May 16, 2013

More Alike Than Different (Stop Making Excuses)

As a pastor's wife, I get to interact with a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds and in a variety of life stages. Because of this, I'm learning a lot about people. And this is what I'm seeing: Most people think they're different from other people, that they are the only ones who have experienced a certain life situation or the only ones who struggle with a specific sin. 

And it seems to me that people who think they are more different from others than alike attribute their differences to circumstances, and they use these circumstances as excuses.

Those people are connected because they live in that certain place. 
That person is ________ so she wouldn't understand why I am _________.
That person has so many friends because her husband is more social than mine. 
If I went to that church that provides more programs and opportunities, I'd have community. 
My work hours prevent me from serving or being in relationships. 
I couldn't hang out with that single person because I have kids.

It's like life just happens to them. Or they're waiting for someone to make their dreams come true.

But here's what I'm also seeing: No matter where they come from or what they do, people have more things in common than they have differences. Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone wants to belong. Everyone has hard things to deal with. Everyone wants to matter.
And the people who choose to find commonalities and choose to direct their lives recognize that there is plenty of community and love to be had no matter what their circumstances are. That they can't use circumstances as excuses.

I'm making mental notes here because, in the process of observing other people, I'm learning a whole bunch of things about myself. I'm realizing that if I'm feeling a certain way there are probably lots of other women who feel the same. I'm realizing that the things I struggle with are probably the struggles of tons of other women. The connection that I want is what the women around me want, so why not go for it?

The excuses I make when I am a victim of my circumstances are just that--excuses. I don't have to walk around like I'm alone and unloved because the truth is that I'm not. I can boss my life around and be purposeful about creating community and friendship and health and rest and opportunities for receiving and giving grace. Because when it comes down to it, I can choose to create for myself what I most want.

Questions for you: Do you choose your life or do you just let it happen to you? What are you making excuses for?