I have a hard time living where I am. I don’t mind living where I do. I just struggle to live where I am. Maybe I’d better explain. I tend to live in two worlds, the one behind me, fretting over the past, haunted by my mistakes, rehearsing the “should haves” and “could haves” until I am beaten down by my own regrets. Or, I live in the world ahead of me, worrying about the future, anticipating calamity, and trying to micro-control circumstances to protect my paltry little kingdom. The problem with living in those places is that I miss the world that I am in now. God is shooting off miracles and amazement all around me and I miss them because I’m looking somewhere else.
One of the great 12 Step wisdoms is to live life one day at a time. I cannot change what is in the past and I cannot control what is in the future so I focus on the here and now and learn to live in the moment. Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) And there’s the rub. The trouble and difficulty of the grind, of just day to day living, can capture my attention until my worry box goes into overload. And when my worry box goes into overload instead of shutting off it reaches ahead into the future and back into the past and takes on even more stuff to worry about.
It looks something like this. The car breaks down. Bummer! Frustration, fretting, fuming, worry. Then instead of letting it go, I start thinking about the next big struggle. We don’t have money to fix the car. That means we can’t afford to get braces for the kids. Oh no, my 401k is going to tank and social security will run out. All of a sudden I have moved from the land of a broken muffler to being a destitute old man, living on a welfare check, over the garage of my kid who hates me because he has crooked teeth. From there it is an easy step to remembering every bad and stupid decision I have ever made that got me here in the first place.
Living life one day at a time helps release me from all of that. I learn to take the immediate issue to my Father, the only one who can handle it anyway. I trust Him with my struggle, leave it at is feet, and go on with my day. Does it ever come up again? You betcha! But I take it back to Him as many times as necessary and leave it here again. And I have to tell you, the more I do that, the more He has the opportunity to work on my behalf and the easier it gets to trust Him. I make a choice each day to let myself be drawn into alarm and anxiety or to stay right here, where I am, protected by the One who made the sun come out just for today and will pull the cover of night over me at the end of this one day. So here’s an idea for you, just today try this. Come back from back there where you might have done things different and come back from up there where you have no control anyway and spend just today HERE enjoying the presence of Jesus and all that He is doing around you TODAY.