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Don't Give Up On Yourself This New Year

Editor’s Note: In a nod to our Presbyterian heritage, we regularly feature a column from a PMMA® chaplain in our newsletter. This month’s column comes from Robert “Bob” Giffin, chaplain at Topeka Presbyterian Manor®.


Strike one! Ok, that’s just one. Two more chances. Strike two! Golly geezers. Ok, no panic here. One more chance. Strike…

As we start 2023, another new year with more new beginnings and more new starts, there will be more opportunities for success. And yes, more opportunities to strike out. In fact, it seems we are better at striking out than succeeding! If that sounds like you, well, you’re in good company!

• Babe Ruth is most famous for hitting 714 home runs. But he struck out 1,330 times.

• Abraham Lincoln, whose face is famously enshrined on Mount Rushmore, struck out in all of his eight election bids before finally winning one and becoming the 16th President of the United States.

• Thomas Edison struck out 10,000 times to invent the light bulb. But he didn’t consider all those strike outs to be failures. “I have not failed 10,000 times,” Edison said, “I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

Babe Ruth, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Edison share common ground: they never gave up. They kept taking swings at their goals.

I played a lot of whiffle ball in the back yard with my five kids. I could throw a wicked curve and a swift fastball! But, as my friend Glen used to say: “Here’s the deal.” The deal is that it was never strike three on them! No matter how many times they swung and missed at what could have been strike three, it never was “strike three”: they were never called out for swinging and missing. I wanted them to keep trying because sooner or later I knew they’d get a hit.

Millions of Americans have already made resolutions for this New Year. Resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking, save money…all good and noble goals and yet, 88% fail in keeping their resolution. The strike out rate on resolutions is pretty high, but that does not have to include you! If you fall, get up. If you miss, swing again. Don’t give up on you in 2023!

Writing to a people and a church that was struggling to be successful, the Apostle Paul said: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).

Resources: Failed Inventions of Thomas Alva Edison

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