What if we approached every day like January 1st?
I don’t know about yours, but my Facebook page has been inundated with goals, dreams, regrets, realizations, and endless determination to “make this year better than last.” But, isn’t that what we say every January 1st? And then … as the weeks creep by and we settle back into our imperfect sizes and unmet dreams, somehow we lose that vigor to be more – eat less – and reach our personal pinnacles of success. We start walking self-proclaimed roads of failure, sabotaging ourselves every step of the way.
As I sit here listening to a book by John C. Maxwell, I’ve realized for the first time in 42 years that my perspective is completely wrong. I’m searching for the wrong answers, expecting the wrong results, and basing the outcome on the wrong outlook.
Why are we so afraid to fail? And why do we equate failing at something, as being a failure?
In Failing Forward: Making the Most of Your Mistakes, Maxwell writes:
Every successful person is someone who failed, yet never regarded himself as a failure. ~John C. Maxwell @via rldevotions
Every December 31st we lay out our lives on scales of weights and measures. Inevitably, most of us conclude that we still weigh too much, and our lives don’t measure up. We. Are. Failures. We vow to get on that new year’s bandwagon of success – where happiness reigns and problems are a thing of the past. But life is not a fairytale. The same worries, struggles and failures we battle each year will continue plaguing our lives so long as we continue wishing them away with New Year’s Eve sparklers.
Instead of wishing away and fearing failure or hardship, we should realize that they are merely stepping stones – opportunities to find strength, perseverance and contentment through all circumstances.
So this year, I want to be like the Apostle Paul – who even while sitting in a dark, musty, hopeless Roman prison, exclaimed:
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” Matthew 5:48.
Was Jesus telling us to be perfect or to live perfect lives? Absolutely not. He had just spoken about all the hardships of life, the struggles we will face, the temptations we will battle, and the sin we will need to overcome. That doesn’t sound like perfection to me. Jesus was telling us that LIFE IS HARD. Life is a journey. There are valleys of failure and peaks of success. But contentment comes from seeking and trusting God through the highs and the lows of life. Then, although we may struggle and fail, we will be on a better road – an imperfect road of contentment, being perfected through Christ and all He is working in us.
Instead of looking at the 2016 movie reel of our lives, contemplating all the ways it could’ve or should’ve been different or better – let’s thank God for life! Beautiful, messy, imperfect life! Were there hard times? You’re not human if not. Was there more pain than someone ought to endure? Jesus understands. Did you fail repeatedly and break more promises than you can count? Me too. And guess what … I won’t have reached the pinnacle of perfection until I’m standing in Heaven, alongside you.
So my 2017 imperfect resolution is this:
a resolution that never fails.