As some of you know from my Facebook and Instagram posts, I’ve reinvigorated my weight loss journey. I resolved to dedicate most of my time this summer to self-improvement and home improvements. I’m making progress but as with anything, there have been some mistakes along the way. One staple factor of my weight loss plan is closely monitoring the type and amounts of food I consume. (I’m a slave to Myfitnesspal.) I’ve been diligent about eating 5 small, high-protein, low carb meals/snacks per day. But last night was an impromptu date night. And who wouldn’t prefer QT over Zumba, right?

So, I sat down at The Green Turtle, knowing that I only had 300-400 calories left in reserve for the day…but that Chesapeake chicken sandwich was calling out to me, and my calorie goals for the day blew up in smoke just like that!

No problem, I thought, I’ll recover tomorrow. Breakfast this morning: fruit, greek yogurt, granola…not exactly high-protein, but a nice recovery meal. We all make mistakes but the recovery is what determines when or if we reach our destination. We’ve heard it before, “We fall down but we get up…” So this is nothing new. Get up! Bounce back! Simple. Easy. Or is it?I’m reminded of something I learned about recovery during a difficult time in my life.

A friend posed a question on Facebook.

If a pastor (or other person of faith) makes a mistake, admits it, confesses it before God and people, should he/she give up on ministry, their calling, position, and life?

To which I responded,

As one who has walked and is walking this particular walk right now, I appreciate this question and am grateful for the opportunity to analyze this. I’ve always believed and taught that it is important for leaders of faith communities to equip believers to undergird fallen brothers and sisters (and yes, this includes transparency and accountability). Our houses of faith must create safe space for healing and restoration. However, the stumbling pastor/leader must also forgive themselves and refuse the temptation to walk in the shadow of the offense, and instead choose to walk through it.

But after posting that comment, I turned to my journal to explore the correlation between forgiving oneself and the ability to recover in a little more depth. So, I wrote,

Forgiving oneself is difficult. It requires a confrontation with one’s own fallibility and hits at the core of one’s pride. It takes courage to accept imperfection and to recognize that we always need God to keep us, so that we don’t fall as often or as hard. I’m not suggesting that we dismiss our weaknesses but I am suggesting that once we understand that mistakes are inevitable, we remove sin’s ability to intimidate us. The fear of failure can only bully the person whose pride is not in check.

So what did this mean for me? I could not allow fear of failure to paralyze me. I had to release myself- humbly and intentionally- from self-inflicted condemnation.

When Jesus spoke with the woman caught in the act of adultery, after those who brought her cowered in guilt, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are your accusers?” She replied that none remained.

But I am often my own accuser. I am the one recounting my infractions and casting stones in my own soul. Where are my accusers? I’m the only left.

Jesus said to her, “Then neither do I accuse you.

But is God’s grace sufficient to extend to the rock in my hand?

“Go, and sin no more.”

And what if I pass those accusers on the streets or at the local gathering places? Do I look them in the eye? Do I veil my face? Do I cry unclean and walk to the other side? And as I turn to walk away, what if scattered about my path are the stones they once threw? The glaring looks, the painful insults, the cursory tones? What if they are everywhere around me?

“Go, and sin no more.”

As Jesus knelt to inscribe in the soil, some said he listed the sins of the accusers. Some said he wrote their names and told their stories. But as for me, I believe that Jesus saw me, shamed and shrinking. And seeing the stone I secretly harbored, he wrote with his finger, “That one too.”

We are all human and subject to making mistakes but it’s much harder to recover when you carry extra weight. Lay down the guilt. Forgive yourself. Walk through the shadow of the offense and don’t get trapped in it. Bounce back, fam! Recovery is available for you.

Now, back to counting calories! 😉