Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This passage from Matthew numbers among the most absurd of requests that the gospels make of spiritual people. Imagine not being anxious about tomorrow. How is that supposed to work? Human beings are rarely able to work that way once we are out in the world on our own. We are most often torn between our inevitable concerns about what comes next and our troubling capacity for reimagining the past. Being fully present at any given moment is a wild and notable exercise.
Additionally, the case could be fairly made that, for most of us, the troubles of the day might have been aided remarkably had we been a little more anxious about them a little earlier on. Still though, when I see all the new faces at the gym this morning, I cannot help but reflect that perhaps what Matthew had in mind was the New Year’s resolution. Why do we insist on making such trouble for ourselves?
The temptations not only to make resolutions for the coming year, but to render assessment of last year’s accomplishments, remind me of just how arbitrary it seems to engage in the practice. It’s not that I haven’t had my flirtations with making resolutions, I have. Though whether long detailed lists or short and pithy, I find that where I can control the list, I cannot control the circumstances of the list’s fulfillment. Now, perhaps you are the sort of person who can render a list on January one, and neatly tick off every item by December 31, but I have found that such lists are almost always an invitation to admit defeat once again as the cycle renews.
Still, while I no longer engage in crafting a list each year, there is no shortage of habits, practices, and pursuits that could improve my life. But I find that I am never ready for all of them at once at the turn of the year.
Having goals is a worthy thing of course, and they are generally a great pleasure to accomplish, but I have found it infinitely more useful, in my own life, to renew a single resolution, year after year and, year after year, move incrementally closer to attainment. Namely, I resolve to take what Life offers, moment by moment, and be as grateful as it is possible for me to be at the time.
So, whether you are a Domestic Resolutionary or a Laissez-Faire Liver of Life, I hope for you that not only will this new year be blessed, but that you will deepen your awareness of the blessings.