Stories

Smile at your New Year Resolution Failures!

This was the title of an article I read this week which caught my attention. I guess like me, you are probably wishing that you hadn’t taken on so many new resolutions for the year ahead. The reality of walking 10,000 steps every day is overcoming my resolve to exercise regularly. Maybe, like me, you have already resigned yourself to failure!

But take heart because it seems we are all in the same boat … and its an experience that has been common to humanity in all ages. Right back in the days of the early Church, a follower of Jesus called Paul spoke of his frustration that he always seemed to end up doing the very thing he told himself not to do!

So, what’s the solution? Do we just give up and never try? Paul showed us a different way that doesn’t involve beating ourselves up for our inevitable failures and weaknesses. He encourages us to stop worrying about ourselves. Instead, he counsels, accept your weaknesses and allow those weaknesses to propel you to rely every more fully on the God who knows us and forgives us and who is in the business of restoring us so that we become the people he created us to be.

I recall reading a poem by Dorothy Law Nolte that was displayed in a school classroom. I’m sure you have come across it before. These are just a few of its lines ….

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn ….
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love ….
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves ….

As with children so it is with us. If we live with love we learn to love, not just ourselves but all those we meet. We may not know or be fully aware, but we are living lives surrounded and indwelt by the unconditional love of God. A God who invites us to lift our heads and receive God’s love and allow God to guide, encourage, accept and strengthen us from within so that we become God’s people full of love and joy and hope.