When We’re More Focused on Next than Now

I spend a lot of time focused on NEXT rather than NOW. My thoughts are toward the next thing that I need to do: When I finish this, I’ll begin that.

After I drop her off, I need to run to the grocery store because we’re out of bread.
While he’s with the tutor, I’ll finish making those calls.
I think I can finish that report when the kids go to bed.

Planning is helpful and wise—but not at the expense of missing the purpose of the present. God is moving right now. He wants us to experience him now—to know he is real and living. He wants to bless and encourage us, to give us insight and understanding, to help us see his faithfulness in the smallest things and in big matters, to show us his glory in creation around us and in how he is at work in our life, our children’s lives, and our relationships.

God gives us each minute, each hour. Time is his. He wastes none of it. My frequent prayer is God, help me be more present to you. Why? My natural tendency is to lead me, rather than follow him. When I lead, my mind gets so busy that I exhaust myself before I’ve even done anything. When I follow him, peace anchors my heart and a welcoming sense of order unfolds.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26.3-4)

God knows what we truly need to accomplish in a day—those things that serve his purposes for our family, for our self, for our work, and for others. He wants to help us, even show us how. His design for our day includes rest, pleasure, and a deepening awareness of his presence and love.

The other day I was in the airport, rushing to the gate for my next flight. My mind was running, Maybe I’ll have time to grab something to eat and attend a few emails. Then one of the kids called, “Hi Mom, I only have a few minutes. How are you?”  God had a better plan for my NOW. I pulled my suitcase to the nearest wall and tuned out the people rushing around me. Five precious minutes, from God.

When I practice being present to NOW, I stop moving in my momentum and I become open to the moment that God has for me.

NOW is significant because it’s from God. We can trust that He has NEXT covered, too.

Dear God,
I want to trust you more. I want to see and experience you more in my day, in my life. Help me learn to be more still and present to you throughout the day. Help me learn to enjoy more moments, to enjoy You, and to trust that you have the way forward for all that I truly need to do. Amen.

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