Take Up Your Mat and Walk



Recently I came to the conclusion that it was time to stop making excuses in my life. It seems that I have kept a dozen or more excuses stored in my back pocket, just waiting to be summoned and put to use when needed.


Motherhood. I could stop with that excuse, as could many of us. Then there is owning a small business. Trying to keep up with the house, the dogs, the emails, the invites to birthday parties and baby showers, to name a few more.


It's not that any of those are not valid, because they are. A person only has so many hours in a day, and only so much energy to give. As legitimate as the excuses are, they were also hindering my ability to live fully into the calling God had on my life. To my pursuing the dreams I wish to see fulfilled.


The realization of this truth occurred during a car-ride conversation with my husband. It's a place where revelations often happen because we are in the same place at the same time, and we are able to engage in undistracted conversation. I was venting (aka, listing my excuses) as to why I wasn't meeting personal goals for myself. About why I was wallowing in my own feelings of being overwhelmed and stuck.


My husband looked at me and spoke truth in love. It was timely and convicting, and one that I desperately needed to hear.


"There will always be an excuse if you're looking for one. Our lives are not any harder than anyone else's. Everyone has hard things they face in life."


Ouch. But I knew what he spoke was true.


I have known truth to be an ally and a friend if I am willing to let it do its work. It was time to stop making excuses.


It’s not that my life is any more challenging than anyone else’s. That just isn’t true. Heartbreak, loss, tragedy and grief are universal and understood by all. No one gets out of this life without experiencing some kind of loss that hurts beyond what one feels capable of bearing.


It’s not that I am any busier than anyone else. Everyone is given 24 hrs in a day. It’s just that sometimes I know I don’t manage my time well. Fail to prioritize appropriately. Try to make time for what is important to me.


It’s not that anyone else is more motivated or more creatively inspired or has a stronger will power than I do. They don’t. No one wakes up every morning ready to conquer the world. They just discipline their negative thoughts to take a back seat, and they do the hard thing anyway.


It’s not that she or he has an inside track with Jesus. It might just be that they spend way more time with Him. That they have chosen to prioritize that time in their day to day life. After all, who you spend time with, you tend to become more like.


Accepting these challenging truths is where freedom is found. In my husband's wise words, I was reminded I am the one holding the keys to my own freedom.


In the Book of John 5:1-9, there is a story of a paralyzed man who has been laying on his mat his whole life. When Jesus approached him, He asked him if he wanted to get well. At first glance, this feels kind of cruel.

Yet the man doesn’t reply with a screaming YES. Instead he offers up his list of excuses to Jesus about why he continues to lay there. Ironically, the man does not know the One who holds all healing and power is standing before him. Even so, Jesus tells him to take up his mat and walk. And he does. Because he is healed. Because he has been freed from his excuses.


I think that’s the invitation to me, too. If I am not careful, I can find myself laying on my own mat, tending to my list of reasons and excuses about why I am not moving forward in life.


The message from Jesus for me is to take up the mat of my excuses. Carry it. Drag it if I have to, but get up and walk. Walk to freedom.


I have been given the power through Jesus to do just that. It's time to take back the power ,and stop making excuses.


FOR FURTHER THOUGHT

Many times in my life, I have been confronted with a truth that is hard to hear at the time. Jesus is always so gracious and merciful in His timing and deliverance of the truth to my heart, though. He knows the very moment on the timeline of my life. Knows when the soil of my heart has been prepared enough to receive a truth that will set me free.


In John 8:31-32, it says this, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Truth is a liberating thing no matter how hard it can be to hear it at the time. This is especially the case when spoken to us by someone who loves us and has our best interest in mind. Who is speaking truth TO you? Who might need to hear truth FROM you?


PRAYER

Jesus, help me to be willing to look at the hard truths in my life. I want to be a person who abides in you, recognizes your voice and trusts that what you have for me is best. Help me to rise above my excuses and to walk in the freedom and power you died for me to have. Amen.



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