I often miss out on a happy, joy-filled life because I can’t stop comparing the present with the future. We are meant to enjoy the lives that God gave us. He created us for a purpose, to glorify him, but that includes us enjoying His creation and our lives as we live them. But that we have to live in the now, something that I suspect many Christians struggle with, myself included.
I constantly think about the future, and not in the good way. Good thinking about the future is called planning, when you set a goal and work out the steps you need to take in the future to achieve the goal. That’s a healthy thing to do. What many people do, I suspect unconsciously, is worry about the future. That saps the bones and makes the heart sick.
Unconscious worry isn’t like worrying about a spouse who is late for dinner, or a son who doesn’t do his homework. It’s about hoping for things that you want without making a plan to get them. What this does is set up a comparison to what you have now, which is not as good, and makes you depressed and hopeless.
For example, when I have some time to spend with my son, there are times when I am not focused on him. Instead I’m thinking about all the things I could be doing and the root of that is worrying about money and the future. We are playing a board game but all I can focus on are the many tasks I could be doing to provide a better living for my family. What I should be doing is reveling in the present with my son, taking joy in the gift of his company, not worrying or fretting about the future.
Another example is the this laptop I’m using to write this post. It’s an amazing piece of machinery, way more computer in many ways than I need or will ever use. But, there are times when I see better machines and I covet them, thinking about how those computers could be mine (even though consciously I know that I do not need them) and how they are better than my laptop now. Yes, it’s silly, but it happens, and more often than I would like.
So how do we do it? How do we stop worrying and start thanking God for all the wonderful gifts he has provided us? I think it begins with faith in God’s promises. When we believe that God will clothe us, provide for us, keep us safe, that He will do miracles in our life, we can hold those promises close. Our faith in those promises allows us to live more in the present, to see the gifts that God gives us each day for what they are; fulfillments of His promises and love.
Isn’t that wonderful? And convicting? I’ve been doing it all wrong i think, for quite some time. I’ve been silently untrusting, attempting to plot my way into safety and security, all because I didn’t have enough faith in God’s promises of provision.
Yes, the future is uncertain for us. But we have a heavenly Father that knows what will come, what we need, and how to love us perfectly. We can hold his promises of love close to us, trust that He will fulfill His promises to us, and take joy in the gifts he showers us with every day.