I live in my head too much. I get lost in worrying about tomorrow, regretting the past, and the fantasy of wants and wishes: so much so that I easily miss what’s in front of me. Life happens in the moments, and I too often miss them.
Worrying about tomorrow is easy. It’s almost natural to fret about what might happen. The “what ifs” of life lure my mind into focusing on the unknown future:
What if our son gets sick or has an accident? He hopes to become a police officer: what if he gets shot? What if he loses his joy in life from seeing all the evil? What if my husband gets hurt? What if the country falls apart because of the political divide? Will life ever be the same after this pandemic?
Another trap is fantasizing about the perfect life I could have if only:
If only I were smarter. If only I were more outgoing and bolder. If only my husband did exactly what I wanted him to do or my child lived his life according to my plan. Others might say: If only I were married. If only I had children. If I could get that job I want. If I had more money. If I were healthier.
None of these scenarios are real: they may or may not happen. But reality is what’s happening right now. My husband is with me and needs my love. Am I fully engaging with him? Our son is well and needs my support. What can I do while I have the opportunity?
I can keep living my life and enjoy what I have. I can make the most of the opportunities and resources God has given me right now.
Other times, the past haunts me, reminding me of all I said and did. Regrets attack my mind:
Why didn’t I speak to the person God brought to me yesterday? Why did I say what I did? I wasted so much time last week. What if I’d made that decision when I was a teenager? I blew it when my child was little. I should have… Why did I… I can’t believe I…
The truth is the past no longer exists and the future isn’t here yet. We can become so obsessed with our past regrets and plans for tomorrow that we aren’t experiencing our present lives.
Life is happening as I take this breath where I am. Am I loving the person in front of me? Am I communing with my heavenly Father? Are my hands busy with the task God has given me? What can I do right here and now to speak life, honor God, love others, and use my gifts?
I need to live in the present remembering Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).I need to live in the present remembering Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Click To Tweet Life is happening this second. I don’t want to miss it.
But living this way is hard. Last night my mind was bombarded with memories of failure from the past and fears of future loss. Our minds are the battlefield. We can’t suddenly have complete victory over all debilitating thoughts. We must take one thought at a time. We must begin by replacing the lie in our minds right now with truth. Using Scripture, prayer, and praise, we must resist the pull to yield to this way of thinking and submit our minds to Christ. We must keep fighting. We must turn our focus to our current reality and live in it.
Help me, Jesus. Help me to live in the present and accept the reality in front of me. Help me to know the past is covered with grace and the future is in Your hands. Dear Holy Spirit, focus my mind and heart on You and listening to how You want me to live now.
Are you missing the life that’s in front of you? What steps can you take to live more in the present?
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