We are the Present

“You are the product of your environment” is really one of the most misleading statements that one can make. Who we are is not defined by our past, but by our present. We have the ability to redefine who we are at any given moment. Too often, we allow our perception of ourself and the opinions/judgements of others keep us locked in our current state, rather than pursuing our hopes and dreams.

We like to weigh our options and test outcomes. For many of us, our preference is to know the beginning, middle, and end of everything before embarking on the first step of a journey. However, I think we miss out on a lot of opportunities with this approach because we are hesitant to turn the handle and open the door into the unknown. A new venture may be frightening or paralyzing, but it also may be the catalyst for something great.

Although the uncertainties that dissuade us from the possibility of a new future may seem daunting, they likely pale in comparison to the concept of uprooting our own life or family from a familiar city and friends, then setting out on a journey to an unknown destination. Our sensibility might tell us that such a move would be ridiculous or irresponsible. It is easy to forget that this is exactly what was asked by God of Abraham in Genesis 12:1, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”

When we work up the courage to step into unknown territory, we are forced to live in the moment. We cannot rely on the past – because we are experiencing something completely new – and we cannot be assured of the future – because we have never traveled this road. We are only faced with three options: (1) retreat in fear to the comfort of the familiar, (2) move forward in anxiety about the future, or (3) experience the present.For my fellow Christians: Christianity is a faith of the present (as is revealed in Matthew 6:34). Many of us fail to understand that Christianity is not a faith that desires a return to an idealized past, but is intent on reaching into the present situations of ourselves and others in order to continue to redeem the dark places of this world. The truth is that your enemy is in the past. Success and failure may both become your enemies. Success tempts us to laziness as we relive our pasts, while failure restrains us with feelings of worthlessness.

If there is anything we should be learning from the years of dealing with COVID and the various societal issues that erupted during this same period, it is that we should stay faithful to the present. Anything and everything can change in an instant. All we can do is continue to make the most of each day.

So, do not let the worry about your future or your past restrain you from taking the first step today toward something new.

One response to “We are the Present”

  1. Amen, Matthew 6:34 is “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Recently I saw a move about Mr. Rodgers, and in one of the scenes I was struck by his ability to make whoever he was with, the most important person at that moment.

    I struggle not so much with the past, but with the future, and preparing it instead of enjoying the moment I am in. In the Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennen Manning relays the a Buddhist parable about a man climbing down a rope to evade a tiger chasing him (his past), and he sees the end of the rope above sharp rocks (His future), but he focuses on the strawberry right in front of him, which he would have missed if he was not focused on the present.

    I love your comment about stepping into the unknown, where we are forced to focus on the present. That is exactly where God meets us: right where we are.

    Liked by 1 person

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