Living in the Present Moment
Growing up, like every child, I was excited about many events such as my birthday, fun school events, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. This child-like excitement is so beautiful. The anticipation of Santa coming on Christmas Eve, picking out a costume with mom on Halloween, and figuring out who is coming to your birthday party. The future was bright when we were children, but we grew up.
The future can be less exciting and scarier. Will I get into college? What am I going to do with my life? Will I ever get married? Of course, there are things we still look forward to as we grow up. The excitement of getting our driver’s license, our first date, prom, going away to college, turning twenty-one, or getting our first job. As a culture, we are always on to the next day or the next thing. Have you ever been spending time together with your friend and planning your next time hanging out? There is nothing wrong with that, but do you live in the present moment? There are plenty of fun things I plan with friends whether it is a concert, movie night, or a girl’s night, but I would be on to the next fun event when with them, instead of being present. When I was in college it was always the next class, the next assignment, and the next social event. We are always focused on the future.
The future also haunts us in those moments in our life that are tough. What is going to happen to my loved one that is sick? How am I going to make enough money to pay rent? How will I accomplish so many things in so little time? These questions fill us with fear and anxiety. I have asked these and many questions like it before. I have worried, felt anxious, and quite fearful of the future.
Fear and anxiety are not from God. They are from the evil one trying to distract us or make us feel hopeless. Did you know that it says: “Do not be afraid” in the Bible 365 times? That is one time for every day. As someone who has always been anxious and focused on the future, there is true peace that comes with surrendering those feelings to Christ and asking him to take care of them.
I remember when I first started to pray the Surrender Novena. My mom gave it to me. It was at first hard, to place everything that was heavy on my heart in Christ’s hands, but I prayed: “Jesus, you take care of everything.” I felt great peace in my heart as I prayed that prayer. In placing my burdens in Christ’s hands. I watched how Christ had worked the troubles in my life out.
Throughout that year I tried to live more in the present moment and take things day by day. It was freeing! I noticed that living in the present moment had allowed me to find joy in everyday life, become less anxious, and find more peace in my life. Now I am not saying never to plan ahead (I am a huge planner!), never worry, or that complete surrender of your life to Jesus is easy, but what I am saying is live in the present moment. With a good friend? Enjoy the company. Taking time to be in adoration? Be still and rest. Working on a big project for work? Enjoy the lesson and experience. See someone in need? Help them. You will find great peace.
Not only do we worry about the future, but it is also easy to remember and get stuck in the past. The past is something that can haunt many of us. We are quick to remember the times we failed, and the ways we have hurt others, hold on to resentment of the way that others have hurt us, and hold on to feelings of rejection or abandonment.
Something that journeying with Christ has taught me is that not only does Christ want to heal these wounds, but He calls us to forgive others and ourselves so we can move forward and truly live in the present moment.
This does not take away from the pain we have experienced or belittle it, but we cannot get stuck in it because our faith is one of hope, love, and joy. Christ calls us to live in the present moment because He wants us to surrender our lives to him, for He has a plan for us. He does not want us to live in shame because of our past or worry about the future. He wants us to be present to Him. When we surrender our lives to His will and truly live in the present moment, we experience a peace that brings immense joy to our lives.