Truthfully, the summer of mono

We don’t do ourselves any favors when we make excuses. If telling the truth sets us free, (John 8:32) then making excuses keeps us stuck … or sick. I made a LOT of excuses this summer. I’ll remember this as the summer I had mono.

Why I made excuses

To be fair with myself (this IS my blog, after all ;) ), I made a lot of excuses because I was hopeful. I hoped I just needed to go to bed earlier, eat more protein, drink more water, or pray about things I worried about. I hoped my excuses were true and things would change and I would feel normal … but my excuses kept me from finding out what would really help:  the TRUTH.

We can’t deal with our sicknesses until we face the truth.

Excuses prolong help

Until I faced the facts, I wasn’t taking the action I really needed:  REST.  All those times I made excuses to myself, to Jeff, or to well-meaning friends (You know, all of you who said, “You look so tired. Are you okay?”), I prolonged finding out the truth and getting well.

You might use “trapped, imprisoned, captive or paralyzed” to describe the affect of living in a steam of excuses. Maybe you make excuses about sicknesses in your relationships, your home, your thought life, or your worship. Whatever our word choice, when excuses take the place of truth, it’s unhealthy. Why?

Excuses indicate fear

  • We live in fear of finding our own excuses aren’t true.
  • We live in fear of being found out.

So this was my summer of mono. That’s why I look tired and walk slow. That’s why our trash can has more pizza boxes than it should. That’s why my flower pots dried up … and I didn’t care. And now that I know the truth, I’m telling myself (and others) the truth and getting the rest I need, so I can leave mono behind with the dried up flower pots and embrace the new season. Until we accept the truth and get a plan to deal with the accurate reason behind our weaknesses, peace is out of reach.

Good news for our mono

So is it just me, or do you make excuses too? Are you living by telling yourself and others (those well meaning friends) a stream of excuses instead of facing your fears and finding out the truth about your illnesses? For me, it was as simple as getting a blood test, but sometimes it takes a lot more work to mine the truth. Finding peace begins with finding the truth.

We need not fear finding out the truth about the sicknesses in our lives.  After all, God provides undeserved kindness for us in our weakness. He can use our sicknesses, physical or relational or emotional or spiritual, to display and perfect His power in us. Instead of hiding our heartaches or hang ups with excuses, we can actually expose them ourselves and let Christ’s power heal us and help us to find freedom.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

Excuses mono

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By Julie Sanders

Marriage statistics say you’ll make it

Do you fear being in the 50% of marriages that fail? Or are you tired of struggling in a bad marriage, feeling like it’s not so bad to give in, since 1 in 2 women do?  Turns out … that fear and that excuse are based on bad information. The marriage statistics that say 50% of all marriages end in divorce just isn’t true. That’s great news for Marriage Mondays!

We were misled. 

True marriage statistics

According to Shaunti Feldhahn in her new book, The Good News About Marriage: Debunking the Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce, “The actual divorce rate has never been close to 50 percent. It’s significantly lower and has been declining over the last thirty years.” Not only that, but “The rate of divorce in the church is not the same as among the non-churchgoing population. It too is significantly lower.” It was well worth the $7.99 on my Kindle to find out the real story. Sadly, a lot of people step closer towards throwing in the towel of their vows, because wrong information leads them to think failure is inevitable.

“The actual divorce rate has never been close to 50 percent.”

Sometimes excuses begin with bad information. It could even be that bad information was shared with good intentions. We think God asks too much, that we don’t have all we need to live the way He called us to. We listen to the world’s attitude towards what He ordained and fall into the trap of thinking it would be easier to live together, separate, or start over. Our Maker tells us what He asks of us in life: “He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)  

Victorious marriage statistics

While thriving in marriage is miraculous, it isn’t impossible. God hasn’t asked us to do the impossible, without giving us all we need to make it work. Even in Christian circles, some people of faith embrace a trendy “I’m just being real” attitude to account for why kids are unruly, homes are disorderly, and relationships unhealthy. By equating authenticity with defeat, we deny God’s power to accomplish what He has called us to.

Marriage Statistics

The good news is that many couples experience victory in married life. In fact, Shaunti reports, “The vast majority (93 percent or more) are glad they married their spouse and would do it all over again – including those who had at one time considered divorce.”

Many women today jump on the band wagon of boasting in failures via social media, rather than getting serious about marriage to glory in Christ Jesus. Are we looking for sympathy or for people to agree that married life is more trouble than it’s worth? Do women really expect husbands to love them more after reading scathing remarks on Facebook about the life they share together or their personal struggles? In truth, marriage statistics show more people stay married than don’t. In our marriages and homes, we CAN live justly, foster kindness, and practice obedience. God can expect it, because He gives us all we need. That’s being real.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,” (2 Peter 1:3).

Thanks to Shaunti and her thorough reexamination of the research and interviews with people like George Barna and others who gathered the information, I now know the majority of couples make marriage work. God has called you and me to what is good, and He has given us all we need to experience victory in it.  We can replace the excuse that most marriages don’t last with the exciting news that MOST MARRIAGES ENDURE!

CLICK TO TWEET this good news about marriage > Great news for #MarriageMonday! 50% of all #marriages do NOT end in divorce! http://wp.me/p2H4E4-1Fy

By Julie Sanders

God knows we have no excuse

Really soon, you’re going to be tempted to come up with an excuse. Excuses cover up weaknesses, blunders, and offenses, which we all have. Some are genuinely committed without intent, but others tempt us to deliver well-crafted excuses to keep our inadequacies secret.

Do I ever get an excuse?

So if we’re all imperfect, shouldn’t we get an excuse every now and then?

  • Like when I tried to tell the airline why I ordering a ticket for the wrong weekend
  • Or when we’re down to our last roll of tp & last bite of cereal (not that those are related)
  • Or like last week when our neighbor returned our (exhilarated, panting) bad, run-away dog

Excuses are akin to reasons, but reasons lead to confessions, while excuses avoid confessions.

Some time soon, you’re going to be asked for a reason (maybe even a confession?) and you’re going to squirm as you debate coming up with a close cousin to a reason = an excuse. I’m going to go ahead and save you some time. In thinking about how much we love to make excuses, I looked to God’s word to ask, “Do we legitimately have an excuse?” for not knowing or doing good?

We don’t.

without excuse

We have no excuse 

We have truthful reasons, but we don’t have responsibility-avoiding excuses. The truth is, we all have the opportunity to know God. Even those who haven’t received God’s word in their language have the chance to know Him. Creation makes God and His right ways clearly known to all people. Without access to the Bible, we’re left with questions, but all of creation makes it possible to know our Maker and His nature. “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

What does that have to do with me and getting out of a traffic ticket or paying a bill late or snapping at my neighbor? When it comes to doing wrong and covering it, we have no excuse.  If it was legitimately the fruit of ignorance, we wouldn’t try to cover it up. We would confess it and make it right once we recognized our wrong. We know what’s right.

God knows we are weak, we fail, and we are hopelessly lost in our sinful condition. There’s no excuse for ignoring the presence of God who is good and clean and majestic, who wants to know us and be known.

  • Facing up to our ugly condition compared to God’s majestic person leads us to want to know Him.
  • Making excuses prolongs life without God or makes us live distant from Him.

Still to come this month, we’ll find out what God’s word tells us to do in place of making up excuses. There is an alternative. Excuses can be hurtful, and there’s an answer to our nagging habit of making excuses.  To begin with, God has given us all of creation to declare our Maker who wants to know us and cover over our weaknesses, blunders, and offenses for us.

God knows we have no excuse. Still, He waits for us and longs for us and provides a way for us to come to Him … without excuse.

no excuse

By Julie Sanders