“Excuses” – Workshop Transcript

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Before we get started, please consider visiting this link and printing

this diagram. It will help you make sense of our conversation.

Obie-host Welcome everyone!
I would like to introduce our speaker for this evening, Rich Dixon……
Rich is an author and speaker…..
he writes for CIR, has his own blog….
and has written a wonderful book…..
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
If you have not done so already….
please download and print out this diagram.
which will help you with this workshop….
We will give you a minute to do that…..

Let us open in prayer ……
Heavenly Father….
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to learn and share together…
we ask Your blessings upon Rich as he leads us….
fill him with Your Holy Spirit and anoint him as he speaks…..
Open our hearts and our minds to Your Truths….
that we may apply them to our lives….
that we may find hope and healing….
in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Rich will speak for several minutes and then we will open the floor to your questions for Rich….
And now, here is Rich Dixon!

Rich-speaker So–I hope everyone’s doing well tonight.
Good evening. It’s great to be here. I’m looking forward to a great discussion. I’m going to take a few minutes to “talk” and share some thoughts, but I hope we’ll have some good discussion. It might be a good idea to keep some paper handy to record thoughts, comments, or questions.
I’m a quadriplegic and I type pretty slowly, so I worked out most of this ahead of time so I could cut and paste. If I get going too fact, somebody “yell” at me to slow down.
So the title of our session tonight is “Excuses Or Reasons?” I believe I’m an expert on excuses—if they gave degrees, I’d be a PhD in excuse-making.
Any other creative excuse-creators out there?
ClaraT moi
dulcinea yes
andy @
Obie-host oh yes!
Samuel you bet!
Checksov yes
hindsfeetinjc yep

Rich-speaker My name’s Rich, and I’m a writer/motivational speaker (and a retired math teacher) from Fort Collins, Colorado. If you’re interested you can find out more about me at www.richdixon.net but here’s a quick cliff-notes version of my story.
In 1987, I fell from my roof while installing Christmas lights. One minute everything was going fine, then suddenly I was looking up at a paramedic.
After about four hours in the emergency room, they delivered the tough news that I’d shattered three vertebrae in my neck and damaged my spinal cord. I was paralyzed below my chest.
But the injury wasn’t my real problem—the trouble really started because of the way I reacted. I was angry. I resisted. I wanted everyone else to be as miserable as I was. I was mad because everyone seemed to just go on with life as if nothing had changed.
Life was over. I hated everything and everyone. I alienated and drove away my friends, my family, and nearly everyone close to me. And that was where I lived for—ten years! I drove everyone nuts with my excuses for why I could never get better. Sound familiar?

Obie-host nod
Samuel yes for sure
Rich-speaker So we all have that in common—we use excuses as a crutch. And I want to show you a tool I worked out to help me make fewer excuses.
Kathy indeed
Rich-speaker So to get started, please think of a task or obligation you might have in front of you. For my example I’m going to use something simple: a friend wants help with a computer issue. You pick something, and write it down.
Rich-speaker Got something?
Okay—now you face three questions. Question #1: Do I really WANT to do it?
It’s not “Am I afraid of hurting her feelings?” or “Am I supposed to want to do it?”
Do I—me, myself, in my own heart—do I want to do it? Yes or no.
BTW–This includes a task from a job I really want to keep. If the answer’s YES I move on.

julie do you continue with a task you don’t wnat to do?
Rich-speaker Nope–we’ll see that in a second, okay?Question #2: Am I ABLE to do it?
This means objective ability—am I capable of doing it? For example, I may desperately WANT to walk across the street, but I don’t have that capability because of paralysis.

Samuel !
Rich-speaker GA Samuel
Samuel would this include psychological paralysis, mental paralysis?
Rich-speaker Like–I just can’t face it?
Samuel yep
Rich-speaker That depends–if it’s a real psych. disability, then maybe…
Rich-speaker or perhaps it’s a fear I COULD face but don’t want to…
Rich-speaker does that help?

BAPearl !
Rich-speaker ga BA
BAPearl ty Rich
BAPearl How do you know when doing something is reasonable for you re time and if your motive is right vs guilt?
Rich-speaker Yeah–hang on to that one–we’ll get it in the next question, okay?
This one (#2) can be tricky, because we’re quick to substitute “I can’t” for “I don’t want to make the required sacrifices.” “I can’t” might mean “I can’t right now, but perhaps I could if I worked at it.”
Maybe I’m not sure if I know how to solve my friend’s computer issue. But if I WANT to do it, I’ll find out. That’s the “???” part of the diagram.
The “find out” stage might be a long, grueling delay while I develop necessary skills or accumulate required resources. If I’m not willing to do that work, I should revisit the first question. Maybe I don’t really want to do it.
Now–Question #3: Am I willing to do it?
Maybe I really want to help, and I know how to do what she needs. But I also know it’ll take a 3-4 hours. Am I WILLING to spend that time?

Here’s where we get in trouble. She’ll be hurt if I say, “I’m not willing to spend a whole afternoon working on your computer.” So I make an excuse. Sound familiar?
BobRush you bet.
Samuel yes
Rich-speaker What are some of the excuses I might use? Too busy. Don’t know how. My dog is sick.
iLOVEsoccer relates

Rich-speaker Here’s the point—if I truthfully answer YES to all three questions, then I do it, right? If all three answers are YES—I want to, I’m able to, and I’m willing to, then I can move forward and do the task. No explanation or justification required.
And if I get three “yes” answers and don’t do it, I need to go back. Either I don’t want to, can’t, or aren’t willing. Because why wouldn’t I do it?
So what happens when I encounter a NO? As I see it, there are three legitimate REASONS (not excuses) to decline a task or request.
Rich-speaker I don’t want to do it.
I don’t have the ability to do it. Or…
I’m not willing to do it.
These are legitimate reasons. That’s Outcome #2 in the diagram. But we don’t like these responses, right?
I don’t want to say, “I’m not willing to rearrange my schedule to help you.” So I claim I’m too busy. But guess what—we’re ALL busy. It’s an excuse.
I don’t want to admit that I’m too lazy to find out if I can fix her computer, so I just say, “I can’t.” Excuse.
I don’t want to risk losing my job because I want to stay home today, so I say I’m sick when I’m not. Excuse.
KEY POINT: Excuses are lies designed to fool myself or someone else. Even when the real reason isn’t very positive, it feels a lot better when I’m honest about the reason rather than offering an excuse that usually fools nobody—and never fools me.
Excuses are lies–agree?
dulcinea yes
iLOVEsoccer yes!
bj. yeah
andy Nods???
BAPearl yes
andy !
Jewls4380 yes
Samuel pretty much
Rich-speaker Here are some other examples: Excuse: I’d really like to study the bible more, but I don’t have time. Reason: I choose to watch too much television instead.
Excuse: I’d like to do morning devotions, but I need to get started on work. Reason: I choose to stay up late. It’s a higher priority than devotions. See the difference?
BobRush OK, now I get it
bj. yes

Rich-speaker THE BOTTOM LINE is that excuses are lies birthed by fear. We lie because we’re afraid to accept responsibility for our own desires, abilities, or priorities.
I’m afraid of hurting your feelings. I’m afraid of losing my job. I’m afraid of what you’ll think of me.
I’m convinced that fear is the most destructive force in our lives. Any time we give in to fear the enemy wins.
KEY POINT: That makes excuses a powerful tool in the enemy’s arsenal.
Facing the enemy, acknowledging the reasons, avoiding the excuses–those require the courage to confront our fears and refuse to allow them to control us.
Easy to say. Not so easy to do. Agree?
Kathy yup
dulcinea yes
hindsfeetinjc yes
julie right

Rich-speaker What’s a favorite excuse for you? What’s the true reason behind the excuse? What have I missed? Does the diagram make sense? What would you add? Questions–comments?
andy !
Rich-speaker ga andy
andy Iam a bit confused
Technically Iam parapalegic
BUT Osteo Pain makes me quad
there are times I set up to fix a computer
BUT body is in to much pain
that is a fact
but with out knowing my pain levels it could read as an excuse

Rich-speaker I get it–physically capable, but too painful–is that right?
andy stopped by pain
Rich-speaker So what if you just say, “It hurts too much.” …
That sounds legit to me. Make sense?
andy legit but feel bad

Jewls4380 I wanted to say most of the time, its fear of disappointing those who rely on my heavily
Rich-speaker Don’t feel bad if it’s honest–just don’t say “I can’t” b/c thay’s lying to yourself. And who cares about others?
Jewels …
I agree–and it’s that fear that we need to confront …
b/c a lie isn’t the right path.
Jewls4380 No..
I have been raised in a family of exceptional demands. Performance = loves. Anything short, is failure
Rich-speaker Yep–and so we get trained to lie–make excuses–r9ght?
Jewls4380 yes.. and its catching up to me. I can’t run the treadmill any faster
iLOVEsoccer (((Jewls4380)))
Rich-speaker So it takes a LOT of courage to be honest, right?
Jewls4380 yes, and face their scathing disappointment for not being there on demand. I don’t know what hurts worse
Rich-speaker I don’t know either–but we all know lying–excuses–hurts worse in the end.
And we’re not fooling anyone when we make an excuse–we’re just encouragibg hurtful behavior.

Rich-speaker GA sharon
SharonRB57 what if the truth is something I want to fix?
I want to do something
I can do it
but I’m not willing because I’m lazy or depressed
that’s honest
but it’s not where I want to be

Rich-speaker okat–so right now you’re not WILLING?
SharonRB57 yes I guess so
Rich-speaker Doesn’t it feel better to just say that…
rather than making something up?
SharonRB57 to me it sort of feels the same
if I know I’m not willing
and I tell someone it’s because of this or that
SharonRB57 it still feels bad to say no because I’m not willing
I feel I’m letting them down
not performing as Jewels mentioned
Rich-speaker yeah–but you’re being honest–and that’s a place to start…
6:21:51 Rich-speaker b/c you’re in control. YOU decide, and be straight with yourself about it.

Kathy was in a meeting where delegation happened then a request for volunteers..
everyone exected me to be the one…
I didn’t want to do it but kept my mouth shut because everytime I say no or no thanks..
I have to explain myself..
i long for the day I can just say no
but iun relation to tonight was I making an excuse?
Rich-speaker I think so–do you?
Kathy not sure
anybody else think so?
Rich-speaker Why do you have to explain yourself?
Checksov i don’t if i understand you correctly
Kathy rich can you tell me why
Rich-speaker B/c–you want to say No …
but feared their judgement, right?
Kathy i wasn’t asked
Rich-speaker Okay–I see–so you didn’t say anything?
Kathy it was just a sense of their expectation
that is correct
Rich-speaker Yeay–people are good at…
6:28:08 Rich-speaker dumping SHOULDS on us, huh?

Rich-speaker Here’s a pribciple: DON’T SHOULD ON ME!
Kathy ::)

BAPearl !
Rich-speaker ga BA
BAPearl ty RIch
What about the story in the Bible re the father who asked his 2 sons…
to work in the fields..
and the 1 who said no went…
and the 1 who said yes did not..
it seems like the one who said no did it unwillingly…
but he did what was right..
is that an example of overcoming an excuse?
or not following an “I do not want to?”

Rich-speaker Yes–He was honest …
said No, then realized that he wished to honor his father’s wishes.
Rich-speaker Checksov–you had a question?
6:32:34 []
julie cool
Checksov yes…similar to BAPearl‘s
what if the answer to the first question, is no, i don’t want to, but you do it anyway (without telling the other person you don’t want to or saying no?)
Rich-speaker depends why …
Jesus didn’t WANT to be crucified, but He had a higher desire …
to please God.
So He submitted willingly. Make sense?
Checksov yes…so when is it “lying” so to speak…or not ok (you said…depends why)

Rich-speaker Good point–I’m talking about excuses. So if you obey …
hoping to get something back, I guess that’s manipulation?
Checksov i see that makes sense…
or maybe when it leads to resentment on my part?
Rich-speaker Exactly! great point!
Checksov i see the difference i think. thanks done

Rich-speaker anyone else?
Rich-speaker This is HARD–that’s why it takes courage.
Jewls4380 !
Rich-speaker ga jewels
Jewls4380 I would like to praise you, obie and the members tonight for a wonderful session of revelation, knowledge and experience. my first time here. Thank you all
6:40:24 julie !
julie just wondered if there is something
that bcause I don’t know if there would be a good outcome
that i should wnat to because I feel God is asking me to dpo so and so
then even if its something I truly don’t want to do I nedto do it to honor nad obey God
Rich-speaker I think God sometimes leads us out of comfort zones…
but if I’m sure He is leading, I follow…
b/c that the HIGHEST desire …
but never out of obligation or shoulds.
julie so if its maybe not my answer atleast its God best for me
julie then i should do it
Rich-speaker Here’s a bit of wisdom…
Obedience without surrebder …
surrender …
is manipulation.
julie–never SHOULD on yourself.

Kathy another bit of wisdom I learned..
Our Provision is at our point of obedience
Rich-speaker yep–when we obey in surrender, not b/c we expect something in return.
Kathy or obey because we want to out of love

Rich-speaker exactly!
you guys are great!
tough discussion!

bj. !
Rich-speaker ga BJ
bj. really good workshop rich
bj. my one quick question
what is question #4 exactly?
#4–are you willing to be honest about…
Rich-speaker your reason for saying No?
Rich-speaker don’t want to, can’t, or not willing.

Rich-speaker anyone else?

dulcinea !
my reason for saying no may be cuz i have seen myself more honestly and i have found
more out about myself
i have overcommitted myself before, not knowing thst it wasnt honest of me
but I’m confused at who’s doing what to whom
so its not easy admittng to me or any other that i may not know myself as well as i have put out
Rich-speaker admitting that is hard …
Rich-speaker but better than lying, right?
dulcinea YES
BAPearl yes
BobRush nod
Rich-speaker other thoughts?

Checksov !
Rich-speaker ga Checksov
Checksov thanks richChecksov i think what i’m getting out of this workshop is
it’s okay to not want to do something, to not be able to do something, or to not be willing to do something
it’s not something we feel God is specifically telling us to do
just that we need to be honest about it when we say no
Rich-speaker gold star!
Checksov is that right?
Checksov k thanks for this discussion, workshop – been really helpful

Rich-speaker be in control, and be honest! and you’re welcome.

Rich-speaker ga BA
BAPearl I want to thank you too…
ihis is a really painful task for a codependent, people-pleaser…
but you have helped me tonite to understand much re false guilt and …
BAPearl ty so much!
Rich-speaker Nicely said!

hindsfeetinjc !
Rich-speaker Ga hinds
hindsfeetinjc Along with what the others have said
this has been helpful for me
for when
the Holidays coming up….and obligations
it is easy to make excuses either way
for me the Holidays are really hard
so thank you Rich so much!!
Rich-speaker Yep–truth might hurt, but lies hurt worse, huh?
hindsfeetinjc yes
Rich-speaker Before you leave, I’d like to invite you to my blog at http://www.richdixon.net/bouncingback. We’re building a cool circle of folks, and I’d love to have you join. You can subscribe to the blog and to my semi-regular newsletter. There’s also a resource page with some free e-books and other stuff. And of course I’d like to have you check out my book, RELENTLESS GRACE. And if there’s anything I can do for you, or if you have any feedback, or if you’d just like to say HI, send me an email at rich@richdixon.net
If you wish, here’s a link to the completed diagram.

Rich-speaker obie? last thoughts?
Obie-host I stongly urge you all to get a copy of Rich’s book:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance

Rich-speaker ga BA
am just really thankful for all that was presented here tonight and I want to thank you, Rich..
and all who attended and contributed..
I have really been enriched
ty so much.
Rich-speaker You’re welcome–thanks for being here.

Obie-host Rich would you like to close us in prayer tonight?
Okay–Father, help us to lean on you for the courage to face our fears.
In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.