No More Excuses

I have to admit that I am not a believer in New Year’s resolutions.  I figure if I didn’t have the ambition to do it in July, I won’t have the ambition to do it in January; besides I have so much life change that happens in my life on an almost monthly basis, that I don’t ever feel the need to change with any kind of deliberation.  Does this sound like an excuse?  Well, it is.  Believe me I have a quite a list of excuses that I have collected and added to.  All of them have validity, and some I am more adamant about than others.  I especially like the excuse “I am a creative person.  Creative people don’t think like that.”  Well, my excuse list is expiring and this girl is learning to change.

There was this “nudging” from my husband….well okay, sixteen years of pleading, for me to become more organized.    I usually met his pleadings with “You knew I was like this when you married me.  It isn’t even in my genetic make-up.”  (Excuses #27 and #32 respectively).

I’ve made several attempts at organization and honestly, I have made huge strides, but not at a consistent tempo.  Four children, one dog, and 12 or so moves later, I realized that we need a consistent tempo of order and cleanliness, and somehow I am supposed to be the one to lead it.

Coinciding with this pleading, has been a conviction from the Holy Spirit as He has been dealing with my heart in the areas of home management.  My personality, and make-up could no longer be my excuses for my lack of change, because I am supposed to be able to “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  But of course, I only want to be strengthened to do the things that I like. 🙂  So, realizing my need for some instruction in this area of life, I began talking to friends and asking for input.  I needed ideas, systems, help, and even someone to come help me tackle the hard things.

So, I began with a small plan.  Once a week, on Fridays, a friend and I would take an hour for each person’s home and help the other tackle a project that had gone undone and needed attention.  We gave each other permission to not like the other’s ideas, to try them out and change them if we needed to, and to speak honestly to one another in the process.  So the first Friday was at my home and we tackled my counter-top clutter.  For an hour or so we asked questions like:  “Could this item live anywhere else in the house?”  “Is this something you need to access often?”  “How badly would you miss this if it disappeared?”  With laughing, talking, and a furrowed brow here and there, we finished the project with ideas and a plan for purchasing tools to keep that area more organized.  The following Friday we spent at her house organizing her pantry and making better use of some kitchen cupboard space.   It has made me look forward to Fridays and tackling the projects I hate most.

While I was putting together this plan with my friend, another friend gave me a book to read that she claimed changed her life.  Her testimony was that she was not a “born organizer” either, and that she learned about this book from her mom who had read it and it had changed her life.  Well my interest was piqued.  She gave me a copy to read and that’s when this change thing really took off.  The book is called “Sidetracked Home Executives“, and was written in 1977.  I had never heard of it, but of course, I’m an artist and I don’t read books like that. 😉  It was written for people like me, by people like me and I could identify with every story.   The book came with instructions for a system that would keep me and my children on a steady course of organization that even I, an artistic, right-brained individual can manage.

Terrified, I struck out on this new venture, almost certain I would fail.  (I’m not a real optimist when it comes to organization), but nevertheless, I was determined to try.  All I can say is that after the first week of implementing the things I learned, my husband sat on the couch and said this to me:  “Cate, do you remember when you got saved?  I was only four at the time, and even though I didn’t live a life of deep sin in those first four years, I felt like a huge weight had lifted from off of my shoulders.  I remember how it felt.  I have to say that after this one week of your organizing and managing our home, I feel like I’ve just been “saved” all over again!”  Well, that was convincing enough for me.

The changes I was making were worth every minute, and even my son said to me:  “Mom, this is great.  Now we know what you are expecting from us and we’ll get grounded a lot less.”  That was some logic I had never connected, but caused me to reflect.  Yes, I have gone days ignoring home duties in order to finish projects, only to burst from my room yelling at the family to clean the house and get it done quickly, because I couldn’t handle the clutter.  The day would usually be fraught with tears, melt-downs and hurt feelings, and end with me spending hours doing most of the housework, because everyone knows that “It’s easier to do things yourself.” (Excuse #33).  That was all changing.

The truth is I like excuses.  Growth is painful, change is scary, and I am prone to fail.  I don’t like change, but I can’t stay the same.  I am on a journey of life that will change me physically, and emotionally whether or not I like it, and though I can’ t control all of life’s changes, I can, with the help of the Holy Spirit in my life, learn to manage my actions and reactions, and allow my creativity and personality to grow in new territory.  And so it is…..I am changing.  I am growing.  I AM ORGANIZING!!!!

P.S.  I highly recommend this book for all of you who just weren’t “born organizers”. 🙂  Order it from Amazon by clicking here.

So here is a list of my excuses that I use now to motivate me to change.  Some I borrowed from the book I am recommending, with my own personal additions:

  1. I don’t have enough money
  2. It’s too hot
  3. It’s too cold
  4. I’m not in the mood
  5. I’ve got too many kids
  6. My husband is working away
  7. I’ve got cramps
  8. My house is too small
  9. My house is too big
  10. We just moved in
  11. We just got back from vacation
  12. I don’t have enough time
  13. We’re remodeling
  14. Nobody cooperates with me
  15. I’d rather play solitaire
  16. I’d rather be on Facebook
  17. I don’t want to do it
  18. I’m too intelligent for such remedial work
  19. My mother didn’t teach me
  20. I hate housework
  21. Nobody appreciates it anyway
  22. Creative people are messy
  23. I’m on the rag
  24. I’ll start tomorrow
  25. I was up all night
  26. It’s the flu season
  27. It’s not in my genetic make-up
  28. I have too many interruptions
  29. I’m just too busy
  30. I don’t know how to
  31. It’s just too hard
  32. I was like this when you married me
  33. It’s easier to do it myself
  34. ………………………………………………

Feel free to add your own!

5 thoughts on “No More Excuses

  1. Thanks for sharing Cate! You will look back on this and thank the Lord for a new path, the lessons you are now teaching your children are priceless.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Cate. You’ve inspired me to tackle areas of neglect, for which I have plenty of excuses. 😉

  3. Cate, ‘Flylady’ to the rescue of the rest of your not born organized clutter free days! Check out and have your lists made for you and delivered to your inbox. So exciting to hear of you Holy Spirit led change.
    Praying for you girl, hugs, Shelly

    1. You are welcome! Love you back!
      The kids and I are heading to YWAM Salem on Feb 20 to volunteer on the base and wait for my grandson to be born (Kendra is due on Feb 29). We are very excited about the opportunity to serve while we are on the base!
      Oh, you gotta love educating the kids yourself! 🙂

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