When the first big snow hit Pennsylvania this winter, my son sent pictures of his three boys playing in piles of the white stuff. Huck, Landry, and little Mack couldn’t have been more delighted. If you’re going to live up north, snow activities should be a part of the winter adventures.

I noticed the bright red noses and the layers of clothes covering those little guys.

I was freezing just looking at the pictures.

I’ve now lived in Florida longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. Though I was raised in the Chicago area, where snow days were common and ice skating and sledding were integral parts of my life, warm is now my happy place.

Cold is just not my thing anymore.

Case in point. We were at a soccer game the other night, watching one of our grands play her heart out. It was damp, and the wind had picked up enough to cause it to go right through everything I wore right to my bones.

This is no exaggeration–I had on a sweater, three jackets, and was holding a blanket around me.

It was 55 degrees.

Granted I was coming down with a bit of a cold. The bleachers were metal, so if I’d chosen to sit, I’d have been cold on all fronts. And bottoms. So I stood.

Growing up, I skated on the pond across from our home for hours at a time. I taught myself turns and little jumps and never once considered the cold.

Spending extended time in the cold now gives me the chills.

I do heat and humidity really well.

I will still get cold. This may be Florida, the Sunshine State, but we have a very brief time in January where the cold and damp combine to make temperatures feel cooler than they are. If I intend to be outside, I need to deal with the weather.

No excuses.

Our pastor this past weekend made a powerful statement. “To be motivated to change anything in my life, the pain of not changing has to be greater than the pain of changing.”

I find myself in situations where I’ll choose to shirk responsibility with an excuse. Not wanting to do something, not feeling qualified to do it, or fearing failure are mere excuses. Often because I don’t want to go through the pain of changing me. Rather than try or trust God to do something new, I’ll come back with, “That’s not something I’m good at.”

We live in a world culture of excuses. People explaining away unmet responsibilities, not following through because something was harder than expected, not even trying because there’s a conviction that failure is inevitable.

Change doesn’t come easily. Truth is, we can’t completely change ourselves. We can improve, educate, challenge, and grow ourselves to a certain degree. The tough changes–developing better attitudes, ceasing from hurtful actions, caring more about others than ourselves–happens with the power of God.

Pain and growth come from admitting I can’t make those changes alone. Excuses shouldn’t excuse my behavior.

Growth is worth the pain and effort.

The cold?

I just need another coat. Not another excuse.

 

 

 

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