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,