I’ve been known to ruminate over the past (going over and over past mistakes) and to obsess over the future (plotting out every possible future scenario). As I’ve written about before, though 2012 is a year of waiting on God, a year of giving up my need to prove my worth by what I can accomplish. 2011 saw the ending of two great endeavors meant to make this world a better place; one had a slow and painful death and one crashed-and-burned, but they both ended. It’s so tempting to want to jump right back into another world-changing endeavor. And while I am serving in a couple different ways, church and inner city while also thinking and praying over some future possibilities, most of my energy is focused upon enjoying the moment and finding my identity as God’s child rather than God’s servant. This is not easy for me to do, but unless I want to drive myself crazy, I have no option but to learn that lesson during this time of waiting.
With that backdrop, check out the quote I just read from Greg Boyd’s book, “Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now.”
“How much of your thought life is spent in the past or future, and what is the purpose for this nonpresent thinking? You may be so accustomed to living in the past and future that you find it difficult to notice how much of your thought life is spent there, let alone why you spend so much of your thought life there. But if you are completely honest with yourself, you’ll probably find that most of your past and future orientated thoughts revolve around you and are centered on your attempts to feel worthwhile and significant.
When we live perpetually hungry in the flesh, we spend a great deal of our thought life savoring past experiences or possible future experiences that make us feel worthwhile and significant. We also spend a great deal of time ruminating over past experiences that make us feel less worthwhile and significant. All the while we are strategizing over how to position ourselves to have more of the worth-giving experiences and how to better avoid the worth-detracting experiences.
Most of us are so accustomed to being hungry for Life and living in the past and future that we don’t realize this is what we’re doing. It’s hard for a fish to notice the water it swims in. But the fact of the matter is that we are rarely in the present moment when we’re hungry and chasing after false gods. This is yet another aspect of the grand illusion that entraps us. The very process of trying to acquire Life on our own forces us to miss most of life, for real life is always in the present moment. When we live as though we can acquire Life from things other than God, we inevitably live as though reality wasn’t always in the present moment.
Only a person who is no longer driven by insatiable hunger can consistently live in the present moment, and only a person who has learned how to find Life in the present moment is no longer driven by this insatiable hunger.”