For most of my life I would wake up in the middle of the night, briefly think about the future, and the thought of an endless forever would send me into a panic attack.
It was awful. My mind just could not wrap itself around the concept of forever.
Though, for the most part, I didn’t have a fear of tomorrow, or next week, or even next year, that fear of the great unknown future would freak me out.
Our minds are a battleground. How we direct and control our thoughts is critical.
This week I read a few experts from C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters (affiliate link). There the demon Screwtape points out how God desires for us to live in the present, because the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.
Have you noticed how your thoughts tend to drift toward what you will do in a few hours, your concerns about the activities of the next day, and fretting about what may or may not happen in the days or even years ahead?
God does want us to plan ahead. There’s no question about that. But, he doesn’t want us to live in the future. And he certainly doesn’t want us to fret or fixate on the unknown. As Jesus said, Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? If you can’t do such a small thing, why worry about the rest? Luke 12:25-26 CEV
It’s dangerous to live in the past, as well. The difference, is that the past, is based on reality.
The demon Screwtape writes (in his reverse speak): “It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time—for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.” The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
This idea of the Present being lit up with eternal rays is an interesting thought.
It occurs to me that we do experience more joy, contentment, and freedom when we’re in the moment. God doesn’t want us to be burdened with worry or care. He wants us to live in the Present, that place of freedom and joy. When we think about what God is doing in our lives and talk to him about it, we’re in the Present. When we think about the character of God….his love, his power, his beauty, his creativity, and so on, we are in the Present. When we thank God for his mercy, grace, and gifts, we experience his presence, and that is definitely the Present. When we walk through pain, and sorrow, and difficulty, we are in the Present. When we pray for others and serve others we are living in the Present.
When our thoughts and actions are in the Present, we are more in the presence of the Lord than at any other point.
When we allow our thoughts to dwell in the future (and to some degree in the past) we are, in essence, allowing the enemy to drive us away from God.
If you struggle with fear, maybe this little thought journey will help you to gain the perspective you need to overcome the fear. 1 John 4:8 says… Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. When we live in the Present…in God…we are living in his love. And there….there is no place for fear.
The next time we’re in a spot where fear overcomes us…let’s think about God and his love and his goodness. Let’s replace those fearful thoughts with God thoughts. Let’s be in the Present. Not in the next 10 seconds or 10 minutes or 10 years…but now.
My biggest challenge to this will be when the winter roads get icy. Oh my….that is my challenge. I’m going to work at staying in the Present and not in the land of the ‘what ifs.’
What’s your biggest challenge?
What will you do to live in the Present?
Oh…and if those “startling awakes” come again in the night? I’m going to remember this…..
…the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.
Just think. When we’re in the Present with God, if that’s eternity, it’s not scary at all.
It’s Joy Day!
Giving thanks is a great way to be in the Present with God. There’s something amazing that happens to our hearts and our perspectives.
This is my personal invitation to you…
Please join us for Joy Day!
Take a minute look back over the past week and count seven…. the good and not-so-good things from the week and tell God thanks for every one. It will make your heart sing.
Thank you God for…
- helping me finish a tough post.
- farmers’ markets and the deliciousness of the harvest.
- a dear friend find something wonderful to celebrate in the midst of loss.
- special moments with my husband.
- renewing our hope.
- my sweet friend’s big healing turn around.
- for a new year and the blessings received from friends.
Now it’s YOUR turn!
Join me in counting seven!
Scroll down to the comment section and list your “seven.”
I dare you!
Want even more joy? Take the Joy Dare here.
P.S. Close your eyes and imagine the early morning sun streaming down on a field of white Queen Anne’s Lace and blue Chicory. More than you have ever seen at one time and glowing in depth and beauty. That was the picture I was trying to capture to share with you. Unfortunately, as much as I tried, I was unable to capture the glorious moment. These photos are but a mere hint. I guess that’s what nature is when comparing it to God’s beauty….just a mere hint.
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