It takes courage to start over.
But doesn’t that sound a lot like giving up? It can feel that way. When I am invested in something, whether it is at work or in my relationship, and things are not going the way I planned, I want to fix it, to push, to fight to make things better.
But sometimes, the most courageous thing to do is to start over.
I don’t believe that starting over is giving up. Starting over is regrouping, giving some space, hitting the reset button and trying again. Sometimes with another. Sometimes on your own. And all of that takes courage.
This past summer, it took courage for my wife and I to agree that things weren’t working in our home and our marriage. It took great courage to stop trying to fix all the individual issues and to make the decision for me to move away for a while. It took courage to remain hopeful and optimistic and to hit the reset button on our marriage. And it took great courage to take the leap and choose to start over, together. We are stronger now than ever. And we no longer take each other for granted. It’s not perfect, but I don’t want perfect. I want to be brave and joyful and imperfect and messy.
In my job there are many days where I leave at the end of the day feeling like I have made a difference, where I know I am helping people and doing good work.
And there are just as many days when the students have left, I have completed my paperwork and rather than feeling like I have made a meaningful contribution, I feel absolutely defeated. Young people are going through heart wrenching challenges and despite our best efforts, we just can’t help. Parents, in their frustration, call and personally attack. Sometimes, we just can’t seem to get the work done that we need to get done and I wonder if I am competent to do what I have been entrusted to do.
And in that moment, I have to make a choice. I can give up. I can desperately try to fix what can’t be fixed. Or I can show myself some grace, know I did the best I could do that day, and have the courage to try again tomorrow.
Is there something in your life you are trying desperately to fix because you are afraid to start over? What small steps could you take today to courageously explore starting over?