We all have them. A favorite method of escape or a prized excuse. Anything that helps us run away. Anything that gives a valid defense for not taking action.
When I want to escape, I run. I spend hours online doing “research” for the perfect vacation getaway. I look for the perfect mountain cabin, in hopes of seeing crimson, gold and rust colored leaves. It’s a place where I can have some “down” time to stop rushing and hurrying. I bury my head dreaming, instead of working on a plan to find the dreams of my heart.
Escape often comes in the form of a marathon session of Netflix, watching season one through twenty of my favorite television show. The important detective work of the Behavioral Analysis Unit from Criminal Minds can captivate me for days on end. I look forward to coming home from a long day at work and letting my brain vegetate. I run away by couch sitting in front of the TV, instead of running to try new and different things to determine my specific purpose from God.
But what am I really running from? Hmmm, I have to dig a little deeper to figure out this answer.
The obvious answer is failure. What if I crash and burn? What if I determine what my God-given purpose is in this life, and I fail? Won’t God be disappointed? I would rather run from an epic fail, than be a let down to my God. I convince myself that I can never succeed, so I don’t even try. That in itself is failure.
What I’ve also realized is that I run from success. What if I figure out the One Thing, the specific purpose God has put me on this earth for, and I succeed? I fear that it won’t be long before people will find out I’m a fraud, an imposter, a one hit wonder. After all, I don’t have the skills and abilities it takes to really succeed, do I?
When I’m not running from failure or success, I have a great excuse for not walking in my purpose: I have no time. You see, it takes time to do what the Lord has called you and I to do. I will need to wait until I’m retired to have the time I need to do His work.
No time, Ellen? What about those hours spent running? Looking for a vacation cabin or watching hours of tv? Ellen, what about Facebook? You hop online for “just a second” and the next thing you know, it’s an hour later. No time…really?
Escapes and excuses: these two things potentially block me from finding my life’s purpose.
The Contemporary English Version of Ephesians 5:15-17 lays it on the line, with no sugar coating:
“Act like people with good sense and not like fools. These are evil times, so make every minute count. Don’t be stupid. Instead, find out what the Lord wants you to do.”
Ouch! Times a wastin’, don’t act like an idiot. FIND OUT WHAT THE LORD WANTS YOU TO DO. Then…do it!
So….What’s next? What steps can I take to run from my escapes and excuses and toward God’s purpose for me? I can heed this wise advice from Elisabeth Elliott: Do the next thing.
If we’re not sure of our divine purpose, we can be faithful and active to do the part we know. We must continue to minister and serve wherever we can meet needs. No more excuses. No more escapes. No more running.
How about you? What is your favorite method of escape or prized excuse? If you are comfortable, share in the comments. I’d love for us to encourage one another and pray for each other.
Grace be with you,
Oh dear! This was just for me! And I needed to hear the advice to do the next thing… God doesn’t give us the whole plan perfectly mapped out from beginning to end because I am pretty certain I couldn’t handle seeing it all there in front of me. All I can do or handle is the next thing, for this day, this moment! Thanks Ellen, I’m off to go do what I know is right to do!! XO
Oh, sweet Liz, I hear ya! I don’t think I could handle seeing His full plan all mapped out either! It would “skeer” me so much!! 🙂 But taking that next step forward helps give us that bit of momentum we need! Thanks for stopping by!
Excuse? The same as yours….no time. Escape? Also the same as yours! Looking for dream vacation spots for the next grand adventure. But you are SO right – just doing the next thing brings with it a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling that says, “With God, I can do this!” Thanks Ellen. Now, off to do that next thing!
Kristine, I am so glad I’m not alone in this! And you need to share any exciting vacation escapes you find, please!!
Ellen- great post!
I spend so much time doubting if I heard God right, or I get paralyzed in just being overwhelmed of all I need to do. The kicker is when I sit down and do it, it doesn’t take as much time as I thought.
I just need to “do the next thing,” taking baby steps and walk in faith, not doubt!
Your #TestimonyTuesday neighbor,
Amen, Julie! Those baby steps and faith walks will give us motivation to move forward in what God has called us to do! So glad you visited today!
It’s so easy to get distracted with thinking/worrying about the bigger picture… Thanks for the reminder to just focus on the what He’s prompting us to do at the moment. “Doing the next thing” isn’t near as intimidating a task and is totally doable!!!
You preach truth, Deb!