It's like driving a vehicle. We plan our route in advance and we generally know where we are going, so our most pressing need is to be aware of our most immediate surroundings, looking only far enough ahead on occasion to prepare ourselves for what is coming. We occasionally check the rear view mirrors for the same reason.
When we drive, if we try to look too far ahead, the road gets dark and unknown. If we look too long in the rear view mirror, we lose track of where we are going and run off the road, often to dire consequences.
Emotional health - and living in the present - is similar to this. Too often we spend our life looking back, hoping for a different past. Or we continually look forward in fear and catastrophize the future.
Do you look at the past with regret? "If only..."
Do you look at the future in fear? "What if...???"
Dwelling on the past is unproductive and pointless. It takes our mind and attention off the joy that is right in front of us. Being anxious about the negative and the bad that might happen in the future is also a waste of energy and futile speculation. It drains today of its life.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:34 MSGLike driving a vehicle, we need to fully aware and increase our skills in the present task. What is immediately in front of me to do? Am I taking time to enjoy the ride? Do I notice the good things that are present every day or do I walk by them, oblivious, as I bemoan what happened yesterday or become obsessed with fear about what might happen tomorrow.
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. I Cor. 15:58 MSGLearn to trust God for the here-and-now. As the 2 Tim. 1:7 promises, "He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." KJV
As my brother loves to paraphrase: "He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power (so we won't give up) and love (so we won't flare up) and a sound mind (so we won't crack up)."
Be fearless, powerful, loving and level headed today. It's a gift. Enjoy the present.