7 Things That Lurk Beneath Excuses

MarvaeObstacles4 Comments

Illustration of a cartoon girl drying her hair

Back when I was in elementary school, I was invited to a slumber party to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Most girls love slumber parties. I am not most girls. In spite of my outgoing nature, I actually appreciate solitude, and quiet, small groups – all the things that a slumber party is not.

So rather than decline the invitation, I gave my friend the excuse that I needed to wash my hair that night. I can’t explain why that was my excuse, but it was.

My mother performed a complicated nightly procedure to turn my fine hair into a fluffy mass of ringlets. It involved twisting little bits of hair and securing them with crisscrossed bobby pins. A damp head covered in a hundred crisscrossed bobby pins made sleeping an adventure! However, she never did this on Friday nights, and the slumber party was on Friday night.

Long story short, my friend’s mom called my mom to see if the hair washing could be done on another night only to discover my mom knew nothing about the slumber party or the hair washing excuse.

If I am honest with myself, my excuse was really a lie. There was no mandatory hair washing scheduled. I just didn’t want to go!

I share my silly excuse of my yester-years as an example of how excuses are more than just reasons why I don’t do this or that. They are a sign that I am unwilling to be honest with myself.

Excuses come in a variety of forms. Can you relate to any of these excuses?
  • I am too young/old to….
  • It is not the right time to…
  • I can’t do…
  • I am too overwhelmed…
  • I have kids/I don’t have kids…
  • I am too busy to…
  • I have not yet completed my plans for…
  • It might not succeed
  • I am underqualified to…
  • I don’t have the money to…
  • I am still in the process of exploring…
  • I don’t know enough about “X” to pursue…
  • I don’t know anyone who can help me…
  • Everyone/no one is doing…
  • I have no idea where to start…
  • I have never done “X” before…
  • There are others who are better at…
  • It is hard for a man/woman to do…
  • I have tried before and it failed…
  • I don’t have what it takes to…
  • Better to not to try than to fail at…
  • I already have too many things on my plate to…
  • I need to figure out all the steps before I…
  • I don’t have the right credentials to…
  • I am not that creative to…
  • There are just too many obstacles to…
  • I don’t want to do “X” because I might not finish…
  • I will start “X” once I finish…
  • Everyone will think I am crazy if…
  • I can’t do “X” because I lack technical skills…

Had I been confident back in elementary school I would have just told my friend the truth: that I would not be at the slumber party. No excuse was needed.

Lurking underneath excuses are truths I am unwilling to admit to myself; things that are holding me back and keeping me from embracing my full potential and calling.

Underneath the excuses here is what I have found:

1. Fear
Fear that I will fail. Fear that I won’t have what it takes. Fear of what others will think. Fear that I don’t know where it will all go. Fear that it could be painful. Fear that – the possibilities are endless.

In order to fight fear I must face it. That’s hard! The good news: the more I face my fears the easier it gets to confront them. And when I confront them and overcome them, my confidence grows. Even when things don’t go the way I expect, I have learned valuable lessons, like failure won’t kill me.

2. Self-Doubt
I lack the confidence in my own abilities making me hesitant to proceed.

Stepping out and doing something new is an adventure and abilities are developed along the way. They are not something I have when I start out. If I refuse to begin, it is a guarantee that those abilities will remain undeveloped.

3. I don’t really want it bad enough
The things I want, really want, I will fight for and do what it takes to get them. I will work hard, persevere through tough times, and pay a high price. I will fully commit.

4. Unwillingness to take responsibility
Excuses can be my way of shifting the blame onto someone else or something else rather than taking responsibility and being proactive. It is my responsibility to make my life useful and meaningful

5. I don’t really deserve it
Feelings of unworthiness or the inability to fully embrace success can tempt me to make excuses and sabotage the things I do. Until those beliefs are explored and dismantled, I will continue to make excuses and stay stuck.

6. Procrastination
Procrastination is the silent excuse that allows me to keep putting off what needs to be done in order to accomplish my goals, dreams or purpose.

7. Disobedience
God calls me to do BIG things for Him. More than I can ever do on my own; a task or way of being that requires complete dependence on Him. It is scary and hard, so I make excuses. As long as I am making excuses and not embracing what He has made me to do or be, I am walking in disobedience.

Making an excuse to avoid a slumber party was a silly thing to do. As an adult, the excuses I make have greater consequences. Excuses have the potential to limit me and what I can do with my life.  Excuses prevent me from living in a way that brings God glory. I want my life to make a difference and to be filled with meaning.

How about you? What do you find lurking underneath your excuses?

Image: Can Stock Photo Inc. / lenm

4 Comments on “7 Things That Lurk Beneath Excuses”

  1. Awesome article! I can think of a time or two (or three, or….) when I have used an invalid excuse. I oftentimes kick myself afterwards for not being 100% honest. What’s the worst that could happen if I choose to be HONEST? Not get asked again? Hmm… Okay. I truly appreciate your words, “As an adult, the excuses I make have greater consequences.” There is SO much truth in that! As an adult, I have learned that my ‘YES’ means yes and my ‘NO’ means no. As you said: No excuse is necessary!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Angela! They are much appreciated.
      Letting your YES be yes and your NO be no is wise. And when I am tempted to say otherwise it is time for me to explore what’s underneath that. 🙂

  2. I find that the longer I think about something, the more excuses develop. I never end up with more reasons why I should do something, only reasons why I shouldn’t. If I have an initial feeling of dread, I try to take immediate action to avoid this rush of negativity. I also try very hard not to make excuses when telling someone I don’t want to do something. Someone close to me always uses an excuse to “soften the blow”, and this generally leads to me having to cover for them – something, I’m not comfortable with but do anyway.

    1. Thanks for sharing Mike. Putting things off, or procrastinating, does have a way of magnifying the reasons NOT to do something. I my experience excuses rarely soften the blow. What would happen if you chose not to cover for the person you mentioned?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *