Two weeks ago, in anticipation for 2016, I found myself frantically trying to come up with the perfect word for the upcoming year. I looked up poetic sounding words, power words, trendy words, inspirational words all of which I felt no real connection to. My quest to find the perfect word began to feel too forced, so I quit.
A few days before the new year, my word hit me: move. At first, I wasn’t very excited about the word. Move? What kind of word is that? It’s not a power word, it doesn’t sound poetic and it’s not very inspirational. I was confused, and a little embarrassed that it wasn’t a more impressive word.
After giving my word some thought, I’ve realized it’s a perfect word for 2016. Too often we become our own worst critic, unmindful of our self talk and allow ourselves to fall into the comparison trap. I’ve been there. It seems fitting that God would place this word on my heart and challenge me to move forward in 2016.
It’s easy to get stuck in the “if onlys” of past days. If only I was stronger…if only I had been more available…if only I had taken that job…if only…
I am very hard on myself. The memories of past failures sometimes haunt me. There are days I spend too much time and energy on thinking about the things I should have done differently. There are days when my mistakes weigh so heavy on my heart, I break down and cry. There are days where I’ve wished I could go back in time to change my decisions and my actions. But here’s the thing about mistakes: you can learn from them, but you can’t change them.
I’m learning that to be human is to make mistakes. Humans aren’t perfect and it’s being unfair to try and hold myself up to the standard of perfection. I remind myself that I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today without making the mistakes I’ve made. I remind myself that I am not defined by my failures. I remind myself that it’s okay not to aim for perfection.
I’ve been leaning on God and asking him for strength, courage and direction. A week ago, I came across a Bible verse from Isaiah 43:18. It says:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Today, I heard it again in church.
Sometimes you have to be willing to let go of the person you thought you would become to make room for the person you are meant to be. You have to forgive yourself. Practice self love. Have faith in God, and move forward.