When I worked as a Fitness Tech at Curves, The Workout Place for Women, I heard all kinds of excuses from the women trying to justify not taking or making time to exercise. I knew most of the excuses, because I was already pretty good at using them myself. But aren’t we all?
Paul paints a pretty clear picture of the human dilemma in Romans 7: that which I should not, that do I do. Personally, He wanted to do better, knew he needed to better, even knew what he should do, but more often than not, he give in to his weaker nature. He felt wretched. Sound familiar?
I remember waking one morning, early, at 5:00 A.M. to go do my workout. I peeked out the window. The sidewalk and road were covered with snow. It had been an unusually snowy winter and I was beyond ready for spring. I’ve never liked driving on snow, and would find any number of excuses to not do so. The excuses began formulating in my brain as I contemplated going to workout.
I had a choice to make. Would I grab an excuse and crawl back into bed for an extra hour of sleep? Who would really blame me? I mean, exercising at 5:00 A.M. is crazy enough, why risk an accident in the snow to do something crazy? Or, would I pull on my sweats and head to the car? I opted for the car!
Now there is not anything necessarily noble about going to exercise at 5:00 A.M., but there is something worth rejoicing about when we don’t let excuses keep us from doing and being what we should or can be and do. We don’t use excuses just to avoid exercising and eating right. We use them to justify poor relationship decisions, cheating at work, speeding down the highway, fudging on our taxes. And we use them with God.
I had a good workout that morning. Physically, mentally, and spiritually, I’m glad I went. As I drove home that day, I thought about how the rest of my day might go. Some of it I could plan for, but I knew things could pop up unexpectedly. I determined right then to have an excuse free day: no excuses physically, mentally, or spiritually. As I recall, I felt freer and got a lot more accomplished—it was easier to get things done rather than hunt for excuses to not.
We talk about all the things we’re going to give up for Lent. Here’s an idea: let’s give up making excuses to avoid doing the things we know we need to do, or the things that will take us out of our comfort zone. We might find a whole new kind of energy. And if we put enough of those days together, we could create a whole new habit—and a positive one at that!
(I’m still checking on the above quoted motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, so the jury is still out on whether I buy in to all his stuff. This quote, however, hits the nail on the head for me.)