“… We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
So, you know when you kinda get the sense that God is trying to tell you something? And then it slowly becomes more and more obvious?
Yep, I’m there now. I thought He was, maybe, trying to convey a little message to me, and now I feel like He’s practically screaming at me!
A week or so ago, a friend and I were discussing, via email conversation, how it’s so easy to let ourselves live for the future. Many of you may know that my husband quit his teaching job a few years ago in order to pursue chiropractic school. That choice required that we quit our jobs and move several hours away from family and friends. Because we are so excited for him to finish school, and for us to be able to move back home, I’ve struggled with living for the future ever since Andrew and I moved here.
I also lived for the future when we were trying to conceive, and going through fertility treatments. So many of mine and my husband’s conversations started with, “When we get pregnant…” or “When we have a baby…” or “What if we don’t?”
Now we have a baby, and I am filled with joy each time I look at, or even think about her. But I still catch myself living for the future, still thinking thoughts like, “When Andrew finishes school…” or “When Andrew starts a practice…” or “When we move back home…” or “When we are out of school debt…” or “When we are finished having children…”
What if Andrew just can’t finish school?
What if we can’t buy or start a practice?
What if we never get out of school or practice debt?
What if we are never able to have more children?
The list could go on.
Living for the future = worrying about the future. At least, that’s what it always leads to for me.
And let’s face it: That is lame.
God has given me the desires of my heart. He gave me the gift of a child, in addition to so many other gifts He has given me that I could never deserve. At the top of the list, salvation.
By living for the future, and fretting over the future, I am neglecting to be fully present in the moments that are happening now. I am overlooking the special-ness of them, and failing to be completely thankful.
A few days ago, I caught the tail-end of a radio interview with Mark Lowry. He was talking about God being the great I AM. He refers to Himself as this often. He never refers to Himself as, “The Great Used to Be,” or “The Great Will be One Day.” He is the great I AM, meaning that He can be found in the RIGHT NOW. And when we fail to live fully in the RIGHT NOW, we fail to capture all that God is. We miss out on gifts that He wants us to receive when we are living for the future instead of in the now. We can most fully embrace life with Christ when we can fully embrace the present, and be thankful for it, whether it be good or bad.
I thought that was really powerful (although I’m not re-stating it nearly as eloquently as Mark Lowry said it.)
But in case I needed God to speak a little louder, this is what He had in store for me during yesterday’s devotional:
Sit quietly with Me, letting all your fears and worries bubble up to the surface of your consciousness. There, in the Light of My Presence, the bubbles pop and disappear. However, some fears surface over and over again, especially fear of the future. You tend to project yourself mentally into the next day, week, month year, decade; and you visualize yourself coping badly in those times. What you are seeing is a false image, because it doesn’t include Me. Those gloomy times that you imagine will not come to pass, since My Presence will be with you at all times.
When a future-oriented worry assails you, capture it and disarm it by suffusing the Light of My Presence into that mental image. Say to yourself, “Jesus will be with me then and there. With His help, I can cope!” Then, come home to the present moment, where you can enjoy Peace in My Presence.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6