Choose to Live in the Present

Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren 

Live in the PresentSo many people live in the past and constantly lament what might have been.  They spend all their time focusing on things they can do nothing about.

They obsess over things like…if only I had married the geek I thought was a loser in college who became a millionaire.  If only I had taken that job with the start-up company I thought would go nowhere but went sky high.  If only I hadn’t gotten pregnant at sixteen.  If only I had finished college instead of dropping out.  If only I hadn’t gotten drunk and had a tattoo of a naked lady put on my arm.  If only, if only, if only…

Everyone’s life is full of missed opportunities, some unwise decisions, and regret.  These things cannot be changed.  It is better to accept and learn from them and move on.  Yet many seem held captive by things they can do nothing about.

Others put their lives on hold waiting for the future.  Yes, we look toward the future but we live today.  God lives in the present.  His name is “I am” not “I was” or “I will be” or “I might have been.”  This walk with God is a day by day journey and we miss much when we don’t focus on what God has in mind for us today.

Consider this…God doesn’t supply tomorrow’s needs today.  The Israelites found that out when they tried to store up manna for another day. (Exodus 16)  There is nothing wrong in planning for the future but God supplies our needs on a daily basis.  We pray “give us today our daily bread.”  Matthew 6:30-34 tells us not to worry about tomorrow.  God’s got that covered.

Instead of lamenting the past or worrying about tomorrow, Matthew 6:33 shows us where our focus should be: “But seek first the kingdom of God…”  You see, our job is to seek God, participate in a relationship with Him, be alert and attuned to His presence all around us – on a daily basis.  We need to concentrate on what God is doing with us today.  That’s our priority – and we can’t do it when we are constantly living in the past or waiting for the future.

How to Live in the Present - Family Circus Cartoon

Suggestions for practicing this choice…

  • Read a few Bible verses each day and think of how they can be applied in your life today.
  • Ask God to help align your will to His and to make His desires your desires.
  • Be attuned to God’s creation all around you – a sunrise, a sunset, the rain, the flowers, the birds, the trees, the mountains, the river, the butterfly, a child’s laughter – whatever you see, hear, smell, or touch can relate to your Creator in some way.
  • Pray many times throughout the day. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Pray big prayers and lots of little prayers – little prayers of praise, thanks, and requests for immediate help keep your focus on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2)
  • Guard your thoughts by meditating all day long about God’s Word, biblical principles, and how Christ would handle situations. (Psalm 1:2, Joshua 1:8)
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