What Part of Your Timeline Do You Live In?
I am not a musical person, but even I understand the power of music. When I hear a song I know, memories of people and events from the past pop into my head. The lyrics can also take me to past experiences—some good and some bad. When I listen to praise music, certain songs will stir up remembrances of my past sins and mistakes. But the best songs also triumphantly culminate in Jesus’ love, sacrifice and victory, which often bring tears to my eyes. The tears are from guilt, remorse, sadness, joy, thankfulness, relief and bewilderment—all at the same time.
It is very tempting for us to live in the past. Many of us do just that, replaying old scenes in our minds, fighting old battles, holding grudges for past hurts and thus limiting our futures and ourselves. Most of all, whether we realize it or not, we find ourselves spending energy reliving past scenarios. Here’s the sad truth: the past is over.
The second most common place for our minds to linger is the future. Our minds are filled with hopes and fantasies but also fears, anxieties and insecurities about the future. The only future item we know for certain is our destination. What that destination is concretely like and every other element of our future is unknown. Like the shadows of the past, visions of the future are not real. Both the pains of the past and the fears of the future (even tomorrow) take up huge amounts of our time and mind-space. We become prisoners of ourselves. Most importantly, these images take us away from the place where we can have the greatest effect on our reality: the present.
How foolish we are to squander our only opportunity—the present—to affect reality by spending so much effort on useless fears of the future and old wounds from the past. I am not saying we shouldn’t remember and study the past or that we shouldn’t plan for the future. But those activities should help us focus on and maximize what we do in the present. If you are looking back realistically to become a good steward of your mind and your decisions in the present, that’s perfect. However, looking back and letting the past distort your view of God, yourself or your present circumstances is how Satan builds strongholds and sets up camp in your mind. It’s how he starts the brainwashing process we constantly fight against in this spiritual war.
Today, when your mind drifts forward or backward on your personal timeline, examine the motivation for dwelling on that part of your life. Think about the rate of return it brings. Focus your mind on the present to get back on track where God wants you—where you have maximum fulfillment and functioning. Remember that God actually defined himself with the statement, “I AM.” This statement tells us that God is the timeless Present. Living in the present, in reality, is one of the most important spiritual exercises. Whether you live in the present and have maximum impact for God or you live in the past or future and let the present slip through your fingers, it’s your decision; so, choose well.
Dear Father, I come to You in thanksgiving for the wisdom of Your scripture. I’m guilty of constantly escaping the present and wasting time and energy on the past. Help me release and let go of the past. Help me, once and for all, to forgive those who have hurt me. I know it is the lack of my final forgiveness that keeps my mind locked in the past. Help me heal, Lord. Help me stop scratching at old sores. Help me stop seeking relief by fantasizing about the future. I stop my mind from wandering, and I focus on You, my Lord. You are the true revealer of my reality. I know it is only in the present that I can find You. I pray this in the name of my reality foundation, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.'" Exodus 3:14