We’re still in January, the annual month-long festival of goals and new opportunities.
I love new beginnings. A new chance is always good news, a reminder that everything is grace. But I also know this season of new-life-new-me declarations and goal setting can weigh heavy.
After all, what’s our track record? Most resolutions fail. (See here and here for why, and what we can do about it.) Many of our new life commitments result in tiny incremental change. Even worse, sometimes their biggest impact is more guilt and shame. That’s true whether we’re talking about health, happiness or our spiritual journey.
So, should we swear off the whole thing?
Never! These opportunities to begin again matter. But there is something we can do that might lift some of the weight. Maturing spiritually doesn’t have to be a slog. How can we move forward in growth, without all that weight?
Try thinking a bit differently.
Instead of focusing on the big impressive goal—like how you’re going to read the Bible through in three months, or lose fifty pounds, or radically change your parenting—shift your thinking.
Think about today. Just today.
God will meet you in this moment.
No matter what goals you’ve set about your future, the truth is that the only moment that matters is this one right now. This one present moment you are actually living in.
This moment is the one where you can make choices. You can’t do that for moments in the past or even moments yet to come.
This moment is the one where you can reflect on what you’re experiencing. (And reflection is how we grow!)
More importantly, this moment is the only moment where your life and God’s existence intersect. If you’re going to be conscious of God’s presence, that’s only going to happen in this one present moment.
That’s important when considering those big life change goals you’ve committed to. You will only ever move toward that goal in a moment-by-moment one-day-at-a-time fashion.
There are no short-cuts. There’s no secret sauce that cuts hard work — no magic spells or perfect prayers. There’s just today, and the choice you’re making right now.
Jesus told us, “don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:34 ) Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth that the best time to act is right now, when he said, “Now is the day of Salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2)
Right now. This is the day.
So, if you want this to be a better year, if you have goals of growing, how are you going to get there?
By making choices in the one moment, you are in that align with who you want to become. This one present moment is all there really is. The attention and presence and work you put in right now is the building block of who you are becoming.