Written by:
B.T. Gilligan

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Failed Resolutions, New Mercies

By B.T. Gilligan

As we have reached the end of January, many of us have reached the end of our New Year’s Resolutions. Research has shown that by now a majority have given up and by mid-February over 80% of us have given up. We have declared it difficult, more work than we wanted, or that we just love doughnuts too much to give them up.

Whatever the reason for giving up on our resolutions there is probably a little bit of guilt, shame, or inadequacy. Maybe, a small part of us feels like we failed or that we didn’t live up to our potential and we let down ourselves or those around us. These feelings might be small because we tried to fix something small, like giving up bacon. Or, they might be huge feelings because we have failed at something huge, like quitting an addiction or other self-harming behavior. Whatever the reason, we may feel all kinds of things and the question becomes, what do we do with our failures? How do we get back on track toward recovery again? Is it even possible to get back on track again, or is this the last time and we are stuck forever?

For me, when those feelings of failure, inadequacy, and disappointment begin to creep up there are things I try to do. One of those things is to think of Psalm 40, not only is it a great U2 song it is also great to remember that we are not failures just because we failed. It is a perfect poem for all who struggle to break free from hurts and hang-ups. It reminds us that when we have hit rock bottom, God is there without judgement or lectures and lifts us up, and sets us back on the rock once again. It reminds me that God rejoices in our freedom and is with us in the midst of our struggle to break free.

My favorite verses of Psalm 40 are verse twelve, “evils have encompassed me without number, my sins are more than the hairs of my head and my heart fails me.” Followed by verse thirteen, “O Lord, make haste to help me!” This open and honest cry from centuries ago frequently echoes in my heart when I feel like a failure.

So then, if you are holding fast to your New Year’s resolution, that is great and we rejoice! However, if you are in the majority group of people who have given up, then there is good news for you. You are not a failure. You are not inadequate. You have not let God down. In fact, God sees your struggle. He is with you in your struggle and no matter how hard it is, God is with you in the fight for freedom and will celebrate with you when freedom comes!