After a summer off I am glad to be back to share some of the insights the Lord has given me. I hope they can bless you as they have blessed me.
When I hear the term “living in the moment” I don’t usually think of it as a positive thing. I tend to think of people who only live in the moment as unorganized, non-planners and people who can’t see beyond the end of their own nose.
If you can’t already tell, I am always looking ahead. Living in the moment is usually something that eludes me because I am always looking to the next. The next obstacle, the next exciting moment or just the next opportunity. And I do think looking ahead is important and being able to plan for the future is vital. But I have been learning, (God has been challenging me), to really enjoy God and His blessings in the moment.
So today I wanted to share some thoughts from someone who is way too focused on the future about living in the moment. I do think those live in the moment people need to learn how to plan and look ahead more, but this week I want to deal with all those who can’t seem to put down their planner or stop thinking about tomorrow.
This first hit me when I was at Church about 4-5 months ago. The normal worship leader was not there so we had someone leading music I had never seen before. We started to sing a song I had never heard. Not a very long song, maybe 1-2 verses and a pretty short chorus. We sang it once through and then again. And again. And again. And again. Finally, after 25 minutes on the same short song, we finally concluded.
I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. 25 minutes on one song. One song!! And yes this may be a little extreme but the point that hit me was that the worship leader really wanted the congregation to let the words of the song sink in and truly sing them to God. A normal Church service can often fly through 3-4 songs without the meaning or impact really hitting the people.
And this is why I think we planners need to learn to live in the moment a bit more. Because if we are always looking ahead then we may be missing the amazing things God is doing right now. When we fly through everything at the speed of light we tend to miss the little blessings and opportunities that God gives us each day.
Just as the rich man in Jesus’ parable in Luke 12:13-21 missed the opportunity God had given him. God had blessed the man with wealth so that he could use his wealth to bless those around him. Instead, the man only looking ahead and only looking out for himself decided to store up his wealth and enjoy life as he pleased. The problem is that we cannot control the future, (more on this later), and accordingly God demanded this man’s life that very night. The man had been too forward looking to realize how God had blessed him for the moment.
So here are a few ideas on how to seize the moment.
First, constantly and consistently ask yourself why God has you in the situation you are in. Why does God have you in that location at that time with those people? I find that the more I do this the more I see a person God wants me to share with or someone I can encourage or challenge with His Word. In order to actually accomplish this, I find that praying in all the little moments of the day helps me focus on what God is doing in the moment.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing.” This means that we are to continue in prayer all day. By doing so we can better see where God is at work in the situations he puts us in daily.
Second, get rid of distractions. For me, if I have any type of technology I will probably use it to plan. Emails to send for future plans or research to be done. Another distraction for me in my planner. If there is a slight break in the conversation I tend to go right for it to make some notes or plans about things I still need to finish.
When I find myself truly seizing the moment I find that my distractions are not around. Sometimes you can actually turn your phone off, (did you guys even know that your phone has an off button on it???), and close that planner and just see what God has for you in the moment. One of Satan’s big tempters is busyness and distraction. He wants to keep you preoccupied with earthly tasks so that eternal ones go unnoticed. While we need to enjoy the moment, enjoying the moment with an eternal perspective, (looking how to honor the Lord in each moment), has far greater benefits to us and those around.
Third, let go of control and trust God. Typically, planners and organizers are type A which means they also tend to have some control issues. They aren’t able to let life come to them because by doing so they lose control. By always looking ahead and planning, nothing, (or so they think), can knock them off their plan.
This way of thinking, however, if very sinful. We must always remember that we cannot control as much as we think we can. Matthew 6:25-34 shows us just how little control we have. Jesus challenges us not to worry about tomorrow because we really don’t have any control over tomorrow. We have to trust that our loving, heavenly Father will provide for us. As much as we plan, we can’t control what will happen next. We must stop trying to control and instead learn to trust Him who controls all.
I hope these insights will be helpful. I by no means am seizing the moment as I ought to, but by God’s grace and instruction I find myself doing better at finding where and how God is working around me. I find myself putting distractions away and being aware of His working hand, and I am learning to trust Him more and try and control things out of my control less. My hope and prayer is that each of you can do the same.