One of my many and varied problems with life is the constant desire of my brain to live for the next thing. You know the senario, to get through the day you think of the great thing that will happen in the evening, to get through the week you ponder the weekend, to get through the weekend you think about the next weekend and so on. The problem is I fail to live right now. Right here.
Why is that a problem is a fair question. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to the weekend, nothing wrong with planning for the future, nothing wrong with anticipation. The problem comes when that is ALL I do, when all I think about and focus on is stuff that is not happening right in front of me. I fail to be present in the moment right here and now. That’s a massive problem because it drags me away from experiencing God, from loving people, from being focused on what I am doing, from a whole host of relating to people moments.
I wish my work day away and fail to love and honour my work colleauges. I wish church meetings away and fail to love the people in my family, I dream of fantasy futures and yet fail to love the person in front of me today. I escape this life right and now because it is too hard. I also miss out on the joys and wonder of this present moment – I feel guilty about all the people ‘out there’ I am failing to love but miss out on the person God has put in front of me today to love and serve. I worry about the millions of injustices in the world (well I do sometimes) and fail to act and treat the colleague in the next desk over from me with love and justice.
We’re called to live right here, right now. To know that the One who rules creation, who made us and chose us before the creation of the world has the future in His hands. And the only way I can experience His work is to be in this present moment, not wishing it away but asking for the Spirit to guide, to enable me to love and take note of the people in front of me. I am SO bad at this. A fact I am realising every day. I constantly plan for future events, constantly work out my weeks so each moment is planned carefully for maximum enjoyment and comfort. By doing this I think I may be missing out on stuff God wants me to do that I am not in control of.
What happens now? What is the way forward? My ultimate future is secure. There are several possible futures of my life until then, some more likely than others. I know none of these for certain. What I do know is tomorrow I will get up, I will go to work and I will face the challenge of working hard, loving my colleagues, being there with them, or whiling the hours away until I cycle home, until the weekend and my birthday fun. It’s a flipping battle to do this, to stay in the present, but it’s one worth fighting, because I might just catch a glimpse of what God wants me to be doing tomorrow. I might just catch a glimpse of His love, power and glory because he dwells in This Moment. Future in His hands, Past dealt with. He is here. The one who was and IS and is to come. We live in the ‘IS’ and I long, I long to experience that now and tomorrow as I wake and know that He is still with me.
I also have a sneaking suspicison that the elusive Shalom that we all crave in our lives might come from this way of living, less running around trying to prove my worth in all the many things I am doing and more loving the people in my life today. Hmm.