Excuses are a common fixture in the landscape of life. CareerBuilder released a list of the most unbelievable excuses bosses have heard from employees for why they couldn’t come to work. These are REAL excuses heard by their sample of 2,203 hiring managers and HR professionals:
10. Employee just put a casserole in the oven.
9. Employee’s plastic surgery for enhancement purposes needed some “tweaking” to get it just right.
8. Employee was sitting in the bathroom and her feet and legs fell asleep. When she stood up, she fell and broke her ankle.
7. Employee had been at the casino all weekend and still had money left to play with on Monday morning.
6. Employee woke up in a good mood and didn’t want to ruin it.
5. Employee had a “lucky night” and didn’t know where he was.
4. Employee got stuck in the blood pressure machine at the grocery store and couldn’t get out.
3. Employee had a gall stone they wanted to heal holistically.
2. Employee caught their uniform on fire by putting it in the microwave to dry.
1. Employee accidentally got on a plane.
Excuses come in all shapes and sizes, but they often scream the loudest when we start a new year, set a new goal, or envision a new dream. Perhaps they’re most common when God challenges us to do something brave, something selfless. Take Moses for example.
One day God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and called him to go back to Egypt to deliver the Hebrews out of slavery (Exodus 3:7-10). This is the same Moses who had already tried once (in his own wisdom) and failed miserably. His foolish attempt led him on a run for his life to the land of Midian.
I find it ironic that God would call Moses to do the very thing he failed at years earlier. Therein lies an important truth: Never underestimate God’s ability to call you past your past. Your past may be riddled with failures, disobedience, and regret, but God can call you past your past into a future full of divine purpose. Learn how to respond to regret.
Moses wasn’t so confident. In fact, after his burning bush encounter with God, Moses rolled out a list of five excuses to God for why this was a bad idea.
The Five Excuses That Paralyze Progress
Excuse #1: Insignificance: I’m Not Important Enough
Exodus 3:11 says, “But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (NLT). Moses was essentially saying, “God, I’m a nobody! Why would you pick me God? I’m not important enough. I’m insignificant. Pick somebody whose name is in the headlines.”
A couple of years ago Karen and I visited the Newseum in Washington D.C. The Newseum is a museum of the news, and features newsworthy stories of yesterday through the eyes of the media. Over 800 newspapers from every state in the U.S. submit the front page of their newspaper to the Newseum every day.
One of the most unique aspects of the Newseum is the News History Gallery. I remember walking through this gallery, which features more than 300 historic newspaper front pages from every imaginable news story you could think of: Presidential wins, World Series championships, major historical events… you name it, it’s there.
While the headlines were remarkable, I was nothing more than an observer from the newsstands of history. Thinking back to that experience, I’ve asked myself, “How many times do we do that in life?”
How many times do we read the headlines of the brave, but we never write our own? How many times do we read the news, but we never make news. Please hear what I’m NOT saying. I’m not talking about being famous, getting your name in lights, or seeing your face on the news. I’m not talking about how many followers you have on Twitter, how many views you have on YouTube, or whether or not you have a bestselling book.
I’m simply posing a question: How many times do we watch the brave without ever being brave, because we believe we’re not good enough? That’s the excuse that paralyzed Moses. He started there, but he didn’t stop there.
Excuse #2: Incompetence: I’d Don’t Know Enough
Exodus 3:13 says, “But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” (NLT).
Moses was saying, “God, I don’t know enough. I don’t have the spiritual knowledge that your people have. What if they ask me a question that I don’t have the answer to? God, I’m too incompetent for this task.”
Ever used that excuse? I have! My lack of knowledge has paralyzed progress and kept me from doing what I should have done.