Why do I think of it as an unspoiled opportunity - when it is actually (so far) non-existent?
We like the idea the new year is an opportunity to do better than we did the year before. We believe we can accomplish new goals and change our habits in the year that stretches ahead of us. We feel like we have a fresh start. We feel like we have all the time in the world. It is all ahead of us. We are very optimistic.
The problem is that we don't have the year. We don't even have today. We only have now - this very moment. Now is all the time we have. This instant is our only opportunity to act.
Want to break a bad habit? You must break it right now. Want to accomplish something important? Start it right now. Want to change the world? Do it now. And now, and now, and now.
You have to do everything at once. Right now I must do the things that are necessary for each of my roles and my goals in this moment. To the extent that I do that, I have been successful. I can't do all of everything at once, but I can do the parts that are appropriate to the moment in which I am living.
I am typing my blog. I am NOT eating cookies. I am planning my sermons for tomorrow. I am running the wash. I am preparing to pay bills. I am drinking my second quart of water. My mind is working on the things I studied this morning or read last night. I am thinking about my appointments for next week.
There are goals I have that will take a full year to accomplish. They require multiple steps that must be done in sequence. All that I need to do now (indeed, all I CAN do now) is the part that is required for this moment. Maybe that part is planning, or thinking, or writing it on a list or a calendar. The moment will come when more is required. Until then, I have other responsibilities and priorities and goals that are getting more of my focused attention.
We cannot handle a year at a time (or a month, or a week or a day.) Our success is in the moment!
In this moment we have all the time in the world. Right now, this instant, we can act.
(Ephesians 5:15-16) See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.