Through the years, I’ve become an expert at feeling bad. And New Year's Day puts my expert skills into overdrive. I assess my plans & goals over the past year and review the things I've accomplished and the things I didn’t. I feel great about my successes. The things I’ve failed at, forgotten, or left unfinished?
I feel bad.
I realize I will not succeed at everything. I’m only human. Setting big goals, making big plans, wanting more for myself is exhilarating and important for growth. But when I have fallen short, I am not quite ready to just shrug my shoulders and move on. I want to do something about it. I want to take control of my failings. I want to make sure that my brain knows that my heart knows that I know I’ve failed.
I don’t like to fall short. If I have the chance to try again, I want to do better. But somehow I believe that feeling bad about my failings will ensure future success.
Have you ever failed at a diet plan? I have. And I’m really good at feeling bad about it.
It’s true, not fitting into your jeans feels bad. But feeling bad about not fitting into your jeans? That is another thing entirely. Ruminating about the ways you’ve failed at your diet goals or how much of a loser you are will never bring positive results. Feeling bad doesn’t burn calories. It only invites shame. And shame invites isolation. And isolation invites ice cream. And around it goes.
I’m fairly certain no one ever climbed Mount Everest because they felt bad.
Acknowledging an unmet goal is healthy and mature. Understanding that we might need to adjust our action plan is necessary. But feeling bad is not fruitful and moreover it’s not godly.
Brennan Manning writes, “In order to be free to be faithful to [Jesus], to others and ourselves, we must be liberated from the damnable imprisonment of self-hatred, freed from the shackles of projectionism, perfectionism, moralism/legalism, and unhealthy guilt. Freedom for fidelity demands freedom from enslavement.”
So, as we jump into this new year, let us set goals. Make resolutions. Dream big. And when some of those dreams don’t work out? We will reassess. We will recalibrate. But we will not be shackled by the prison of feeling bad. Because for all the times we will fail, fall short, and remain unfinished, we will also remain loved by our God, who is infinitely and always pleased with us. And that feels so very good.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
-Melissa Maimone is a Christian speaker & writer based in Southern California. She is part of the Seasons Weekend speaking team. For booking information visit MelissaMaimone.com