Category Archives: Excuses

Don’t Let Fear Kill Your Dream

“Fear prohibits great ideas from happening.” – @JeffGoins

I wonder…

how many great ideas never took flight…

how many dreams never became reality…

how many inspiring acts of heroism have been quenched…

NOT from lack of money, encouragement, resources, time, or talent,

but, BECAUSE OF FEAR.

We fear failure. We fear other people’s opinions. We fear leaving a more controlled life. We fear not being skilled or extraordinary enough.  We fear the unknown of launching into something that is larger than ourselves.

For whatever reason, we take our dreams, the ideas we are most passionate about, and we push them aside in order to fit into a more “normal” version of reality. Fear binds us from taking great leaps of faith.

I’ll be honest. Fear binds me now. I have a dream, but I’m just not sure it will take off.  We’ll see if it ever transforms from a “great idea” to reality.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. —  2 Timothy 1:7

What dreams are you letting be pushed aside by fear?

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Filed under Excuses, making a difference, quotes, Scripture, Serving Others

Are You Called?

I subscribe to a newsletter from the Daily Good. Each day, they’ll send a quote and an inspirational story. For the most part, it’s pretty good stuff. Today, the quote resonated with me.

Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.

Augustine of Hippo

Pay attention to what Augustine is saying here. We can’t help everyone. Most of us know that. We have limitations like money and time. We’d love to help, but it’s just not possible. But here’s where Augustine differs from our normal thinking.

He’s saying, we may not be able to help everyone, but there are people specifically designed for us to help. And they aren’t hidden.

They are right in front of us.

For whatever reason, we like to complicate things. We make loving others more difficult than it should be in a variety different ways. But the one I’ve been thinking about lately has been “the calling”. Normally, this calling is thought to be accompanied by a “sign” or “feeling”. I want to be careful, because I think we can be called to do certain things, but hear me out.

I’ve told this story before, but when I was in college there were many times I didn’t exactly want to go to class. I’d get in my car and brainstorm plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t go. I would go so far as to search for a sign not to go. I’d say to myself, “If I get stopped by a red light, that’s it” or “If I circle the lot twice and there’s not spots, I’m gone.” Of course, the lights would be green and there would always end up being a great spot! I’d know the right thing to do, but I would search for a reason not to do it.

Unknowingly, I think we do this same thing when it comes to laying down our lives for others. We want to have a holy heart attack when we see someone or get that really big gut feeling or have something miraculous happen to confirm that we should indeed help them. Again, I’m not saying there aren’t times people are called, but I think there should be a better way of determining to help someone lest we get our signals mixed up with indigestion.

The awareness of a need and the capacity to meet that need: This constitutes a call.

John R. Mott

There is some wisdom to what Mott says there. Obviously, we can not help everyone. However, there are needs that are placed in our lives on a daily basis that we may overlook or leave for someone else. Sometimes God calls people to be the answer to a prayer.

How intentional are you about listening for needs?

Do you find yourself waiting for that calling when maybe it’s right there in front of you?

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Filed under Challenges, Excuses, making a difference, Realizations, Serving Others, Uncategorized, Websites

Why I’ve Been Gone

This has been my longest days between posts since the blog started. Sorry about that. From now on, there shouldn’t be more than 2 days between posts. Here’s the reason for my delay!

Would you really want to blog when you could be holding him???

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Filed under Excuses

Five Rules for Being a Hero

I have certain weird fascinations that no normal guy should have. I like going to the hospital and eating in the cafeteria, I look forward to watching romcoms with my wife, I’ve watched a show on the CW and liked it, and going to the library makes it a good day.

Today is a good day. Several checked out books and an hour later, I arrived home from the library pumped over the new material to read. It did not disappoint. The first book I started reading was Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki. It’s well worth the time spent already, but my favorite part of it so far was just him quoting another author. He quotes these guys who wrote a book on heroism. Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo give five rules of heroism. Very cool stuff and here they are with my commentary attached. Think about these within a Becoming Last/Christian context.

  1. Maintain constant vigilance for situations that require heroic action – I love this one. Christians typically live very placid lives. For the most part, we just go about living until something comes up or until something offends us. What if we lived lives of constant vigilance? What if we diligently sought after ways to love, serve, and help people? We don’t need to develop a hero complex, but Christ came healing, serving, and sacrificing. If we’re to be Christ-like, I think this is a point to consider.
  2. Learn not to fear conflict because you took a stand – I hate conflict so I avoid it as much as possible. But there comes a time when one must make a stand or your beliefs aren’t worth much. We should not seek out conflict, but there may come times when we must not afraid to stand for something. Whether this be in a friendship, an ethical dilemma at work, or a political/religious issue, know there will inevitably be conflict. However, please be wary that our conflicts are not due to the way we act rather than the issue itself.
  3. Imagine alternative future scenarios beyond the present moment – Think eternally. We get so caught up in the now that we lose sight of proper perspective. This goes back to rule number one. We have so many things consuming our lives that it makes it impossible to maintain vigilance. As you make decisions about how you spend your time and your money, how you deal with conflict, or any other dilemma, remember to keep an eternal perspective.
  4. Resist the urge to rationalize and justify inaction – Think of any New Year’s Resolution you’ve made. Maybe it’s eating better. You start off strong. Then, you hit a week where you are struggling. You begin making excuses. “Well, I’ll just break it tonight.” “I had one last night. I’ll just start back next week.” “Yikes. I gained some weight. Maybe I’m not good at this. I’ll wait until a better time.” Instead of looking for reasons not to take action, make an effort to look for reasons to take action. Take some risks. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of failure. Let’s stop being chained by our excuses and experience the freedom in serving and giving love to people unconditionally.
  5. Trust that people will appreciate heroic (and frequently unpopular) actions – This one I have a little harder time with. In the context of a business, this book is a business book, it makes sense. In Becoming Last, I’m not sure. We definitely don’t need to be bound by people’s opinions. However, some folks thrive on that. They think their heroic simply because the majority disagrees with them. My thought is: Live for an audience of One. That one being God, not yourself.  It’s such an easy thing to say, “Oh yeah, I live for God.” But, do we really? Spend some time in serious thought/prayer, read Scripture, and see if your life matches what God calls us to. I’m not saying it won’t. Just don’t assume it does.

I found these guys to be extremely insightful. They may not have spoken in a Christian context, but we could certainly learn from them.

So what do you think? Like their five rules? Would you add others?

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Filed under Books, christian, Excuses, purpose, Realizations

Attitude Schmatitude – Day 17

This morning, I was reflecting on Becoming Last with my attitude. How do I respond to certain situations or people? Perhaps I’m a bit of an idealist, but I believe attitudes are contagious. Check out Philippians 2:14-15.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”

That verse directly correlates my attitude with my witness. Experience proves that true too. Who really wants to follow a God whose people bicker, complain, gossip, and argue? I’m not saying that’s the way people think of Christians. I’m just saying I want to lay my attitude at Christ’s feet. And really, isn’t that an offshoot of becoming a Christian? Look at it this way. We accept Christ. We become Christ followers. We say, “God, here is my life. I’m here to serve. Here is everything.” When we’ve given Him everything, we have nothing left to complain and argue about! I think so much of my time is spent complaining or arguing or being frustrated over my rights or the way I feel I should be treated. It’s very freeing to say, “You know what? Treat me how you want. My identity, my purpose, my dignity is not found in you or how you treat me. It’s found in God.”

So anyway, those were some of my thoughts from this morning. Here’s a couple of ways I can begin applying this (I find if I don’t think of ways to apply, my thoughts never make into action. I would completely encourage you to always think through how you can put thoughts into action).

  1. Forgive Freely and Wholly – I’m very good at offering partial forgiveness. I forgive someone, but yet they still have to work to get in my good graces. That’s not forgiveness. That’s terrible. I want to forgive with abandon.
  2. Be a “Yes” Man – I want to practice saying yes more quickly when asked to help out with something, especially mundane things. For example, if my wife asks me to help with the dishes I want to jump at the opportunity. I’m very good at doing it, but making it indirectly clear that I’m really sacrificing to help. Pathetic, I know. I want to serve with abandon.
  3. Patience with Customer Service – I think this one is fairly obvious. I just want to empathize with anyone I come into contact with. Maybe they are slow. Maybe they are rude. That gives me no right to be angry. Love is unconditional.
  4. Practice Positive Gossip – How often do I complain about things to my friends and family? How often do I listen to complaining? Instead, I want to practice praising people when they do a good job. Brag on them behind their back.

I’m never going to be perfect in this life. I don’t even want to pretend to be close. I hope you find my openness refreshing, rather than condemning. I just want to be honest with the fact that I’m a work in progress and that I long for my life to be given fully to God in the pursuit of others. I want to love Him and others completely. If I’m called to be Christ’s ambassador, as it says in 2 Corinthians, then I want to be the best ambassador possible.

What does Becoming Last look like to you today?

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Filed under Chances to Serve, Excuses, General Update, Realizations, Scripture

Becoming Last – Day 8 – What Stops Us?

Really. Ask yourself that question? I’m beginning to ask myself this question all the time now: What stops me from making an impact, taking a risk, serving with everything I have? And the answer is really simple 99% of the time: me.

Maybe I’m becoming an idealist, a dreamer, but have we forgotten what it’s like to dream? Have we forgotten what it’s like to think large? It’s almost like we’ve developed this system of life that stimulates maintenance. We don’t take too many risks anymore. We’re not willing to put our lives on the line.

Think about it this way: My wife and I just found out we’re pregnant. Before we got pregnant with our first child we told everyone the standard line, “it’s not our time”. Honestly, a perfectly good reason, but when you dig deeper it just means, “I don’t want to have a kid now.” At least, that’s what it meant for me. The reasons could include one or all of the following: don’t have enough money, we’re in school, we don’t have enough time as it, or wewant to be older.

The point is not we should all be having babies. The point is many people could decide to try if they wanted to, but they aren’t ready. They don’t want to have one now and that’s fine.

 But, here’s where it relates back to Becoming Last. We, definitely me, do the same thing with serving God. We’re either so caught up in our lives that we don’t notice the needs of people around us or we create these excuses as to why we can’t. I’m too young so I’ll wait until college. I’m in school. I’ve got a busy job. We have a new baby. Our kids are playing sports so we don’t have a lot of time. We’re in retirement, now it’s our time to have fun.

Do you see my point? Any stage of our life gives us an opportunity to look the other way when God calls for someone to serve. When it comes right down to it, when the intentions of my heart are laid bare, the only thing that keeps me from serving is: Me.

How will you use the weekend to Become Last?

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Filed under Excuses

Becoming Last – Day 1 – 7:15am

Realization #1 – Excuses are lame.

Everyone knows all the jokes about excuses. Here’s one to get you started…Excuses are like arm pits, everyone’s got them and they all stink. Seriously though. Excuses are lame. My main excuse for not being able to spend as much time in prayer as I’d like…wait for it…here it comes…lame excuse…”I don’t have enough time”. As if that one isn’t overplayed.

It’s lame for me because I just found 15 minutes this morning that I’ve never used. Three mornings a week, I work way early. My routine consists of showering, checking random internet stuff (Facebook, fantasy sports, weather, scores, news), and walking to work.

I’m still going to shower, but I spend about 15 minutes just killing time each morning. I admit. I’m internet obsessed. I refresh pages constantly hoping they are updated. Then I refresh again. But here’s the rub…

I have a job that lets me on the internet at work!!! If I just waited 30 minutes I could do all the refreshing my internet obsessive heart desires as I welcome people to work out. This is a beauty of a discovery for me. It’s my first chance to give my time to something besides my incessant desire for internet satisfaction.

My goal is to use that time praying each day. Now, think about this over a year. 15 minutes  x 156  days (that’s about how many days I get up that early) = 2,340 minutes. Otherwise known as 39 hours! That’s 39 hours to be praying for people in my life. Thank God He challenged me to this. He’s already bringing some change.

Of course, now is the doing part. Tuesday will be the first test so we’ll see. If I fail, I fail. I’ll try again. But right now I’m excited about the possibility of seeing what God will do in those 15 minutes each morning.

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Filed under Excuses, Prayer, Realizations, Time