Most of us take on traits from our parents—some good, some not so good. My sweet mama was a nostalgic person. I inherited that characteristic from her. The Lord often uses my romanticized lense of life to emote through my writing. So, while on the one hand, it’s a good thing—on the other, it can prevent me from enjoying the moment.
I’m too busy living in the past.
While I love reminiscing the past, I’m a planner, also like my mom. I thrive with lists and goals. Often it seems these two sides of my personality are at odds with each other. I know it was that way with my mom because she spoke to me about it. We’ll get to that in a little while. For now, let’s just say, I witnessed a metamorphosis take place with my mom. It started when she became a grandma.
My plans about the future kept me from the blessings of now.
Mom was always sort of a neat freak when I was growing up. She had a dining room with a mirrored wall. When my kids were small, I remember fretting over them getting their messy little fingers all over her glass. When mom left the room, I hurried to grab the Windex. She walked in as I was cleaning and to my surprise scolded me for “wiping away her grandchildren’s fingerprints!” This coming from the woman who wouldn’t leave the house if her bed was unmade? By the way, those fingerprints stayed on her glass for months.
I also noticed that my “planner” mom became more flexible. She still kept her to-do list but would clear her schedule in a heartbeat for anything that concerned her grandkids, me, or anyone she loved.
One day when we got all three of my kids down for a nap, my sweet mom insisted that I take a nap, too. I laughed and said, “I never remember you taking a nap. You were always busy, busy. Seriously, mom, I don’t have time for a nap.”
Mom sighed. “But I should have taken a nap.” She went on to tell me how she regretted either living life through her rearview mirror or her to-do list while missing God’s blessed gifts of the present. She quoted Bil Keane,
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
“It’s a trap of the devil to keep us dissatisfied with our current station in life,” she said.
One of Satan’s goals is to keep us from the present. He wants us to live through our rearview mirrors either by making us long for the good ole’ days, or reminding us of our past mistakes.
Does this ever happen to you?
It was only a few years later when my mom was diagnosed with her first brain tumor. The next ten years of her life was spent in and out of doctor’s offices and hospitals. But mom took it all in stride. Now, she was still extremely sentimental and loved her lists, but she had found peace with Jesus and with herself to live in the moment, be flexible, and spontaneous.
How did she do it? Well, she would simply say JESUS. And yes, it certainly was Jesus. Her knowledge of Jesus and His Word made all the difference.
The Bible became like air to her.
Mom still had a tendency to slip into “planner/worry” mode, or “rearview mirror” mode. She had memorized a few verses to get herself back on course. But it was more than just throwing a Scripture at a situation.
She had learned to know God and trust His character from Scripture.
“I’ve proved Him faithful time and time again,” she’d say.
God’s Word wasn’t just a mantra.
Reading the Bible was listening to her Father.
Here are a few of her favorite Scriptures the Father would, as she put it, “whisper in her ear” to keep her living in the present.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
I think most of us have found ourselves missing the blessings of the present. God only gives us this moment. We aren’t promised tomorrow. But we do have the promises of His Word to keep us centered on Him.
I love this from Priscilla Shirer:
“God is the God of right now. He calls us not to be regretful over yesterday or worried about tomorrow. he wants us focusing on what He is saying to us and putting in front of us today. The enemy’s voice will focus on the past and the future; the voice of our God will focus on today and point us confidently toward the future.
Want to know God’s will for you?
Well, what has put before you today?
How about you? Do you have a few favorite verses to keep your mind on today?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.