Failure and Valentines

This morning, sitting around the breakfast table with my family, we raised our orange juice glasses to celebrate the end of our six week fast/diet/thing.

“We did it!” we exclaimed.   Hooray! 

I smiled at my excited kids and drank my juice, but was cringing inside.

I have always avoided, purposefully and I think subconsciously, the idea of fasting.  I have never given up chocolate or coffee or Facebook for something like Lent, let alone any other occasion.

I think I would tell myself that there was nothing I was that dependent upon.

I think I would tell myself fasting is for the legalistic among us.

I think I was telling myself lies.

I think I was scared of failing.

These past six weeks, as I described here, my family has been on a fast following the oh so decadent and indulgent and delicious Holiday Season.

It started off great, as most resolutions do, with lots of vigor and determination.

Famous last words?

Why oh why oh why did I think putting some remaining Christmas cookies in the laundry room, as oppose to the kitchen cupboard, would reduce the temptation?

Twice, while I was a bit exhausted and a lot emotional, I found myself out there.  I didn’t binge eat the entire tin, only a couple of cookies.  Only a couple of cookies.

The amount didn’t matter, I failed.  It wasn’t about 2 cookies or 10 cookies.  It was about how I felt before, during and after. 

After breakfast my husband was excited to choose a chocolate from the box that my in-laws had given us for Valentine’s Day with complete freedom, celebrating a victorious six weeks.  We had set it aside, until today.  But I couldn’t claim such freedom.  I had failed, I didn’t deserve to celebrate and I couldn’t possibly enjoy it.

This may sound melodramatic, but I’ve already embraced that about myself  🙂

I was the bride who has messed up, only that once or time and time again.  What does it matter, right?  Once dirty, always dirty. 

I was the addict who was 60 days clean, only to ‘throw it all away’ on day 61.

To be truthful there are very few times I have been able to raise my glass and claim “I did it!” with a completely clear conscious.

And so this morning I needed some good news.  I needed some Real Love, not a pat on the back, not a resolution for 2016.  I needed a God who, be it a broken fast or a broken promise or something bigger or something habitual or something ugly, would not require of me the ability to proclaim “I DID IT!!!” about myself.  Even over a dumb diet. 

I needed a God who would say “Kirsten, my beloved,  I did it”.

I needed a God who didn’t require that I run triumphantly to the finish line, but would triumph on my behalf.

I needed a God who, once I took off my raincoat of shame, would lavish his love on me if only I would receive it.

I needed a God who keeps no record of wrongs, or, um, cookies.

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”  Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

To the addict in fetal position on the floor.  Again.  Be held in the arms of God. I’m so sorry you didn’t do it this time, but He has.

To the girl walking down the aisle, go ahead and wear white.  For it is not your righteousness anyway, but Christ in you

To the mom who woke up this morning vowing not to yell at her kids, but then 9:00am happened.  God is not yelling at you. 

To the one who can’t keep the laws in The Book, let alone the ones you write for yourself,  It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. 

To the emotional eater, you are NOT what you eat.  Go ahead and choose a chocolate out of that box and enjoy it.  Happy Valentines Day. 

The banquet table, the celebration, is for all of us.

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