I’ll bet you didn’t know that life was meant to be lived one day at a time. The crazy world we live in is always traveling at one hundred miles per hour. We have access to information at our fingertips that we would not have even dreamed of in the past. If the computer takes 3 seconds to load an image we smack the keyboard and say, “Cumon!!!” A consequence of living life at that frenetic pace is that we often forget to slow it down a little and live our life in the moment. Most people spend inordinate amounts of time either in the past or in the future. My wife even bought me a plaque that I have in my office that says, “Don’t let yesterday use up TOO much of TODAY!” (Will Rogers) In reality, the future and the past don’t really belong to us. The past is past and there is nothing we can do to change it. Logically if there is nothing we can do about the past, why would we give it so much importance in our lives today? How many people do you know that complain about how they grew up; how mean their daddy was; or how this person or that person didn’t do what they should have done? All of those concerns may be completely valid, but why let them affect the “right now?” What daddy did or said when I was a kid doesn’t have to have anything to do with who I am today, that is of course, unless I allow it to. The twelve-year-old me is long gone, so why spend mental time telling him how he should have been treated? How he was treated is how he was treated and like my wife is fond of saying, “it is what it is…” Maybe you grew up without necessary resources. Maybe you didn’t get enough love. Maybe you were born with some disability or other issue that troubles you. In the end, it is what it is, or it was what it was. Maybe you did something wrong; really, really, awfully terribly wrong! Well what you did then was based on what you knew then and perhaps today you know a little better. You can’t possibly live your life today in light of yesterday. The only sound, reasonable thing for you to do is move ahead. Thank God for forgiving you, get up and move ahead. The great error in living in the past is not whatever it is you already did, it is in refusing to move ahead. Stuck in the past like some kind of skeleton only serves to rob you of the life you can live today! And, the truth is that the people of your past were only doing what seemed reasonable to them at that time. Hey, maybe their dad was mean to them and they learned that kids only respond to cruelty. Sure that’s wrong, but all a person has to work with is what he knows (at the time). Maybe, just maybe those terrible folk were all caught up and distracted by their own concerns. Sometimes people just don’t know the potential affect their words and actions have on other people. I’m not trying to excuse anything that “was” bad, I’m just trying to point out the verb, “was” which always refers to the past. Just in case you think I dreamed this idea up on my own, here’s what God says about the past (and you can trust Him, right?):
Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. (Philippians 3:13 Common English Bible)
So our job is simply to obey. The only way to forget the past is by replacing it with the right now! See the point? Stop allowing the past to have power over you today because it can only take as much power as you give it! Move ahead…
Now the next thing to consider is the future. The future, like the past, is also not here right now. Certainly you should plan for the future but spending each day imagining what things will be like when such and such happens in the future is not good. How many people do you know that are delaying living today for some future thing that isn’t guaranteed anyway? Once I get my money right I will be happy. When I get my new job I will be happy. When I find the perfect wife/husband, then will I be happy. When it is finally the weekend, then I am going to have fun. Can you see the futility in that mindset? Let’s say it takes you 6 months to find and get the perfect job (and I’m just using a kind estimate). 6 months is roughly 182 days. So, you are going to spend 182 days being unhappy and trying to live in the future. 182 days! What if that “something” took 5 years? Hmmmm? We all have aspirations and dreams for the future, but trying to live there before we get there is like using the credit card. You always have to pay in the end! What if we are afraid of some future event? Wasn’t it Mark Twain that said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Most of the things we dread and waste away our valuable lives upon never actually happen. And, they are almost always in the future! That’s why you can’t spend anytime researching on WebMD. Before you know it, you’ve got that disease and several others (smile). Let the future belong to God because He is the only One that knows it anyway! And along the way, when you are tempted to be worried about the future, give it all to Him and mention that it belongs to Him anyway and you would appreciate Him making it work out nice! (Also in Philippians hmmmm… Chapter 4:6ff)
Finally we arrive at today! Today, my friends, you can do something about. You can decide today to let the past go (yes that means everything from just now, I mean just now, well just now…lol you get the point!) You can decide not to live in the future goodness or the future dreads. You can choose to give today all you’ve got. Be in the moment. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy that person sitting next to you (oh and forget their past as well). Enjoy your current job and make some plans for your future job. Enjoy the beauty and variety of life that God has already made for you! Look outside man, look how awesome it is. I got the Bible verse because I know you were doubting me…
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)
Dale Carnegie said, “live in day tight compartments!” (just in case you didn’t trust what Jesus said! ha)
You and I have enough to take on day by day without rashly adding the cares from the past and the cares of tomorrow. Make today, in fact, make right now just the best it can possibly be. Be that future guy/gal right now! Don’t wait for anything to happen, make it happen right now! And along the way as you get better and better at living one day at a time, you will find that your future will be as bright as the promises of God!
Happy Turkey Day!