It’s a new year! Time to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016. Out with the old, in with the new. I’ve never been big on New Years Resolutions. They seem to set people up for failure and disappointment. As Brené Brown so eloquently puts it:
January 1– This resolution is going to be awesome!
January 5– I’m awesome.
January 10– This sucks.
January 20– I suck.
I know I have fallen into this trap many times, and not just as it relates to New Years Resolutions. I find myself working throughout the year to be a better person. I strive to be a better mother. I say to myself, “I’m not gonna yell at my kids today. I am the adult and they are my precious children. I have this awesome job of raising them to be responsible, respectful adults. What a great thing it is to be a mother. I am awesome!” Then I get out of bed. In the hour it takes me to get them up and out the door to school, I hear myself slowly losing my cool. By the fourth time of me asking them to brush their teeth, my patience is slipping away. My voice gets increasingly louder, and before I know it I’m having an out of body experience as I hear myself yelling, “HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH?!? GET YOUR BUTT MOVING!” This sucks! I suck.
I find myself striving to be a better wife. What an awesome thing to be someones help mate. I have these moments when it comes easy, and I say to myself, “Look at this opportunity to clean up the dishes that this man of mine has left in the sink. I can show him how much I love him by cleaning up after him. I am awesome!” Until I’m not so patient and loving anymore. I have this tendency of making it quite obvious by the way I slam the pots and pans as I put them away that I want him to KNOW that I’m cleaning up his mess and that I’m doing him a huge favor. There may or may not be muttering under my breath going on as well. I’m not the maid after all. It sucks! I suck.
When I set resolutions for myself, I tend to get stuck in the trap of basing my self worth on how well I perform said resolutions. If I fail, then by default, I must be a failure. When I yell at my kids, it means I have not succeeded in my quest to be a better mother. I may say to myself, “Tomorrow I will do better!” But I’m not perfect, and chances are, if I succeed in not yelling at my kids, I will fail in another area. This can easily lead to me throwing my hands up in defeat and saying, “Why even bother?” I have decided that my solution to breaking this cycle is simply Grace. I will start by giving myself Grace in those moments when I am not being the person that I would like to be. Circumstances may suck, but I don’t suck. I may fail at the task at hand, but that does not make me a failure. I am human and I am imperfect. I will refrain from beating myself up. I will be gentle and compassionate with myself. I will still set goals and strive to be the best that I can be with the realization that I will fail. I will fall. But I will pick myself up and continue to Dare Greatly every day. I won’t throw in the towel in self defeat, because how good I am at fulfilling my resolutions does not define my self worth. I will accept God’s Grace and the Grace of others as well because I am worthy of Grace even if I don’t always deserve it. I will turn my Grace outward as well to those around me. I will give my children Grace, especially on the days when I have to tell them to brush their teeth 5 times. They are little humans, and they are not perfect. They are learning and growing and I want them to know Grace on an intimate level. I want to teach them by example that they can mess up and it’s alright. Their
mistakes don’t have to define them. They will fail, but the failures aren’t as important as what they do after. I want them to learn to look at their failures as a chance to grow. Their circumstances in life may suck sometimes, but they don’t. I will show this man of mine Grace as well. He is the person I have chosen to spend my life with. Sometimes he leaves dishes in the sink. Sometimes I feel like I’m not as high on his list of priorities as I think I should be. But he is human and he is not perfect. He has helped me to grow as a person and I want him to see Grace in my eyes, especially on the days when I would rather throw the dishes away instead of clean them.
I know that there will be times when I will fail even at this. I will fall back on feeling like a failure, or resort to being too tough on myself and those around me. But as I continue to offer and recieve Grace even in those moments, it will become more than a resolution or an attempt at self-improvement. It will become a new way of living.
Grace be with you as we venture into this new year!