Monday, May 16, 2011

Today's Present

All of us have mood swings to some degree depending on circumstances, health, diet, and so on. Some of us have wider swings than others. Still a few have emotional illness that cripples life. A friend recently shared with me the importance of being present in the moment in order to not be emotionally bound by shame or fear.

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 MSG 
Like 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  MSG
Learn 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.

2 comments:

  1. For many years I struggled on the rollercoaster of out of control emotions, I was up one minute and in the depths of despair the next. I had many what if's and regrets about most of everything. All of the time that this was going on, God in his great mercy was bringing about healing and stability to my emotions. One day, I believe he showed me a picture of myself with one foot on the past and another foot in the future, but I was constantly looking back.
    Basically because of my emotions and regrets I was looking back all of the time, and then looking forward for the rest of the time, never stopping to enjoy the moment and what I had in front of me. Once he showed me that, and I acknowledged the truth of that it transformed my life. I praise him all of the time for setting me free from those emotions that used to rule me.
    Now he does and for that I am grateful.

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