Confession time. I used to live somewhere else. Let me explain. For the past few months I’ve been making a concerted effort to live in the present. Sounds rather strange doesn’t it? People who dwell in the past are part of our vocabulary. Living in the present seems like an obvious thing to do. I could say I was focused on the future, but that’s not exactly accurate. I don’t know what the future holds, so I can’t exactly live there.
What I have often done, as long as I can remember, is make up a future for myself that I’d like to live in. In my idle thoughts I’ve constructed conversations, geography and circumstances for myself and those who are either intersecting my life or whom I would like to intersect my life. Perhaps some of these things may become the novel everyone intends to write one day. Perhaps they will just remain idle thoughts. In and of themselves, there’s nothing wrong with these thoughts. I wasn’t always the heroine, though rarely did I take on the role of a villainess. Not everything was happy and shiny, but there was nothing untoward or heinous.
A few months ago I was convicted that living in the somewhere else was basically a waste of the present. I wasn’t taking every thought and making it captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Since then I’ve been vigilantly policing my thoughts; or at least trying to do that. I’ve realized a few things . . . this living somewhere else is a hard habit to break! There’s a lot to experience in the now. My now is quite different than that non-existent place. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse. It’s just different. I realized, too, that sometimes I set myself up for disappointment that didn’t need to be because I wasn’t appreciating the now and was longing for whatever I thought might be.
Today while I was driving back to the office after running some errands, a glimpse of the partial profile of the woman in the car near mine flooded me with emotion. I won’t even try to recount the sequence of thoughts that led to the tears flowing down my cheeks; they aren’t THAT important. What is noteworthy is that those few moments gave me a different perspective. I realized an accompanying truth to living in the now vs. living in the somewhere else . . . I sometimes focus on the sadness of what isn’t and miss the grace of what is.
My new resolve: live in the now and enjoy the grace of what is.