One of my challenges for this year was to avoid sweets (except for fruit and in my coffee) during the month of January. Eleven days in, I gave in to my cravings for chocolate. And it tasted darn good, so good that I had some more yesterday. And now I’m kicking myself for caving.
There are a couple of ways I could look at this. I could get totally down on myself and view this as a complete and utter failure. What’s wrong with me that I couldn’t last 31 days dessert-free? I’ve done a sugar fast for Lent before and that was 40 days–31 should be comparatively easy, right? If I take the view that this was a failure and that I too am a failure, well, I just might as well throw in the towel, admit defeat, and break out some ice cream or bake some cookies, right?
However, if I look at this as just a setback instead of a defeat, then I can reset my mindset. I can admit that I had a temporary lapse and renew my commitment to healthy eating. I’ll be traveling next week to a city known for (among other things) its cuisine, and in fact there’s a great pastry shop right in the hotel I’ll be staying at, so I fully expect temptation to be in abundance. I’ve already made peace with the fact that I’ll probably give in to some cravings while I’m there. The important thing (for me) is that my good eating will far outweigh the bad eating and that I won’t let one stray cookie here or there lead to an all-out sugar binge.
More importantly, from a spiritual standpoint, I’m learning to extend grace to myself on those occasions where I mess up or don’t live up to my expectations for myself (which, let’s face it, can be far too lofty and prideful at times). I’m thankful that God extends grace to me on a constant basis and that I don’t have to be perfect, that I can’t be perfect. Instead of dwelling on the things I’m doing wrong, maybe I need to celebrate the successes I’m having, recognizing that it’s because of God at work within me that those successes are possible in the first place.