“When we don’t live in “the moment” we are either longing to be somewhere in the future or regretting something in the past. It may sound like a drastic statement when I say this but when we are not present in the moment, GOD IS UNABLE TO USE US IN THOSE MOMENTS to be aware of people with needs. ”
One of the biggest problems I have encountered in my life is wanting to escape from hard or difficult or boring places. If I didn’t like my class, I would skip it, or, if I couldn’t skip it, I would mentally and spiritually check out of it. Daydreaming was a HUGE problem for me because when you daydream, you are wanting to be somewhere in the future…but when the future arrives, guess what? You are in the present moment again. I was the Houdini of St. Bartholomew Catholic School. I can’t count the number of times a teacher would catch me looking out the window longing to be somewhere else. One of my teachers would throw a basketball at you if you were daydreaming or asleep. I had my fair share of basketball bruises. But I wasn’t just an escape artist in class.
Even in business as a sales person, or consultant or whatever fancy word you want to use for a guy that sells stuff, I would escape during the day to go have coffee, take a long lunch…not the most productive employee.
Maybe you did that too. But as I look back on it, I realize that what I missed during those times was far more than Math or Geography or sales opportunities.
When I would escape in my mind to other places, I failed to recognize that God was in the present moment with His grace. He was there to lend a helping hand or give grace to me to learn the things I found boring. It wasn’t just the time that I squandered, I missed out on being in the moment and the potential of what could have happened had I paid attention.
Over the last few years I have become a student of “present moment” awareness. No, I’m not an Eckhardt Tolle disciple, I’m a disciple of Jesus, but let me tell you something. Tolle discovered a truth that originated with Jesus.
“ Be still and Know that I am God” “ The Kingdom of God is within you” (or in your midst) Tolle discovered that when he was quiet, or as he says, “sat in Stillness” he would quiet the noise in his mind and the worries and cares of life would melt away. The answers to the problems of life as well as new creativity lie in being still before the Lord. Scripture teaches us to not think about the future because it produces worry and anxiousness.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
When we don’t live in “the moment” we are either longing to be somewhere in the future or regretting something in the past. It may sound like a drastic statement when I say this but when we are not present in the moment, GOD IS UNABLE TO USE US IN THOSE MOMENTS to be aware of people with needs.
Now I don’t want to make a blanket statement and I don’t want this to sound unkind, but I find that many Christians are great when it comes to being reality escape artists. We are either in our minds being busy worrying about finances, family, job or whatever, OR we are regretting something we have done in our past. We waste time not believing we are forgiven and getting weighed down in our lives to the point that we wouldn’t recognize it if Jesus was sitting in the front passenger seat of our cars.
We are also really good at believing that our spiritual gifts are reserved for the Sunday, “sit down while someone talks to you” that many describe as “Church”. I’m not your Pastor, so you don’t have to listen to me if you don’t want to, but the percentage of time we use our gifts in sit down Pastor taught “Church” should be about 10% the other 90% is for the world in my opinion.
If you are aware of your surroundings Sunday -Saturday, you will notice dozens if not hundreds of opportunities to use your gift to minister in public. It is what the world needs right now. They need the visual of a church that is active in society. Millennials are crying for mentors to show them what Christianity looks like in this millennium. I believe it is an active, living, BOLD way of life.
Worrying about the Past…a ploy of your enemy.
Have you ever found yourself arguing in your car, or in a room in your house with someone who isn’t there? I used to do this all the time. I would re-hash the argument I had or one that I WISHED I’d had with a co-worker, or family member. I remember one day being so involved in an argument with no one in my front seat that the person in the car next to me at the light was just staring at me.
Can you see how re-living a past situation affected my peace of mind and blinded me to what was happening around me? I learned that I cannot change the past and so I stopped arguing with it. It was stealing my attention away from what God wanted to do around me. I rarely had any interaction with people on a daily basis with respect to a God moment. It’s because as I said before, when we are occupied in the present with the future or the past, God cannot use us for His work in the present moment.
Worry about the future like money, jobs, how your going to pay for college, where will I get the money for Christmas, how do I pay that bill? and regrets about the past; (Why didn’t I finish college?, I should have taken that other job!, If I had only done this differently or that differently) are all ploys of the enemy of your soul to keep you asleep, unconscious. The way he does this is to keep you from seeing the people God wants you to love by occupying your mind with worry, guilt about the past, or fear of the future.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:6-8)
(When someone is “sober” we say they are aware of their surroundings, alert, responsive)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
What does he devour? Well, in this case, he devours the opportunities God wanted to bring your way to affect the world for Jesus by keeping your focus on your past or future.
Nature does not worry about the Future or Regret the Past
““Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)
Think about all the time you’ll save, the amount of peace you will have and the awareness that is now freed up because you are not thinking on fear of the future or regrets of the past.
A new renaissance of reaping awaits those who step out in boldness and begin to seek opportunities to engage with others.