FORT IRWIN (January 2019) — Every year we create New Year’s resolutions so that we can create a better version of ourselves. But we often fail to follow through with these resolutions before February hits. Why do we so often fail to meet our goals? It is often because of an obsession of our past or future.
Your past tries to remind you of who you were. Your future seems like a distant, unreachable goal. These two forces keep you distracted enough to avoid the present moment.
You look around and see other people achieving their goals. Your Instagram feed is fill with selfies at the gym and people creating woodworking masterpieces. A sense of shame creeps up on you leaving you wondering why you are not where you are “supposed” to be.
Even people with good intentions can inadvertently guilt us info feeling that we have not yet arrived. People may praise you may say that you have a great future ahead of you. However, these sentiments leave us feeling that we have so much further to go and that who we are now is not enough.
One passage in the Bible reads, Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
(John 15:4, NIV)
Here, Jesus tells His disciples to bear fruit or to be productive for God. But the wisdom He shares is that we bear fruit by remaining in Him. The focus is to root their identities in God. Fruit bearing is merely a by-product of being faithful to the present presence of God.
Fruit will naturally come. Do not obsess over who you were or who you think you’re supposed to be. Instead, the invitation is to remain in God right now just as you are and that is enough. Simply dwelling and being aware of God’s presence is the daily practice that will produce sustaining fruit that lasts.
Resolutions are important. They help us achieve our dreams for ourselves. But before we develop our future selves, we must take the time to become aware of where we are now.
In land navigation, the destination is useless unless we know exactly where we are in the present moment. It is only then that we can get to our desired destination. And this movement toward a destination is marked with a continuous awareness of where we are along the journey.
As you work through your resolutions, take time to reflect on where you are now. See yourself not with eyes of who you’ve been or who you’re supposed to be; instead see how God sees you. You are far from perfect and yet God, in His eternal generosity, gladly extended grace to dwell with us. Leave your past in the past. Tomorrow you have more to go. But in this present moment, take time to dwell with God and you will find that you have already arrived.
Editor’s note: Chaplain (Cpt.) Daniel Kim is the 11ACR, Regimental Support Squadron Chaplain. He loves playing board games with Soldiers, building Legos with his kids, and thinking about how to be more hospitable to others.