When trying to make a fresh start, we need to keep in mind a few things. First of all, our goals need to be realistic and do-able. We don’t want to set ourselves up for failure by setting goals that we are unlikely to meet. For instance, it’s better to set a modest goal of walking two or three times a week rather than promising daily visits to the gym—a promise we are bound to break.

Of course, even if we manage to set realistic goals, we may not always meet them. So the second thing to remember about our fresh start is, when we slip, to get right back on track and not beat ourselves up. I love Lamentations 3:22-23, which tells us that “His compassions are new every morning.” With the Lord each day is a new day, a chance to start over. Actually each moment can be seen as a chance to begin again. It’s such a habit when we’ve slipped to say something like this (or worse) to ourselves: “Well you’ve blown it. You’re a failure.” We all need to receive the compassion the Lord has for us and remember that each day, even each moment–we can start again.

Furthermore, one mistake doesn’t make someone an idiot or a failure. We need to ask ourselves, would I talk to anyone else the way I talk to myself? Living in a fallen world is hard enough; the last thing we need is ourselves as our worst enemy.

Regarding this idea of being our own worst enemy, I once did an exercise where I formed scenes with little characters in a tray of sand that really helped me in this area. First I put myself, symbolized by a figurine, in the center with army tanks on the edge of the tray pointing at me. The tanks symbolized the real-life hardships I was going through at the time. Then, I surrounded myself with soldiers pointing their guns at me, symbolizing the negative things I say to myself. Seeing all this, I thought, “I have too many real hardships in my life to be adding insult to injury by beating myself up.” I decided then and there that I was no longer going to be my own worst enemy. I then threw each soldier out of the tray one by one. Boy did that feel good! Since then I have consciously chosen not to put myself down anymore.

I want to challenge you to be a self-encourager instead of a self-discourager. My prayer for you is that you could see yourself as the Lord sees you and be able to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Christ’s love for you.” (Ephesians 3:18)

– Dottie, a New Life Network Counselor