There is something incredibly hopeful about a fresh start. I suppose at one time or another we have all wanted to start again with a clean slate.
January is almost coming to a close and the question rests upon where people are at with their resolutions of the new year? Have you lost steam in accomplishing your goals? Or, are you increasing and meeting your goals with success? Depending on where one finds themselves in relation to the first day of the new year and today, we must take inventory of how we are progressing in our lives. Reading through the Ensign (published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The First Presidency Message focuses on the nature of repentance and how individuals are able to start off with a clean slate in their lives. President Uchtdorf provides an anecdote of how one purchases a new computer where the hard drive is fresh. However, over time, the computer becomes cluttered with all types of files and electronic debris:
I love getting a new computer with a clean hard drive. For a time it works perfectly. But as the days and weeks pass by and more and more programs get installed (some intentional, some not so intentional), eventually the computer begins to stall, and things it used to do quickly and efficiently become sluggish. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Even getting it to start can become a chore as the hard drive becomes cluttered with miscellaneous chaos and electronic debris. There are times when the only recourse is to reformat the computer and start over.
I recall numerous occasions where the arduous task of reformatting and re-installing the necessary software onto my own laptop took several hours to a couple of days. A task most do not look forward to. However, it is an essential task to complete in order to bring the device back to a more optimal state where the slate is fresh and clean. President Uchtdorf relates this to how we start off the new year with a fresh page, ready to be written upon. The past year being behind us.
Human beings can likewise become cluttered with fears, doubts, and burdensome guilt. The mistakes we have made (both intentional and unintentional) can weigh upon us until it may seem hard to do what we know we should.
In the case of sin, there is a wonderful reformatting process called repentance that allows us to clear our internal hard drives of the clutter that burdens our hearts. The gospel, through the miraculous and compassionate Atonement of Jesus Christ, shows us the way to cleanse our souls of the stain of sin and once again become new, pure, and as innocent as a child.
Our journey toward a more authentic Christian lifestyle ought to focus on the nature of establishing goals where our lives become transformed in such a way that we begin to find peace, empowerment, and a renewed sense of being. This transformation is not easy, and sometimes takes the necessary steps to reformat our own “hard drive” in which we can get back to a more operable sense of perception.
Maintaining and sustaining the journey of a transformed life is to picture a tree being planted. It takes years for the tree to grow. The experiences that will ever shape the tree, the shedding of leaves, the new growth of trees. The nurture it takes to ensure the health and vitality of the tree includes the necessary pruning. In our own lives, we must engage in the same process of pruning and nurturing one does in caring for a planted tree. However, this does not happen over night. It is not dependent on others. We are the caretakers of our own life. In order for us to live a truly transformed authentic Christian life, we must decide now to take action and plant our own tree.
This includes the pruning process of removing those things from our lives that have held us back, shedding of habits and sins that have led us down various paths. The more we nurture our spiritual lives, the more abundance our growth becomes and the more we root ourselves into the ground of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Again, how are you in fulfilling those new year resolutions? If you have not begun the process of transforming your life into a more authentic Christian lifestyle, take the time now to plant that spiritual tree and begin the process of nurturing it.