Living Now or Waiting for the Future?

add_cosmic_orbs.jpgSeveral years ago I was speaking on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University.  As I recall, my friend Dr. Evertt Huffard Jr., Dean of Harding Graduate School of Religion, happened to be on campus at the same time.  After the last session, we talked for a few minutes in an empty room just outside the Bible faculty offices.  

After we had talked for a few minutes, I said something like this to Evertt: "I still wonder, Evertt, what I am going to do with my life someday."  His response to my remark was very meaningful to me.  He smiled and then said, "Jim, I think that ‘someday’ is right now."

I am glad he said that!  This was a reminder to me that real life is happening right now.  Real life does not begin "someday."  So, if you don’t mind, let me ask you these questions:

What is a person like who really lives in the present?  What is a person like who isn’t waiting for the future to begin in order to begin living?  What about you?  Are you a person who is really living in the present?  Or, are you waiting for things to "come together" in the future?  

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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14 thoughts on “Living Now or Waiting for the Future?

  1. Somehow I see such a person as a joy-filled person, because to live as such seems to imply a sort of contentment. Am I such a person? I have my good days. And I have my days when I forget the simple truth that this moment may be all I have.

  2. I think that whenever we are able to live our life in the now we are able to go with whatever life throws at us. Things become less of a big deal and life becomes more about daily adventures and less about worrying about our daily duties.

  3. It certainly has the power to focus us.  Living with eyes constantly directed towards what might be or what could be makes life blurry.  And it leads us to live without much intentionality.  And THAT kind of life leads away from anything resembling excellence.  And… well, no one wants that.Thanks for sharing, Jim. 

  4. I think we would all be poets, or some variant thereof, if we lived mindfully in the present, rather than always looking back with longing or regret or ahead with fear or anticipation. 

  5. L.L.
    I love the reminder that you leave at the end of your comment.  This moment is the only one we have and could even be the last.  A good reminder to live these moments with joy.

  6. Connie, This line is your comment describes where so many of us have spent time (including me)  "…always looking back with longing or regret or ahead with fear or anticipation"

  7. Jim Martin! It’s good to find your blog again, I had lost it for a while! I hope the Martin family is having a wonderful summer. Tell everyone hello for me. Hope to see you guys sometime soon!

  8. For me right now, living in the present is a matter of survival. Walking through some awful things that continue and are pretty much out of my control keeps me in the present. And I must say that that has been one of the gifts of my suffering.
    Because when things are so out of my control and so very awful, I am learning to trust for each breath, each moment, each task.
    It is increasing my trust and ability to rest, knowing that God really is in control and I can trust Him, even if He doesn’t do one thing in this situation the way I would hope. Living in the present means that I have less hope FOR certain things to happen, and more hope IN God. In His sovereignty, His love, His justice to prevail in His time (even if I don’t ever see it here and now).
    Living in the present for me is also a place with few regrets. There are situations I can look back on and say that I have done things that seemed to make things worse. And there are many things that others have done, some blatantly wrong, that have made my life very difficult. But, living in the present, the place where it takes trust in God just to survive and breathe, has helped me look at the past and know that not one bit of it was out of God’s control.
    Sometimes we are too quick to judge whether a decision was right or wrong based on whether or not the results were positive. But, I have come to see that sometimes the right decision will result in awful things for a time (Christians who suffer for their faith or for disobeying government when it conflicts with God’s ways know this way better than I do). And so, just because in hindsight I can see that I could have done something that would have had a better, more positive result, I do not regret it like I would have before.
    What I see when I look back, is a peace that I was walking in God’s will and ways, and although the results were not what I had hoped for, the immediate negative result did not mean I had missed the boat and God was out of control.
    This may not be the most positive spin on what it is like to live in the present rather than waiting for someday to happen. But in this discouraging and difficult place in my life, where I do not know when or if anything will change, I am experiencing peace and joy today. With the pain and sorrow. And I’m glad for that gift for today.
    I do not know what sorrows tomorrow may hold, and the way it looks right now, it may be many. But I can battle my way through today’s pain and suffering, and experience TODAY again the reality of God’s faithfulness even in the darkest of times. That’s what living in the present looks like for me right now.  And I say that with a measure of joy, and mean it.

  9. What is a person like who really lives in the present? 
    I would say VERY GRATEFUL!
    What about you?  Are you a person who is really living in the present?  Or, are you waiting for things to "come together" in the future?  
    On the days I have peace and serenity, I am.  I know that this is a daily goal of mine.  I get up in the morning asking God to help me with this very thing–staying in today.   I highly recommend it.

  10. I have been thinking quite a bit about living “present tense.” I have been thinking that when I do this – when I am truly present – I am listening without composing in my mind; I am authentically empathetic not determining the “right response”; I am aware and attentive to God and His priorities. I love that. It is not easy. To wander as a pilgrim after the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night means leaving behind the comforts of past patterns and forsaking the future “certainties” of greener pastures or heavenly visions… yet it is in the now that God and His promises can be truly trusted.

  11. It is interesting to read the responses to this question, and has made me thoughtful to the times when I truly feel as though I am truly present.  Times when I am truly present I am fully concentrating on the situation at hand, enjoying our God-given senses in their fullness.  I think of riding the motorcycle with my husband, and feeling the wind, smelling the various smells (be they flowers or manure), opening my eyes to the sunshine, hearing the roar of the wind and other noises…embracing them all without trying to shut them out.  There are times when I try to not smell the skunks or manure, and my husband encourages me to experience them all.  Whether this is on the bike, with another person, sitting at the feet of Jesus, serving another, receiving from another, grieving loss, or celebrating, to me this is what it means to be fully present.  It seems similar to what eclexia said before; it’s a fully present that is open to joy both in sorrows and things that bring us happiness.  This is a difficult place of trust for me, to trust that God will be present with me in my being present as it opens me to a certain poignancy that I don’t experience when I am living more in my drivenness.  

  12. A couple of years ago, my wife and I were dealing with a failed attempt at small group leadership.  After almost three years of leading, the group fell apart and I was at a lost to deal with my frustration, sense of betrayal, and anger.  I wanted to know when God was going to get my life going!!  I expressed that God must have a "Plan A" out there for me, but I was living a "Plan B" life.  A friend of ours looked at me and quietly said, "What if this IS Plan A?"
    She taught us so much in that simple question that every moment, whether I would choose that moment or not, is God’s Plan A for my life at that very moment.  Sometimes that is a huge blessed moment; other times, it is a painful, horrible moment.  But every moment is God’s and He often uses the painful moments in developing my love for others and Him than He uses the happier moments.