(How I Stopped) Living In The Future (and Past)

Throughout the past few months, I have been mulling over the construct of time.  Time seems to be an element that often works against me.  I’ve gone through various seasons where I had too much time and found myself feeling lonely or bored.  Other times I struggle with not having enough time to balance college, work, and my personal life.  Another factor was brought into the mix of my pondering when my friend, Michael, brought up the notion of living in the future.  It really struck me as an odd phrase but I realized that it is something that I am habitually guilty of doing.

For me, living in the future looks like this: anxiously wondering about my weekend plans when it’s only 8am on a Tuesday morning, stressing about where I will end up teaching after I graduate, hearing about my friends getting engaged and stressing about to whom and when I’m going to be married, or seeing precious babies and wondering when I’m going to get the chance to be a mom.  As I currently think about the things I want for my future, I frequently find that I am trying to do all of this on my own.  I realize that from all of the small occasions to the grand milestones in my life, God is in control.  It is all in His hands.  However, I have been mentally living in the future and wondering how I’m going to bring glory to Him in the future. I’ve done this so often that I’ve overlooked something so simple yet so essential- bringing Him glory now.

Here’s another example of my struggle with time …  A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to peruse the halls of my old church.  I spent a few minutes inspecting each of the old classrooms where I had learned about Jesus.  However, I was having a hard time being nostalgic because something was really bothering me- everything at my old church had changed.  (Historically speaking, change has been very very very hard for me- I would consider the old me a regular ol’ stick in the mud.)  As I reflected about the changes in my church I began to feel distraught and came to the melodramatic conclusion that everyone and everything in my life is moving on without me.

Change has been running rampant in my life. However, I realized that time has not spared me from this change.  The truth is that I have changed due to the wreckless abandonment of my old ways.  This transformation has occurred more quickly and drastically than anyone and anything in my life.  I think that since God got ahold of my heart, I dropped everything to pursue Him, and I haven’t had time until now to slow down and reflect upon it.

You see, the devil was trying to convince me that I haven’t changed because he hates the truth. He doesn’t want to accept that I have been growing closer to God.  Satan was happy when I was in the depths of my own earthly hell and he was trying his best to make me feel like I was stuck in the past where I was deeply unhappy.

So I have come to this assessment about time: it is more complex than I can understand and I have to stop my attempts to understand it.  The time that I have here on Earth is an extravagant gift that is denied to many.  I have struggled to accept this lovely gift, but gifts are not truly ours to accept, they are just given.  I struggle to believe that this wonderful thing that is my life- my personal experience and perspective during a specific time period shared by 7 billion other humans- is just that- wonderful. Beautiful. God breathed… but that is what life is, and I have to start living it.

Stop living in the past- Satan loves it when you do that. Stop living in the future- God is already there and taking care of it. Live in the now and do everything possible to bring Him all the glory.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

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