the enemy to distract you from your destiny!
It’s not always DESTRUCTION that keeps us from our destiny; it’s DISTRACTION.
Sharks will try to steal your time and intention, but you have to protect your focus. Keep your eyes on Jesus! He will carry you through persecution to victory!
Sharks can try to attack you, but they can’t stop you if you refuse to allow your focus to be on them instead of on your mission. You will need to deal with them, but don’t let them control the waters! You have a right to swim and get to your promise in God.
Fight the Right Battle
Many times, when we do something good or start pursuing God’s call on our lives, accusations will come against us. Don’t be surprised if your success invites criticism from others. When this happens, we have to hold on to God’s direction. We can’t change course to please people or the naysayers in our lives. We have to fight the battle for our destinies, not the battle for approval.
Ask yourself: “Which battle have I been fighting?”
We can’t sacrifice the will of God for the approval of people. The fact of the matter is there will be times when we have to choose between the two. When Gary and I were trying to get out of debt, we had many friends and family tell us we were taking “this whole get out of debt thing too far.” People will criticize the very thing God has called you to do, saying it seems impossible to them, or too hard for them––but that’s why God called you to do it, not them.
“Don’t expect people to understand your grind when God didn’t give them your vision.” —Anonymous
People may not understand what God has called you to do––but down the road, you’ll be thankful you stuck with it! And the incredible thing is that those same people who discouraged and doubted you will come back and say, “I knew you could do it all along!”
When trouble comes, it’s tempting to focus on the person who is responsible, to blame, or to become a victim. When criticized, it’s a mistake to start doing what someone wants instead of what God said. You can’t do it all. You must decide what season you’re in and what’s important in this season.
This reminds me of a powerful story in Mark 14. In this story, a woman poured expensive perfume over Jesus’s head.
Mark 14:4-9 (NIV) say,
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Sometimes, people will misjudge your heart for what God has called you to do, but it’s not between you and them; it’s between you and God. When we stay focused on the call of God for our lives, He is able to create a legacy for us beyond anything we could have hoped or imagined!
Refocusing on the Good
When Jesus fed the 5,000, the first question He asked the disciples was, “What do you have?” Right now, you probably have countless opportunities, connections, and potential growth around you waiting for you to seize it. Sometimes, we have to get to a new perspective and open our minds a little to see it. Someone’s going to do it––it might as well be you! The difference between world changers and stagnant drifters comes down to the ability to focus on opportunities and then seize them.
For years, people enjoyed lunch meat on bread in the comfort of their homes, but two men named Peter Buck and Fred DeLuca saw a foot long loaf of bread differently and started a restaurant called Subway. Millions of people saw a sandwich––but Buck and DeLuca saw a million-dollar corporation. Successful people have the ability to look at ordinary life and see extraordinary potential.
Ask yourself: “What areas in my life are working well? What opportunities would I like to focus more on?”
Poor thinking can be summed up in four words:
Have you ever noticed when children play, they don’t imagine divorces, failures, death, or bankruptcy? Children don’t make room for failure or low expectations. As adults, it seems all many of us do is make room for failure and low expectations… and it costs us our dreams!
I remember asking a little boy at a conference what he wanted to be when he grew up, and I was struck by how quickly he answered the question. He didn’t respond with an accountant or a manager at a store. He gave me an extensive LIST of larger-than-life dreams: a firefighter, an astronaut, a policeman, and a monster truck driver. There was nothing “practical” about his career goals. There wasn’t a glimpse of fear or discouragement when he said them either.
When Jesus said we should have faith like a child, I believe this is what He meant. Children don’t make room for failure. They’re “possibility thinkers.” They see a world full of doors opening up before them, overflowing with opportunities.
Ask yourself: “Have I been searching diligently for opportunities? Am I thinking big enough?”
You have what you need right now to build a beautiful life; you just have to open your eyes and see the possibilities in front of you. Life asks multiple choice questions. If you can’t see all of your options, you’re not thinking big enough!
Have you ever encountered a shark? For more on how to get focused, deal with difficult people, get my book Shark Proof HERE.
To learn more about God’s love for you, read You Are Loved Lavishly by God! HERE.