Forward Steps

How many Times do You Need to Start Over?

I sit here today contemplating starting over…. again.

Something about New Year’s Day bring on this guilt trip of resolution un-reached and the pressure to publicly announce resolutions for a new year.

New Year’s Day is the most obvious landmark in our lives seemingly designed to start goals, but birthdays, the start of spring, the start of a new school year, even the beginning of the week or the first of the month are also opportunities for change. That led me to think, “Wait! Everyday is an opportunity for change.”

But… how many times do I really want to start over? How many times is it worth “starting” activities in line with achieving these goals?

I guess it depends on how much I want to reach that particular goal, or destination. If a person wants to lose 100 pounds, and they make 1 million choices over the course of a few years that each bring them one step closer to that 100-pound target, is THAT worth the effort? Admittedly, somedays, no… At the end of a few years, I still hold on hope for. The trick is to not get tired of the trying.

I often tell my students that failure isn’t a thing. Failing isn’t permanent. It is an opportunities. Failing along the way is a must, a good thing. You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. Continuing to put one foot in front of the other, even when the odds are stacked against you, will eventually have you arriving in a different destination. 

Winnie the Pooh says, “I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been.” If only we could just change our behaviors and our habits that easily. Pooh is so genius.

But change never feels that easy. I get in my own way.

It becomes a question of faith. Do I believe that I can achieve the goal? Do I believe that success is even possible? Can I visualize success in the future? Do I truly want to arrive at the destination that this journey may lead me to? Do I trust in God’s plan, even if it is different from my own?

Here is my problem… starting over implies that you have made no progress, and that you are exactly in the same position that you were the very first time you tried to do this thing.

Here is where faith steps in…

Jesus gives us all a “Do over” button. Faith in Jesus is to have faith in the process of becoming. Faith in Jesus is having faith that you are in a different place of your journey today than you were in yesterday. After all, you are older now and have had more life experience. Faith in Jesus is recognizing that you may have not changed your behaviors just yet, or even seen any results of your progress—even worse, it appears that you’re progressing in the wrong direction but admitting that Jesus knows the way and at least now you know what doesn’t work. Faith in Jesus is seeing the process as progress. With Jesus, each failure becomes one step closer to having the knowledge, the strength, and the drive to finally take steps in the right direction, closer to your goal. With Jesus you find the strength and the power to keep trying, no matter how many times it takes. It’s truly the only way to get there.

So, perhaps, as I venture into a new year, I need to make resolution one day at time… daily resolutions.

Today, I commit, for the millionth time, to be the person I want to be… to focus on building my relationship with Jesus, to show God’s love to others, to have grace, to make healthier choices today, to seek truth and knowledge, to be creative and to create.

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