Excuses Don’t Get You Closer

4 Insights to Challenging Our Circumstances

If I want the results I want, I have to do the things that create those results. Sabbath is one of the things that I have to contend for in my life: Our body, soul, and spirit need refreshing regularly or we will fry. I strive to align life and leadership by resting once in a while, but I find it a challenge. Whats up with that?

Excuses-2

What are the things in our lives that demand adjustment before we can obtain the prize? The following principles apply broadly:

  • Just because my circumstances do not allow something does not give me a free pass.
  • If my circumstances do not allow a non-negotiable imperitive, then I have to change my circumstances.
  • Decisions always cost us something, we just have to decide what’s most important to us.
  • Rarely do we accomplish our goals in a single bound. Make a plan to align your life.

Hard work is important. Rest is important. I sometimes feel life is simply too busy to take a day off. I know the importance, but circumstances just do not permit it.  A lot of people, regardless of vocation, have such conflict. God worked six days and rested seven. Our physical body, emotions, mind, and spirit are wired for regular periods of rest.

Our physical body, emotions, mind, and spirit are wired for regular periods of rest.

Here are some thoughts that apply broader than just sabbath. In fact, let’s think of sabbath as an example and feel free to plug in whatever it is that you need to calibrate, but just cannot for some reason.

Challenge the circumstance.

Just because my circumstances do not allow something does not give me a free pass.

It is the dog-ate-my-homework syndrome. We call it “excuses”. Whether the dog ate your homework or you just didn’t do it, you still don’t have it. At School of Ministry we occasionally have a student whose computer glitched and they lost their completed study guide. We have compassion, but we can’t grade something they don’t have. Back up your work. This is self-leadership.

Whether the dog ate your homework or you just didn’t do it, you still don’t have it.

If I rarely take a day off, however noble the reasons, my kids are still going to grow up, my wife is still neglected, my body will still wear out, and my emotions will still fry. No free passes on the requirements of God and life.

Change the circumstance.

If my circumstances do not allow a non-negotiable imperitive, then I have to change my circumstances.

In a coaching situation I had a guy once tell me, “My job takes me away from home four nights a week and it is destroying my marriage, but the job pays too good to quit; good jobs are hard to come by.” Hmmm… Wow…

Quit your job.

Easy for you to say.

These are the tensions of life. When circumstances prevent us from obtaining the prize for which we strive, we need to adjust the circumstances when it is within our power to do so. Therein lies the discernment. Most of the time we really do have the power to decide.

When circumstances prevent us from obtaining the prize for which we strive, we need to adjust the circumstances.

Decide what’s most important.

Decisions always cost us something, we just have to decide what’s most important to us.

I believe a healthy, long-term pace for life is working 5 days, taking care of personal business on the sixth, and resting the seventh day. Sometimes the personal business can be mixed in with the other work, but we work 6 days a week. “Rest” is open to broad interpretation. It may mean inactivity, it may mean doing something you enjoy, but it is disengaging from stress and changing the pace and focus.

Life is constantly weighing decisions in a balance. Sometimes we can have many things if we think strategically, at other times, we can only have one of two things we want. We just have to decide what’s most important to us… not what is more urgent, but what is more important. I usually have to let go of something in my hand to reach for something else.

Progress toward the ideal.

Rarely do we accomplish our goals in a single bound. Make a plan to align your life.

Sometimes we have to build a runway before we can get the plane off the ground. To change the pace of our lives sometimes involves strategic thinking, laying ground work, and working toward the ideal. Don’t give up if your correction requires several steps, just start taking the steps.

Back to the thought of sabbath

I once had a wife. I regularly took time that belonged to her and gave it to something else. I gave it because I was already doing what I was paid to do, this was above and beyond. People applauded, they told me how great I was. I would make it up to her later. Guess what… there was no later.

I now give to my wife what belongs to her. I am intent on living healthy. Funny thing, when we keep our priorities straight and make hard decisions, we put on wings and fly. Maybe its because we are refreshed, we have energy, we think straight, we are more productive and everything else in our lives works a lot better.

Take the word sabbath out of this article and replace it with other words: pray, sleep, write, work out. We reap what we sow.

Think about your life and leadership alignment. What changes do you need to make? Hey, I am still working on this. I still mess up the sabbath thing sometimes, but I’m getting better and I am going to keep aiming at the prize and making wise decisions as long as God helps me!

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