Excuses are present in all of our lives. In fact, making excuses has become so common to everyday life that it’s almost routine.

When we experience trials in life—especially early in life—they begin to shape our mindsets. They start to set the tone for who we are and why we do what we do. Used rightly, we can grow through these hardships and use our story to help and inspire others. Used wrongly, we can turn our hardships into an excuse not to grow.If only we hadn’t had such a bad childhood—a mean teacher, a slave-driving boss, a cold-hearted spouse—then we would be so much farther along in life.

The Wrong Reasons

One of the greatest leaders in the Bible started out with the wrong attitude.

Moses had a confidence problem. When God came to him and asked him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses immediately made excuses: “I’m not good enough. The people won’t believe me. I’m not a good speaker. They won’t listen to me.” Even after God gave him the ability to do miraculous signs, he kept making excuses.

God’s response to Moses’ excuses was simple: “I AM.”

I am what? Moses probably thought. It almost seems like an incomplete thought. God left it that way on purpose. Moses had to fill in the blank: “I am … whatever you need. I am your peace if you need it. I am your strength if you need it. I am your provider if you need it.”

Bigger Promises

The same promise is still available to us today. For every step of faith I have ever taken there have been a dozen good excuses for not doing so.

You have to be the one to eliminate your excuses. The amazing thing is that once Moses quit making excuses, God started eliminating his problems. When Moses made the decision to go back to Pharaoh, God had Moses’ brother Aaron, meet him on the way to help him speak. Aaron also made the Hebrew people believers (Exodus 4:27–31).

One of the best ways to quit making excuses is to take action. “I AM” took on new meaning to Moses when he stood in front of Pharaoh and the Hebrew people. This is when he needed God to come through for him—and He did. God still makes His promises available to us, but they’re useless until we act on them.

I once heard about a very old woman who died alone in her house. When city officials found her, they contacted her only son and told him that his mother died of starvation.

“That’s impossible!” the son said. “I’ve been sending her money every week for months.”

But when he arrived at her home to collect her belongings, he noticed that all of the money orders he’d been sending were pinned up on the walls. His mother never realized what they were. She didn’t understand how to use them. She thought they were just nice cards from her son.

We also are headed for trouble when we fail to use God’s promises.

Promises in Action

God did not give us His promises to put on our desks, our shirts, our car bumper, or the wall. He gave them to us to act on, to cash in, to prove. In fact, He doesn’t call us to do anything without sending His provision to do it. Where He guides, He provides.

It’s still our choice whether we change or not. We can stay in the same place blaming everyone else for the conditions we’re in, or take responsibility for our actions and move ahead.

God’s gift to us is our life. Our gift to Him is what we do with it.

I live by the motto that if you do what you can with what you have, where you are, God will not leave you where you are, and He will increase what you have. I have seen this work for people who started with nothing and who started late in life. With anything in life, if it’s not important to you, you will find an excuse not to do it. But if it is important to you, you will find a way to make it happen!

If we’re ever going to experience real life change, we have to lose the excuses. When we honestly evaluate ourselves, we expose our vulnerability. It’s only by telling yourself the truth that you can discover what’s been keeping you from reaching your full potential. Excuses don’t strengthen your life—they weaken it.

Make them a thing of your past—no excuses.