I’m sure you have heard that a couple times in your life. Usually, we take it in on the surface, without really embracing it in action. Being present is one of the most important things we can do in this life to live in the way God desires for us. It allows us to be aware of all of God’s creation, His miracles, His blessings, and especially His voice. Being present also helps us to truly love others and love ourselves in the way God designed.
Too often we are trained to not focus on the present moment. We are constantly running backwards into the past. We focus on our mistakes and end up defining ourselves and our worth by those few embarrassing or hurtful moments. When we are not hovering over the past, we are only thinking about the future. We are so caught up in planning what could be that we don’t see what is happening right under our feet. Being present allows us to appreciate God’s power in wiping away our past mistakes, and His power in holding our futures.
Let the past stay behind you…
People like to define us by our past. They define us by the mistakes we made in high school or college. They define us by that one mess-up at work. The good news is, God (the only viewpoint that matters) defines you differently. God defines you as new… every day. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22). God’s mercy is so great, His love is so unfathomable for you that every morning the slate is clean. With Him on our side, we are able to wake up and use our mistakes as an opportunity, instead of letting the chains of shame weigh us down!
When God sees you, He doesn’t see a broken person. When God sees you He doesn’t see your mistakes, He sees His masterpiece. Let the past stay behind you. Focusing on it will never change anything; it will only tear you down.
The past is behind you, and the cross is before you.
Let the future be in the future…
Humans love efficiency, we love speed. “The sooner the better,” right? Well this shouldn’t be the case. We go through life reaching so far ahead of ourselves that we miss out on the here and the now. All of us set goals, but all we see is the goal. Most of the time, we ignore the moments leading up to the goal. For example.. it is like we are on a road trip on our way to Disney World. We’re in the back seat, only focusing on getting to Disney. We aren’t paying attention to anything else. We’re constantly saying, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” The entire ride to Disney is wasted because we were focusing on the future.
The alternate scenario is that we’re on a way to Disney World. On our way we’re focused on the ride. We pay attention to each state we’re passing through. In the present moment, we notice the change in surroundings, the change in temperature. We truly embrace the journey to Disney, as a separate event. Doesn’t that sound more enjoyable then constantly waiting for your goals? Constantly waiting for the outcome we desire? “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Another very important aspect to letting the future be in the future, is by understanding that God makes the plans, we are just to follow. It is not the other way around. The creator of the whole universe, the one who controls the outcome, is holding our futures. So why do we try so hard to control it? God blesses us with the peace to know He is holding us, we need only to be still… be present.
“Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34).
What happens if we are present?
Being present will allow us to appreciate all of the small things that make this life worth living. It’ll help us to express both love and gratitude towards others. Being present will allow us to seize opportunities presented to us. In order to hear God’s voice (that still small voice) we must be present and aware.
“Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” (Isaiah 43:19).
Don’t miss out on what God is able to do in your life, right now!