A time of fresh starts, resolutions and beginnings. But how do you make them, when you’re in the same body, with the same mind, the same relationships, the same job (or lack of), and same struggles?
This month it’s harder to trot out the same excuses.
Maybe it’s substance abuse. The festive season gave you a cover and an excuse. But unlike others, you’re still drinking or smoking or snorting. Jan 1, Jan 2, Jan 8…2012, 2013, 2030. Tomorrow you’ll quit. Tomorrow you’ll change.
Perhaps it’s money. Christmas was hard enough – but the tree’s dying and the bills are arriving and the tinsel has lost its sheen.
Or (the New Year favourite), an eating disorder. January it seems, is all about losing weight. Taking control. Cutting down and cutting back. Perhaps that’s something you’ve never been able to do. You eat and eat and you just can’t stop. You hate your body and you hate your bulk and you know it’s out of control and you know you’re killing yourself – but you can’t – won’t ever change, so it’s back to the ice-cream and back to hating yourself and back to bed and the cycle that never ends.
Or maybe it’s the opposite. Weight loss is something you’re good at. A little too good. You thought you’d feel better in January; happier; more able to tackle the voices. But they’re louder and more insistent and everyone else is doing it so why can’t you? What’s to stop you puking up your dinner and all the worries with it? You’re tired of fighting it and anyway, what harm will it do to drop a few pounds? Get a little – fitter? Isn’t that the way forward? Isn’t that safety?
Maybe it’s family. You kept it together for the sake of the kids but something’s broke and there’s no more pretending, not for another year, not for another day. The marriage is stifling or the relationship is suffocating, but either way it’s choking you and you want out.
Or perhaps you want in. In on being wanted and loved. The partner who doesn’t exist. The family you don’t- or can’t have. The friends you don’t know how to make or to keep.
A hundred solutions. A hundred new starts. Three hundred and sixty five days – every one of them asking the impossible.
So where do you go from here? What do you do when you’re walking wounded – but everyone else is too?
The clinic. The trusted friend. The pub. The shops. The binge. The helpline. The solicitor.
Where do you pour it? The pain and the anger and the sadness and the despair and the weariness. The self-harm that masqerades as self-care.
On yourself? No. It’s killing you already. On others? – yes, they can help. But before that, before even the experts;
You pour it on Him:
The only one strong enough, weak enough, loving enough to bear the weight.
The only one who won’t ever leave.
The only one who’s never intimidated or frightened or bored or indifferent.
The only one who understands.
Why? Because He’s wounded too. But here’s the difference; He chose His wounds. He embraced them – so that ours could be healed. His scars are His glory – not his shame. And in the same way, He can make something beautiful from ours.