It’s been my observation that every time I backslide, it’s due to one of three reasons: a setback, being stressed out, or being burned out. All of these things will happen. The question is, what can you do about it?
Any path to healing begins with understanding how you got where you are. The truth really does set you free. If you understand what took you off course, you can adjust and get back on course easier. I remember a saying by C.S. Lewis about not being able to correct a math sum unless you go all the way to where you went wrong. You can’t make right out of wrong unless you know where the mistake was made, and correct it. Otherwise, it will keep getting more and more wrong – and further from right – as you press forward. The important thing is to do this with honesty and without excuses or blame.
I say that to lead to the next step, which is to forgive yourself (and any others who might have knowingly or unknowingly) for backsliding. Pressure and stress cause us to go back to old, comfortable patterns that feel right, whether that’s true or not. Plus, if something worked in the past we tend to believe it will work again, when the fact is that every situation is unique, which makes it unlikely that the same thing will work every time. If you fell back on stinking thinking or bad reactions because they worked in the past, then add that to the list of how you wound out where you are and pray for forgiveness. And when it comes to others, you’ll likely have to do it without an apology. That’s ok. People don’t like to believe they’re wrong, and sometimes they aren’t – they just don’t mean to be annoying, or needy, or clingy, or just plain wrong. Your job is to do your best, and forgiveness sets you free. Do your part. Trust me, the Lord will bring their part to them in a way that will speak to them better than you can. Besides, nobody cares if you’re mad at them or not. They’ll go on their merry way without a second thought. Why shouldn’t you? But at least do it the right way.
The next step is to take corrective action. That might mean having a conversation, taking some tangible action, or just changing your thinking. Incorporate what you learned from your missteps and move forward with wisdom for the future. Most importantly, don’t feel bad about getting off track. You’re human. It happens to us all. Most people just don’t usually talk about it. But denial isn’t good either. Take it in stride. Acknowledge it, learn from it, and let it go.
The same concept applies whether you fell off a diet and/or exercise routine, a habit you’re trying to make or break, a situation you’re trying to handle with grace and tact, or a relationship you’re trying to form or strengthen. Life will knock you upside down from time to time. The trick is to know how to get back up and start back on a right path again. It really is a constant cycle.You have to make choices each day to do your best, and some days will be better than others. In fact, your best will vary day by day. Don't be upset if today's progress isn't as good as yesterday, or last week. If you keep trying, you will make forward momentum, despite setbacks.
I hope this blog series on helping yourself find a better life has been helpful. The world is a crazy, confusing place these days, and it seems that it’s every man for himself. That’s scary, but if enough of us are dedicated to doing it right, then maybe there is hope for a better tomorrow.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.