Not Right Now

Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?
Emily in Our Town, by Thornton Wilder
I’m not sure how much time I spend living where I am, or stated more awkwardly, when I am. It seems I mostly live in my yesterdays and tomorrows, instead of my todays. I feel overwhelmed by past mistakes and failures; I feel worried, or at least unprepared, for whatever the future holds. I replay past conversations over and over, while rehearsing potential ones that may or may not happen. I live anywhere and everywhere but in the moment. I completely understand the words of Mark Batterson when he writes, “We’re paralyzed by things we cannot change—the past. We’re crippled by things we cannot control—the future.
My tendency to live primarily in the past and the future is not surprising to me; I do it almost all the time. What is surprising is that until recently when someone reminded me, I had forgotten that living in the moment and making each day count is actually something that God tells us to do:
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
Give us today our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11).
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34).
We know from the creation account in Genesis that God has divided time into days. A little later, when He miraculously provided manna to feed His people, He included an expiration date of one day. When He taught us about anger, He gave us the deadline of sundown. When He told us to take up our crosses, He said to do it daily. When He told us to rejoice and be glad, He said to do it today.
And those are just a few examples of what God says about living in the present moment, one day at a time. What God has not told me to do is to live in the past or in the future; in fact, He’s told me quite the opposite. He said that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation and the old has passed away. He told us to forget what lies behind and that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us. And as we already saw, He said not to worry about tomorrow.
I need to listen to God and follow what the words of Sir William Osler, the Father of Modern Medicine, advise us to do: “Let go of dead yesterdays and unborn tomorrows.” Can I really do that? Can I live each day like it’s the first day and the last day of my life? Not right now. That’s been my answer, all too often. But maybe I can change that, right now. This is the day that the Lord has made. I’m here…
Troy Burns