New Year, Old Promises


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Well, it is the new day of a new year. Most, if not all, of us are making vows either silently or as loudly as possible in order to stick to the promises we have (repeatedly) made ourselves over the years. I heard a great sermon on New Year’s Eve at Summit Church by visiting pastor Eddie Kaufholz. Eddie’s teaching always amazes me, but he did something so simple yet so radical in this message. He acknowledged that we are all going to make vows this new year, and we are all going to break them. So what’s the point?

Then I woke up this morning to read a social media post by one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott.

“It’s really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It’s okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and to pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. Unfortunately, it’s yet another inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there. It’s within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it’s true.”

This one punched me in my soft, fluffy gut. For the last several months, I have been repeatedly torturing myself for not losing the weight I promised myself I would lose. As January 1 quickly approached, I made myself more promises to eat well, drink less alcohol, set good boundaries, do more yoga, sleep better, and get in the best shape possible to get pregnant in the near-ish future. At the same time I am furiously studying for my mental health licensure exam (which I should have taken two years ago), working on opening up my own practice, learning how to be a wife, navigating the holidays with a new family, and trying to read every book that my brilliant friend, Lauren, recommends to me. If a client told me he or she was trying to do all of this, I would interrupt immediately and give them a speech about slowing down and being kind to his or her self.

So why I can’t I extend this same grace to myself? Anne and Eddie’s words reminded me that I am, in fact, not Wonder Woman and that I am not exempt from limitations. No one could do all of those things I have just listed all at once. As my wonderful husband is so keen to point out on a daily basis: when will you realize that you need to care for yourself?

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an Instagram post that simply said, “You can’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm.” Ouch. This didn’t hit me hard because I think I am some kind of martyr for the human race, but because I consistently preach to others about their own self care while completely neglecting my own. My husband sees it. My friends see it. My family sees it. How can I not remember this?

I would love to make a million resolutions today about my weight, my alcohol consumption (look for another blog post soon on this one), my skin care regimen, and my sleep cycle, but the truth is that I will let myself down. I won’t get it right. However, in the midst of it all, can I believe what yet another favorite author, Brennan Manning, tells me? Do I truly know and believe that I am loved even when I don’t “get it right?”

That is my real challenge this year. I hope some weight comes off. I hope I seek less comfort in a good pinot noir and more solace in warm hugs andquiet meditation. I hope we get pregnant. And those are great things to move towards. But I believe my real resolution this year is to be kind to myself, at least as kind as I am to others. I don’t need to be the first person in line to throw myself under the bus. That’s just cruel.


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