Commentary by Chaplain (Maj.) Eric Park, 199th Infantry Brigade
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Jan. 28, 2018) – This year has arrived, and no doubt many of you made New Year’s resolutions. We’re not 30 days into the New Year, and I’m sure many are still successfully sticking to those resolutions while some of us are picking ourselves up from falling off that bandwagon.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution status, we all look to the New Year because we are hopeful for something better. The date, Jan. 1, gives us a point of reference, a time where we are psychologically and emotionally primed to begin our journey into the new-and-improved. The occasion aptly gives us the incentive to make our best attempt.
Many of us go through this exact same ritual: begin anew and put aside the old throughout the year. If we honestly think about how and why we participate in this annual tradition, we are not changing but repeating the same things that make us want to do things differently, again, next year.
Let me just state for the record, I fully support the New Year’s resolution concept. I would like, however, for us to consider a different approach. Rather than focus on a habit, an event or an action, I would like to recommend that we take the time to think about practicing a discipline. What kind of disciplines? How about the obvious ones, the ones we all know about, talk about, but rarely do anything about. How about, for example, patience, stewardship, or consistency?
It may be stating the obvious, but I believe it’s true. We need not overthink things or go way outside of ourselves to realize that true change requires transformation and that transformation requires us to live by what values guide us.
This year, pick one area you feel is of the greatest significance to you. If you want to lose weight, think of it as this is the year you focus on your health and not just your weight. If you want to save more money for your and your family’s future, rather than think about spending less, think of your money as the resource you will responsibly manage rather hoard.
In the Christian text of Philippians 3:13-14, the apostle Paul said, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Paul focused on the one most precious and irreplaceable truth in his life, and that was his faith in his Lord and Savior. His faith and the discipline of being persistent in it was his transformative guiding principle and discipline. I believe if we allow ourselves to look at goals with a focus on discipline and the value it embodies, we will soon not only see results we desire but also the transformation that will ensure ongoing blessings. The resulting peace of mind in heart, mind and spirit may finally help us stop seeking changes that are temporary and seeking a renewal that is eternal.
For God and Country.
CH (MAJ) Eric Park
199th Infantry Brigade
Fort Benning, GA 31905