So, I messed up.
I’m doing the 21-day Daniel fast and I ate chicken and really good salad dressing.
And it’s not like I slipped and accidentally ate it because it was the only food available. No, I ordered it and had a conversation in my head about it beforehand. It went something like this…
Me: “I’m going to order the chicken salad.”
Me: “No…don’t do it. It isn’t part of the Daniel plan.”
Me: “It is only 21 days. You can do it.”
Me: “Look at your beautiful Rewritten ‘discipline’ cuff…your word for the year.”
Me: “So you’re going there. My word for the year. Good one.”
Me: “What if Jesus said, ‘you know, I don’t really feel like dying today.’”
Me: “Ouch. I’m so grateful for Jesus and what He did for me.”
Me: (to waiter) “I’ll have the chicken salad.”
Really? What is wrong with me?
I’m such an all or nothing person. If I mess up once, I give up on it all.
But not this time. I’m not giving up on the things that matter to me. I messed up. And I’ll mess up again and again and again…maybe not with the Daniel fast, but surely with many other things.
I think about Paul and his desire for the recipients of his letters to understand the incredible freedom in Christ. God knows we will mess up. He knows we can’t live a perfect life. He sent Jesus to die to wipe the slate clean, so we can get back up and keep pressing on. Paul personally knew the exhaustion of trying to follow every law and command perfectly to earn salvation. The struggle of waiting for the Day of Atonement to sacrifice for that year’s sins, only to start the process over again. Then Jesus came and made the “once for all” sacrifice, offering up His perfect and holy self (Hebrews 7:27).
When we mess up in big or small ways, we have a Savior who says, “It’s okay, Joani. I accept your apology. You are forgiven. Go and sin no more….but if you do -- and you will -- I will be here always. I love you and I am rooting for you.”
That is worth sticking with it. That is worth not giving in or giving up. My setbacks can become new starting points.