I’m not a big fan of new year resolutions. It could be that I have a terrible track record keeping them.

But this year I decided that I need to take better care of my health.

I’m a terrible binge-eater. I don’t bring a lunch (there’s rarely a break long enough to enjoy it anyway), I rarely eat breakfast (I have no appetite at 6:00 am), so I’m starving by the time I get home. Whatever carb is most accessible in the cupboard is my usual go-to.

So, I decided I need to do better.

Starting With Salad

I wanted to have a little fun with forming these new habits, so January was called “Salad January.” I informed Amy and my staff and some even jumped on the salad wagon with me. Accountability always helps, right?

It was a terrible idea.

Salads are awful.

Jumping into February, I adopted “No Sugar February.”

This, too, is hard.

Everything has sugar. Especially the bulk cookies that students bring me for Valentine’s Day.

Halfway through February, I walked into the staff room with a deep craving for a New York cheesecake (the mind does funny things when you deprive yourself). A couple staff members in there at the time laughed at my struggles with “no sugar February.”  I shrugged it off and “enjoyed” my avocado and toast (I’m that guy now!).

A Sweet Surprise

The next day, a staff member surprised me with a little slice of cheesecake.

It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s the small things that count. There’s something about the Lord’s timing in community—gentle reminders that his joy is found even in the smallest of places (or pieces in this case).

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). I’m deeply appreciative of the care our staff shows for one another day-after-day.

Encouragement on the whiteboards, sassy jokes and comments around the staff room, and the small gestures of gratitude…like cheesecake. It may not seem like much, but these small gestures are great reminders of the richness of community and God’s boundless love for each of us.

Full disclosure: I ate the cheesecake during no sugar February.

It. Was. Delicious. Joy does come in small slices!