It snowed last night. The weather app said it wasn’t supposed to snow today, but it did. I woke up to the sound of the snowplow and people scraping the ice off their car windows, but it was Instagram who first told me how much snow there was because I checked it before I got up out of my bed and and looked out the window.
As I was scrolling through my feed, I remembered that I’ve already failed at many of my newly made New Year’s resolutions, including the one not to look at social media first thing in the morning before I had my time with Jesus. I sat up, disappointed, and started another day angry at myself.
This past week, filled with the hope of new beginnings, didn’t go the way I planned in regards of following my resolutions. As I was preparing for the week last Sunday afternoon, I wrote goals and to-do lists on my shiny new notepad. I couldn’t wait to get back in the classroom and be with my students, to start my new running schedule to prepare for the half-marathon I signed up for, get back into eating healthy, and spend consistent mornings in the Word.
But during the teacher work day the next morning, I began freaking out because I didn’t know everything about Greek mythology and I started teaching The Odyssey the next day. How could I effectively teach this story if I didn’t know every single detail about the background information and Ancient Greek culture?! Cue panic attack.
And then on Wednesday I had to go home early from work because I started to feel terrible, which was probably worsened by my panicking about what would happen if this led to being super sick, because the rest of the week was packed and I couldn’t trust a sub to make sure my students got all the information they needed to understand this new text. The rest of the day at home, I proceeded to chastise myself because I didn’t feel that bad and have gotten through much busier days and weeks feeling much worse—I could have dealt with it and been fine.
The rest of the week I was continually irritated at myself for failing. I had to skip the rest of my planned runs because I still didn’t feel 100%, spiraling angry thoughts towards my body. I ended the week spending too much time poking and prodding and hiding my body because it didn’t look or feel the way I wanted it to.
I once again fell into the rhythm of believing that my worth and credibility as a human were based in how efficiently I crossed things off my to-do list, how skinny I felt in the morning indicating that I ate well and worked out the previous day, and how consistently I stuck to my goals.
I already failed at accomplishing these things and it hasn’t even been two weeks into the new year.
Have you been here, friends? Have you fallen in to the all-too familiar rhythm of criticizing yourself when you don’t meet your own standards? Of falling back into this destructive thought pattern after you’ve promised yourself that things were going to change tomorrow but failed?
Because that’s where I’m at on this snowy Sunday afternoon. I woke up most mornings this week pounding myself into the ground because I already failed the first week at being consistent in the healthy things I know I’m capable of—of eating well and working out and being organized at school and not checking social media before having Jesus time in the morning.
But instead of staying angry, I’m choosing to rest in the truth that my worth is beyond any kept New Year’s resolutions. I’m choosing to remember that I am loved deeply by the Lord and that my actions don’t earn my salvation, His grace is enough for that. I’m choosing to reflect on the all the things the Lord provided this week in the midst of my failure.
Because while teaching a story I wasn’t yet comfortable with, I fell back into the rhythm of being in the classroom and was reminded of how passionate I am about teaching universal themes expressed through beautiful words to almost-adults and how powerful it is to learn alongside my students.
And while I wasn’t feeling my best, I experienced the Lord’s provision and love through my co-workers covering my classes, my boyfriend bringing me soup from my favorite place, and my mom answering my seven phone calls that day asking what medicine I should take.
And although I spent most of the week angry at my body, I’m remembering all the moments it supported me in doing the things the Lord needed me to do, like carrying me through a day on my feet with a textbook in my arms reading words that hopefully teach my students something important.
I love New Year’s resolutions, and even after this week of failing at mine, I’m not throwing them away yet because I think they’re important guidelines to living a healthy life. But here’s the thing to remember—they’re guidelines. Failing at them isn’t the end of the world or the crumbling of our worth. Through grace and love, the Lord gives us the freedom to start over in every next moment.
If you failed this week and have been hard on yourself, let this moment be your next moment. Regroup, find your place in the Lord’s grace, and move forward. Recognize the beautiful, redeeming moments that happened in the midst of failure and self criticism, realizing how fully the Lord provides for you and how deeply He loves you.