“Here’s my point: the solution to an overbusy life is not more time. It’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.” ― John Mark Comer.
In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy is lecturing Charlie Brown. She says “Charlie Brown, life is a lot like a deck chair. Some place it so they can see where they’re going. Others place it to see where they’ve been. And some so they can see where they are at the present.” Charlie Brown sighs and says, “Lucy, I can’t even get my deck chair unfolded.”
Lucy has a point. Some people are constantly looking back at the past; they are so caught up in what used to be that they are missing what is, and have no room to think about what is to come. There are others who live for the moment. The only thing they are concerned about is what’s going on right now. There are still others who insist on focusing on the future alone and keep their attention on what lies ahead.
Psalm 32:8 reminds us that the Lord will “…guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” That verse is reassuring. God wants to teach us which paths to travel on. He has a plan and a purpose for you but it begins with you putting your hope in Him.
Therein lies the difficulty: it seems easier to put your hope in yourself and your ability to create the future you want by keeping your eyes fixed on things you think you can control. The reality, however, is that you miss out on an important part of your life when you don’t live in the present moment God has given you. He has a daily mission for you, and it matters. God wants to teach you something. He has handcrafted moments for you today. Being present in the present is truly a gift. It’s a gift we receive from our Father above as well as a gift we can give to those around us.
Part of living day-to-day means focusing on the now rather than worrying about the future or fretting over the past. Jesus gives explicit instructions in this regard in Matthew 6:34: “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Our problems can seem insurmountable when we start worrying about the future. That’s why Jesus tells us to live in the present by taking a day-by-day approach. Think about what is happening right now. Train yourself not to think about what might happen a week, two weeks, or ten years down the line: think about what today requires of you. The future is important but it starts today.
This process may feel alien to you. We’d much rather worry about everything coming because that makes us feel like we have control over it, and we can do something about it. But we depend on God, not ourselves—and so learning to live in the moment is important.
- Let go of the past, plan for the future, but live in the present: Which of those three is the most difficult in your opinion?
- What can you do this week to live more in the present spirtually?