Consistently living in the moment is basically impossible.
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus tells us to not worry about tomorrow and only worry about today. It’s a clear command that seems pretty simple. It’s also one of the most difficult commands in Scripture.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. – Matthew 6:34
It’s really hard to follow this command because of the difficulty and incredible number of problems we face in this life.
The stress and worry of these problems keep us from living in the moment. This stress steals our attention and draws us out of the present. Most of us think the best way to get back to living in the present comes from solving all our problems.
This tactic sounds good in theory, but never really pans out. In reality, this tactic just makes us look forward to when all our problems will be solved. Simply put, it makes our minds focus on the future.
The answer does not come from less problems, the answer comes from our perspective of the problems of life.
Journey Before Destination
I see most problems, struggles, and journeys as mountains. There is a beginning and there’s an end. Sometimes it feels like I’m never going to get to that end.
I’ve climbed a few mountains and it’s awesome to hit the summit. It’s also really discouraging to see people stroll up next to you in their flip flops. These friendly people immediately steal some of the thunder from my achievement.
This loss of thunder pulls me out of the present. I start to worry if my achievement has any value at all. This worry distracts me and pulls me out of those awesome moments.
Simply put, my very exciting achievements of climbing a mountain help me live in the moment for a total of thirty seconds.
Each time, I believe that a great victory like climbing a mountain will shove out the stress and worry in my mind. I also believe that I could just sit in the glory of my achievement. These beliefs prove false when I kept worrying about the exact value of my victory while sitting at fourteen thousand feet.
I’ve since come to the conclusion that victories and achievements don’t help us live in the moment and give us the peace that we want. We need something else. We need something more powerful.
We need the greater power of a relationship with our God.
An Easy Trade
The older I get the less I want great achievements and the more I want stories of great adventures and struggles that I journeyed through with close friends and loved ones. Good blog writers are a dime a dozen. A surprising number of people have climbed a few mountains.
The truly unique and valuable things I have are the steps I took up the literal and figurative mountains that I climbed with others by my side.
I have earned a couple nice rewards and received some high praise. I’ve accomplished things that I am really proud of. That said, I would trade ALL of it for a few more journeys with friends.
Those shared moments are the real wealth of this life. Those moments are the ones that allow us to actually live in the moment. The people who journey with us draw our hearts out of our own little worlds and bring us fully into the moment.
The answer to living in the moment does not come from a special experience or state of mind. It comes from the relationships that take our attention captive. The truly incredible thing is that God offers this captivating relationship every moment of the day.
Taking Our Hearts Captive
It is the fear, the anxieties, and worries that pull us out of the present. On the summit of that mountains, I worried that my achievement didn’t account for much. The weight of this fear made being completely present in an incredible moment impossible.
Relationships fix this problem because they captivate our hearts and minds. We don’t think of relationships as the answer to the problem because we know that even our spouse won’t be with us every moment of the day. Thankfully, that’s not true of God.
God is with us every moment of the day. He also wants to share in our experiences. Most of us miss out on this awesome aspect of our relationship with God simply because we don’t know it’s available.
A Constant Conversation
Too many of us think that our prayers should look like the preface and prologue of a book. We assume that we should just pray for God’s help at the beginning and end of our day. I don’t know where we got that idea, but is not true.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We don’t just need to pray for God’s help, we need to invite Him into every moment of our lives. We should take each breath with the assurance that God stands next to us and looks up at the trail ahead with us. Our prayers should look like more like a conversation with a friend and less like a letter to our boss.
That constant conversation will help us see past our anxieties and live in the moment more than anything else. Every difficult job or scary situation becomes a thousand times easier when a friend is there to help or walk through it with us. That presence next to us makes all the difference in the world.
God offers that constant presence through relationship with Him.
It is very unlikely that God is going to talk back in an audible voice. However, as you spend more time reading His word, praying, and abiding in Him, you will begin to recognize His presence. It is one of the most valuable things in this life.
Trying to follow Jesus’ command in Matthew 6:25-34 on our own is impossible. Thankfully, God provides exactly what we need. We just need to start the conversation.
Image Copyright: Katie ‘The Coolest Sister Ever’ Rial – I’m the second from the right.by