I am sorry for the long silence. Life got complicated. But I have been doing a lot of thinking, especially about what it takes to learn to live in the moment. And what obstacles we face in process. Have you ever considered that we face two big obstacles to living in the moment, our hold on the future and our hold on the past? And that those obstacles rob us of our joy? Over the next few days, I’d like to share with you what I have learned.
Look to the future, but Live in the Moment!
The problem with living in the future:
LIVING IN THE FUTURE THROUGH ANTICIPATION
The young have a way of living in the future through anticipation. You hear them say “I can’t wait until next year when I can do such and such.” They find it difficult, in fact, to be content in their circumstances because all they can see is what they are missing out on. They cannot wait to be allowed to go to the movies with friends, or drive a car, or go out on their first date. But as each new milestone is reached, they are still unhappy because they are already looking longingly at the next milestone – wishing it was already here. It is not only the really young who suffer from future living. Some more seasoned in life often live in a holding pattern waiting for that one change in finances, or housing, or relationships which will signify the point at which they can truly be happy.
LIVING IN THE FUTURE THROUGH WORRY
There is another kind of ‘living in the future’ that robs us of joy. It is when we spend our days worrying about the trouble tomorrow may bring. We worry about what we will do and how we will cope if certain things happen. We spend so much time living in tomorrow’s troubles that we miss what is happening in the here and now. Jesus himself tells us “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matt 6:34). It can be hard, but one way to stop worrying about the future is to refocus our time and energy on living fully in our today, to choose to live in this moment.
IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN
I think it is a good thing to have a plan for the future! But living in the future and planning for the future are two different things. On every page of God’s Word He reveals His plans. Ps. 40:5 says “Many O Lord my God are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them they would be too many to declare.” Jer 29:11 the Lord says “I know the plans that I have for you. Plans for welfare and not calamity. To give you a future and a hope.” By all means, plan for the future and hope for future, just don’t miss out on the significance of today because you live only in anticipation of tomorrow. Don’t miss the joy of today because you are living in the troubles of tomorrow. Live in the fullness of this moment.
Check back later this week and I will look at the obstacle of ‘living in the past’.