Falling Flat on My Face (or What is True Success)

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Business people looking down at man lying on pavement, elevated view

How’s that New Year’s Resolution working out for me now?

It’s March now. I have to think a moment to even remember what I resolved to do better when this year was just born. In mid-February, I wondered if I could use Lent as a New Year do-over. I have fallen flat on my face.

So, am I doomed to spend the rest of the year in the throes of self-loathing and try again next year, promising to do better? What say ye? Well, I say no!

If you resolved to diet and exercise, and you ended up on the couch with a tub of Cherry Garcia, you are beloved.

If you resolved to spend less and save more, but you couldn’t resist that sale at Macy’s, you are beloved.
If you resolved to be kind and ended up yelling at your kids (every. single. day.), you are beloved.
If you resolved to read a book or learn something new, but you have engaged in back-to-back Netflix binges, you are beloved.
If you resolved to spend more time with family, but every dinner ended up being takeout on the way to various events, you are beloved.
If you resolved to travel more, but have not gone more than 50 miles from home, you are beloved.
If you resolved to be less stressed, but that is too stressful for you, you are beloved.
If you resolved to volunteer more and haven’t followed through on commitments, you are beloved.

Please hear me! No matter what you planned to do better, no matter how well you have performed, you are the beloved of God’s own heart, and nothing will ever, ever change that!

So what do we do now? We live in the midst of this dance between abiding in the gentle rhythm of grace and working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It is really hard to get that balance right. The key is in moving with the breath of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord how He sees the situation and what He would like for you to do. Recruit some trusted spiritual friends to help you listen. (If you don’t have close spiritual friends, get some, stat!)

The truth is that this dance is not meant for us to work hard or strive at it. The perfect dance partner, God-made-flesh, is leading. All we must do is follow.

More than anything, give yourself the grace of remembering that failure and success is not measured in outcomes…not really. Every time you think you have failed, but you choose to stand up, dust yourself off, clasp hands with Jesus, and keep dancing…that, my friends, is true success, and it makes God smile.

Image attribution: Michael Blann / Thinkstock

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Patricia is a student at Asbury Theological Seminary and is our own Editorial Assistant here at Seedbed. She is the primary editor for the Soul Care Collective, and is also a prayer ministry graduate of the Healing Academy. She has a teenage son named William, and has a passion for writing, theology, missions, care of souls, and healing. She is currently serving as the Prayer Ministry Coordinator for Trinity Hill United Methodist Church, and is pursuing ordination in the Lexington District of the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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