In my teaching career I have found myself murmuring this sentiment to myself more than once on those occasional days where no one seems to be obeying like they should. The students know what I expect, so why do they find the need to test the boundaries from time to time? Could they really have “forgotten” what I have told them time and time again? Their shortcomings can be so exasperating at times. They know better and I am disappointed when they regress.
Now, as a full-time stay-at-home mom, I am experiencing the same conundrum in a slightly different format. After months of sleep deprivation, I feel that we have finally made a breakthrough with my daughter. She fought, struggled, and resisted my efforts to put her to sleep every night and once she finally fell asleep she would wake up several times to repeat the process. She finally started to turn a corner though, and bedtime became less a battle. I began to feel like I wasn’t sleepwalking through every day.
Then, a string of “bad” nights occurred and all the old problems crept up again. “Hadn’t we conquered this already?” I whined as I dragged myself out of bed for the fifth time in an hour.
I feel the same frustrations when I read about the Children of Israel’s repeated mistakes. Why couldn’t they learn and move past making the same blunders?
Maybe I have missed seeing the same sad pattern repeated in my life. Those cherished sins I thought I had banished for good keep cropping up. I know better but somehow fall into the same rut time and time again.
The Apostle Paul went through the same struggle. “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Romans 7:18, 19).
Fortunately, God isn’t giving up on me. Every day, He offers me the gift of a fresh start and a clean heart if I am willing. He has promised to stay beside me on this journey for every step of the way.