When I think of the phrase “live in the moment” my automatic response is negative. I think about how it’s so often used as an excuse for people to do whatever they want whenever they want. It looks good or sounds good or feels good right now, so why not? Consequences can be dealt with later.
I’ve been taught, as I think most people are, to focus on the future. The choices I make now will affect me later on. Sacrificing and working hard now will benefit me down the road. I’m going to college now and acquiring thousands [and thousands and thousands] of dollars of debt so I can get a good job later and then pay it all off. Everything has to be done with the future- with an end goal- in mind.
And let’s talk about the past. I don’t think we’re ever really taught to dwell on it but I think it’s human nature. And there are some really important lessons to be learned through past experiences, past successes and failures. But if we’re honest with ourselves, I don’t think many of us can say we have a very healthy relationship with the past. We let what-if’s and could-have’s run rampant through our conscience. We let shame and regret weigh our spirits down.
But what about the present? What about literally right now? We spend so much time dwelling on the past and worrying about the future that I don’t think we pay much attention at all to the actual moment in which we’re living.
And that kind of sucks because we miss out on so much!! My life today doesn’t consist of what happened to me yesterday or what will happen to me tomorrow, what should have happened or what could possibly happen. It consists of me sitting on my couch with my computer in my lap and a vanilla latte precariously balanced on the pillow next to me, keeping tabs on the bug crawling up and down the balcony door because I’m going to make my roommate kill it when she gets home.
Sometimes I think I limit God’s power to the past and the future. That’s where we look for Him most often, right? I look back and thank Him for rescuing and redeeming me, and I ask Him to go before me and make clear the path He wants me to take. And He was there in the past, and He will be there in the future. But He is also here right now!
He wants to walk with me to class on a rainy Tuesday morning. Maybe He has something great to show me on the way or maybe He just wants to spend some quiet time together. And that is not something to ignore or take for granted.
We can look back on situations and see God’s presence in hindsight. We can ask for God to be with us in the days to come. But the only time we can really, truly experience His presence is now. And that requires us to live in the moment. Not to forget about the past or neglect the future, but to live every day fully expectant that God is going to show up.
He is the God of yesterday and tomorrow, but He is also the God of today.
He is infinite, but He is here. He is timeless, but He is here. So I think we need to be here too.
“You make known to me the path of life. In Your presence there is fullness of joy, with eternal treasures at Your right hand.”
[Some of my ideas from this post came from the book “Life Is” by Judah Smith. He’s the coolest. You should read it.]