A new year seems like such a good place for a fresh start. But sometimes I think it’s hopeless. Over and over I make the same resolutions, the same pledges to do better, only to have them fall by the wayside before the sharp edges of the year have worn off. Those friends I want to keep up with, the pounds I want to lose, the good habits I’m sure I can stick with this time — in my heart, I know I’m destined to fail once again. And I’m not alone, apparently: 97% of people who make New Year’s resolutions abandon them within 30 days.
Why? Why must I always, always, mess up? I can’t even do something as simple as remember to call my siblings on their birthdays. And the failures make me try harder, without success, and the guilt piles up, and soon I’m wishing for another chance, another New Year’s to start over. Sometimes even that wouldn’t be enough. Not everything can be fixed by resolutions to do better next time, and New Year’s Day? It’s a great time for new starts (like, perhaps, the re-launch of a certain website), but it only comes once a year.
The answer, of course, is grace.
Another chance at the diet.
Forgiveness for the hurt feelings.
A chance to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” one more time.
A new day to try again.
Permission to let go of our failures.
I don’t need to wait for New Year’s Day to come around again. God’s grace is here, now, waiting for me to reach out and take it. And it’s not just to be applied like glue to the broken mess I’ve made, but directly to my heart. Because my failures show that I’m the one who needs grace. If I could fix everything on my own – or better yet, not make mistakes in the first place – why would I need God? This weakness, this propensity for falling, is a gift most precious, because it forces me to run to my Savior.
This January, my first resolution is to accept grace. Only then will I be able to offer it to others.
Photo credit: wvubush