it may be time to kick yourself in the tail

How would you respond?

Over the past few weeks, I've sat down with almost a dozen emerging adults - students graduating high school, or those who have been out a few years and are looking for a footing in life. I've offered them "me" - meaning, I will intentionally invest into them in the next year if they want it, but they have to want it. We'll sit down over something deliberate, but my main hope is to unearth all the random stuff that may be holding them back from who God made them to be.

How would you respond?

If someone approached me with such an offer at that age, I would have said "Yeah! I'm in!" but then would have been lazy; I would have said, "Make me a leader - I'm ready!" but shown all kinds of irresponsibility.

I know this because it's exactly what I did when someone offered me that chance.

After graduating high school, I began an internship with my church's student ministry. I had no clue why I was there, especially since there were so many other "qualified" guys in our program who had such a clear calling to ministry. We used to meet at 6am once a week for a Bible study and administrative stuff because it was the only time everyone could get together.

Let me say that again... six o'clock in the morning... for a Bible study and administrative stuff... and I was 18.

After about the eighth time I missed a meeting, I showed up later that morning to have a sheepish conversation with my mentor, Bo Boshers. I caught him in the hallway of our church and started to share what happened. "I'm sorry," I began, "I can't believe I missed another meeting. You don't understand how hard this is..."

"Stop," he said, holding up his hand. "Can I just say something? You're making excuses, and it sounds a lot like whining. Everybody has it tough, and you're no exception. Everyone is busy, and you're no exception. It may be time to kick yourself in the tail and decide if you're going to be here or not. If there was a million dollar check waiting for you this morning, you would have been here. So don't give that line. It's bull, and we both know it."

I didn't know what to say. Thankfully, he continued.

"I know you're going through some tough stuff with your family, but I also know you're using it as an excuse. So let's not kid yourself. I don't care if you were up playing video games and slept in or got up to go fishing instead of coming here - the real question is what is more important? Do you think what we're doing here matters or not? Because if you do, then be here. If not, own it."

"Yeah," I replied. "Again, I'm really sorry."

He paused, as if to look me over. "I know you are. And I know this is going to be different if you stay sorry. Now, let's talk about what you missed."

Although my friendship with Bo and others from that group has changed over the years, that conversation still haunts me to this day in the best way possible. Maybe you need to consider the questions I was faced with:
  • What legitimate struggle in my life have I used to create illegitimate excuses for things I don't want to do?
  • If a million dollar check was waiting for me somewhere or with someone, how would I approach that priority differently (and what does that say about how I view that priority without it)?
  • Is it time to kick myself in the tail?
Jesus said: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

But they all alike began to make excuses." (Luke 14:16-18)

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