Manning Up: No Excuses. (Part 1 of 3)


     I’ve been going through a lot of stressful circumstances this past year and it has been causing me to think about what it looks like to go from being a boy to being a man. I suppose I’ve just been feeling like I’ve had a good deal of responsibility suddenly placed upon me. I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, so I’ve decided that for the first time I shall do a series.  

     I’ve been musing about responsibility and excuses for quite some time now, I’ve just been having a hard time of putting it into a blog. Though I figured it was about time to take another go at it, seeing that it’s a topic I view as particularly relevant. Our culture is filled with 40-year-old boys and I am sick of it. I’ve grown weary of guys justifying their failures and giving me their lists of reasons why the rules don’t apply to them. Honestly, I’m tired of dodging responsibility and hiding behind excuses in my own life.

     Something that hit me recently is that no matter how great your excuses are for not succeeding at something, at the end of the day, all that remains is that you did not succeed. This occured to me after I did terribly on an Economics test. I had a list of what I considered to be valid reasons and circumstances as to why I did not succeed. If I had explained my circumstances to someone I could probably convince them that it wasn’t really my fault that I failed. But then it struck me that no matter how well I justified it to myself, the fact of the matter is that I still wound up with a 59%. My list of excuses simply will not change my grade.

     I’ve been coming to realize that there are two fundamental ways of looking at challenges. You can either see obstacles as an excuse for failure and a reason for not trying your best, or you can see them as opportunities that will make you into the person that God intended you to be. One of the fundamental differences between men and boys is that boys present excuses, but men present accomplishments.

     As a writer, one of my habits seems to be a tendency to sit back and observe people. I do this with strangers, friends, family, and anyone that strikes me as interesting. One of the things I’ve noticed is that some people have a pattern of failure and others have a pattern of success. So many of the men that I respect the most have a lifestyle of victory in common. They don’t complain, they just face what life throws at them, regardless of whether or not it is their fault.

     Unfortunately, these men are not the norm. I’ve come to find that we live in a culture of excuses and negativity. In other words: we live in a culture defined by 40-year-old boys instead of men. I am growing so weary of guys that dodge responsibility and that are content with mediocrity. It is too common to see guys refuse to give something their best effort because they know that it is difficult.

      I’ve noticed that every guy fancies himself the exception to the rules. It is not at all uncommon to see guys with a list of reaons why a particular Bible verse doesn’t apply to them, or how their actions were actually okay because of their unique circumstances. My mind turns to a friend of mine that has frequent academic struggles. He always has a list of reasons for why he didn’t pass his classes, numerous excuses like: “Well, that teacher hated me!”, or “That was just a hard time in my life.” etc, etc. Whereas, some of his excuses were indeed legitimate, the result is still the same: he did not pass.

     Just as an example: in that situation, a boy will roll over and give up because the teacher didn’t like him, but a man will be motivated to try harder to succeed even inspite of the teacher. A boy uses unfortunate circumstances to hide his failure. A man uses unfortunate circumstances to motivate him to work harder.

     I guess the point of this rant is just this: guys, it’s time to stand up and be men. Take responsibility with your jobs, with your relationships, with everything you set your hand to. Do not pass the blame to someone else. Do not try to dodge the consequences of your actions. Roll with the punches and deal with opposition, even when you don’t deserve it. Please understand I’m preaching at myself just as much as I am preaching at you, probably more so, in fact. I don’t mean to insult or attack you, but I do want to tell you to stop being boys. The world will not be changed by dudes. The world will be changed by men that are willing to take responsibility and do what it is that God has called them to do.

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About Jonathon Thigpen

I am a student, writer, photographer, traveler, teacher, and Lego enthusiast, who is endeavouring to be a man after God's own heart.
This entry was posted in Redemption and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Manning Up: No Excuses. (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Carson says:

    Well you’ve done it again my man, picqued that part of my heart that says, “Yes! That’s what I want!” And I could give you a whole list of excuses as to why I haven’t got it yet but like you say, that fact of the matter is I just haven’t got it yet.

    But I think another fact of the matter with this generation is that mentors–spiritual brothers and fathers–are seriously lacking, and for myself who has felt primarily shame and condemnation of my boyhood from my own father, I’ve felt the loss.
    So keep preaching! It needs to be heard in our nations, and it is the place of the men to step forward and bring the boys into manhood.

    • Haha Well, I’m glad you’ve got that desire, man! Just keep striving for it. I haven’t gotten it yet either.
      And you’re absolutely right about the lack of mentorship. In fact, you’ve just hit on the topic for part 3 of the series. :~)
      Thanks for reading!

  2. Annie says:

    “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…” II Peter 1:10

  3. Tim Mancuso says:

    Jonathan,
    Great piece here – thank you for posting. Boldness and Truth are lacking these days.
    Much appreciated!
    -Tim!

  4. Lolly Wally says:

    I completely agree with where you are going with this idea. We can’t look at our challenges and excuse ourselves from the responsibility to face them head on.
    I think that there is also a danger here of becoming self-dependent and/or self-defeating. By that I mean, when we rely on our successes for worth and when we discount the power of Christ in what we have achieved. We can, through a genuine desire to do better, become either enamored with our own success or pathetically depressed by our lack thereof. Forgetting that God gives us the power and opportunity to do these things and learn from our successes and failures. Praise Him for that!!
    You probably weren’t meaning to go quite this deep in a single blog post. All that to say, you made me think today, brother. Thank you!

    • Ah very good thoughts, Ms. Wally! That certainly is a danger. As with everything else, there is a balance that must be maintained. We do have to work, yes, but our dependance must not be on ourselves, it must be on Christ’s work in us. It’s like in Philippians how Paul says: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” There is a balance. We must work hard, yes, but we must never work alone. Thanks for reading and responding!

    • One way that I look at challenges and the way to live life is I ask myself “Am I putting myself in situations where my strength is not enough, where if God doesn’t help, I’ll drown?” It’s easy to keep coming up against little challenges and after accomplishing them to think I’m something. But when I’m truly living for God, I believe that I will be in situations where my strengths are weaknesses in light of the task before me and only God’s strength will get me through.

      2 Corinthians 12:9
      And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

      If God’s power truly is perfected in weakness, we ought to strive to do such work for the Kingdom that we are truly weak in comparison to the task we’ve been given and then, through faith, prayer, and acceptance, watch as God’s power is perfected in ways beyond what we plan (even including the failure of our own plans if they don’t ultimately fit in God’s plan – Proverbs 16:9)

  5. Pingback: Farewell to Wimpy Christianity. | Prospect of Redemption

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