Those words share several letters but are vastly different in how they can affect our lives.
We hear excuses every day: “It’s not my fault.” “He made me do it.” “Stupid car.” “The other driver caused it.” “Don’t blame me!”
People have been making excuses since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve were the first to craft an excuse.
Probably the most surprising was that Adam blamed God. Yes, he blamed God for giving him “the woman” and she lured him into disobeying. He wouldn’t admit his part in their failing.
And Eve blamed the serpent. It’s true that the serpent worked on the woman’s desires to make that fruit enticing, but it was Eve who ate it.
All too often, excuses become a habit we fall back on instead of actually doing something.
From the time we’re born, we don’t want to take the blame for anything, even if we did it. Anyone who has or had more than one child knows how they can blame each other whenever something spills or gets broken.
My own husband offered excuses one Valentine’s Day. Money was tight, so we had agreed to not buy cards, candy, or gifts. I followed through with the agreement and made him a card on the computer. But when I got home from work, I found candy, flowers, and a card on the dining room table.
I was livid and yelled at him. “I thought we agreed not to spend money for Valentine’s Day this year!”
Then he started the excuses: “But I went to the grocery store and these were right inside the front door. Besides, they were on sale, so I didn’t spend that much.”
Those excuses did little to help me believe that my husband would be true to his word. I translated them to mean, “I did it because it was convenient and cheap.” The same could be said for so many other infidelities.
My son was a master at excuses. Nothing was ever his fault. He tried to explain away his school absences and the resulting low grades. When I told him I wouldn’t pay for college since he wouldn’t go to free high school classes, he found another excuse for not doing what was expected. His mom didn’t believe in him, so he didn’t need to believe in himself.
Maybe, instead of excuses, we need to focus on successes. Not what we didn’t do or did wrong but what we did right, what we accomplished.
My husband learned to stick with our agreements and not come up with “reasons” for not doing what I expected. And I felt more secure in our marriage.
After several years of pushing my son to get serious about school, he finally gave up the excuses. He completed his last high school class at the age of 24 and started college, which he completed on his own, with tuition reimbursement from his employer.
So now, instead of explaining why he didn’t finish high school, he has a college degree in his pocket and the confidence of an education to help him in life. By doing something and succeeding instead of simply explaining away his lack of education, he turned his life around.
We have a choice that will affect our lives. We can sit on our duffs, doing nothing and make excuses for life passing us by. OR we can do something and celebrate our successes. It’s up to us, so let’s get up and get going.
Success is waiting for us. Let’s celebrate it!