As a kid I was blessed to have much success in sports…team championships, great personal performances, lots of cheers from the cheerleaders I had a crush on, and adulation from peers and fans. I was even on local TV a lot! But amazingly, and sadly, I remember very little of any of it. I have a small number of vague, blurred memories with only a few very specific pictures in my head. The rest is memories formed by what people tell me, what I see on video, or read in newspaper clippings.
Why can’t I remember? Here is the reality of my childhood. In my mind, most of my identity was being a gifted and accomplished athlete. I received lots of attention and sports greased the path for many friendships. The downside, I was so anxious and afraid of failure. Failure meant losing the attention from parents and peers, friendships, and my identity. So I was always living in the future…wondering what would happen if I didn’t perform well. “Today’s success is history and I am only as good as my next performance,” was the mentality that drove me to succeed, but robbed me of the joy of reveling in the moment.
I rarely enjoyed the great things that were happening in the moment, and it continued as an adult. I would be at an amusement park with my kids…whipping around on a fun ride. But while I was riding I was thinking about the future…which would be the best ride to get to next, where would the shortest line be, when should we eat lunch to avoid the long lines, what ride could we do next so the kids would have fun? Then the ride I was on would end and I wouldn’t even remember it or have enjoyed it as much as I should have.
If you try to carry tomorrow’s trouble today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat. Focusing on tomorrow’s troubles is not only escapist…it’s irresponsible. Each day of your life is a gift from God. What does it say to God when you squander His gifts? Of course you cannot stop thinking about tomorrow altogether…that, too, would be irresponsible. The real question is: where do you live most of the time – in the present or in the future? Thankfully, I have learned to live more in the present and my memory banks now are full of great experiences. Satan wants you to think you are a future teller and spend your time predicting or managing the future instead of resting in God’s sovereignty and grace.
Today, when you feel stressed, anxious, or angry – STOP. Ask yourself, “Am I living in the future, playing out worst case scenarios…or am I living and enjoying God’s amazing grace in the present?” Freedom comes from accepting His gifts and living them, everyday. Focus on the present and why God has you where you are. Enjoy His blessings, and yes, they are all blessings, and enjoy them now. Your decision, choose well.
Dear Father God, I rejoice in You, Father, and Your great gift to me of Your Son, my savior and sovereign Lord. It is through You that I will go to great heights…transcending all the troubles of yesterday and tomorrow. Help me, Father, to keep my focus on today, even though at times this is very difficult for me. I try to focus on tomorrow’s problems to avoid pain or facing today’s problems. I know You see my every thought, Father, so You know how many of them are future-oriented. I pray that You will help me break this deeply ingrained habit. I pray in the name of my savior, Jesus; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.