We have all heard the stats on the failures of New Year’s resolutions. A recent study found that only 8% of Americans who made one kept it all year. And a full 80% failed by the end of January. If you are a few days into your diet, increased exercise routine, or some other activity, by all means, I hope you make it!
But as I’ve been thinking about 2020 coming to a close and 2021 beginning, I get exhausted thinking about a growing list of things I need to do (or do better, or more of). Instead, it seems that God is gently reminding me now more than ever the importance of “being” over “doing” or “passive” over “active.”
In John 15:6, Jesus states that, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in me and I in them will produce much fruit.” The primary objective that Jesus declares is to “abide” or “remain” IN HIM. He wants us to be aware of Him, mindful of his overwhelming and gentle love that he has for us. To recognize his presence means that we might have to actually stop doing something, slow down, pause, or rest.
A disconnected branch will never bear fruit no matter how much it tries or what it does. In fact, if we are focused on doing, we may miss the whole point of simply recognizing and tuning into God’s Spirit already with us. The fruit is the result of being connected to the source or the branch. Jesus not only spoke about this, but lived it out by constantly stopping, going off on his own to reflect and be with the Father.
Another example used throughout the old and new testament is the illustration of the potter and the clay. We’ve undoubtedly heard this numerous times, but think about the role of clay in that relationship. As much as clay can try to form itself, it’s the potter who transforms it when his hand is connected to the clay. It’s a passive process by the clay and active for the potter. The potter created me, sees me as HIS beloved, beautiful child and knows exactly who I truly am and am to be. This process begins with a letting go of whatever I am holding onto, finding rest in the presence of the Good Father, and allowing him to remind me who he really is as he works in and through me.
So as we go about our lives in the days and months ahead in 2021, maybe your challenge is to not resolve to do another thing this year or add another box to your ongoing checklist (and then feel guilty when you don’t get all those things done!) Maybe this is the season to rest, to abide, to remain, to let go, and to BE in the presence of the Lord by actually DOING less.