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Britney Spears’ lyrics from her signature hit, “Oops!…I Did It Again”, which tells the story of a girl playing with another’s emotions and stating, “I’m Not That Innocent”, reminds me of my own tendency to do the wrong thing and then play mind games with myself in an attempt to justify my behavior.

This past weekend was one of those times. It was my birthday and I wanted things to go a particular way. And then it happened. Life interrupted my plans. Instead of trusting God with my disappointment, I chose to act like a 5 year old who didn’t get her way. “But it’s my birthday!” hear the justification?

One of my issues is my mouth. I try hard to think before I speak. I’m making some progress. But once you’ve said something it’s kind of hard to take it back. It’s out there, in all it’s glory. And my words were out there. Ugh. Oops, I did it again.

“This time will be different.” I’ve said it, and so have you. Whether our struggle is overeating, compulsive shopping, gossiping, or something less obvious to others, such as our thought life, we “want” things to be different. We “resolve” to change our behavior. Only to find it isn’t easy. In fact, the harder we try, the greater the disappointment when we fail. I suspect Paul understood this phenomenon all too well as he described his battle with wanting to do good but doing the opposite: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15).

In the past, I would have emotionally beaten myself up after showing out like I did. I’d have “should” all over myself: “I should’ve said…not….”. I would have spent hours, maybe days in the abyss of shame.

This time, instead of being hard on myself for my “again”, I am reminded I am part of the human race. Imperfect. This does not, however, give me license to sit on my laurels waiting for God to change me. Nor does it mean I can rationalize my “again” because of my sin nature, which serves to cheapen Christ’s amazing grace.

My “again” keeps me humble. As I’m sure it did Paul. It keeps me clinging to the cross; hungering and thirsting for more of Christ, less of me.

What about you? Are you embracing your “again” or are you justifying? Wherever you are, it’s ok. God’s love for you is NOT based on your performance.

May you walk in the grace of His presence though all of your “agains”,