Many of us live our lives constantly looking over our shoulders into the past, recalling the mistakes we made, our failures, or other bad things that happened to us. Or we look forward into the future, fearful or anxious about what is going to happen. The result is we are unable to enjoy the blessings that God is pouring upon us today!
We need to change our focus to the present. “This is the day the Lord has made,” declared David. “We will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24). To rejoice in the moment, we need to be in the moment, making the most of it. If we are thinking of the past, or of the future, we cannot.
Consider a simple thing like having a meal with the family. If we are thinking of what went wrong at work or school that day, or how we will fare in our appraisal or the math test the following day, we will not be able to enjoy the special time we have with the other members of our family. We are cheating them, and we are cheating ourselves. We need to give 100% to the relationship. It is an excellent principle to apply to anything we do, not just relationships, for a fuller, happier life.
The past is dead! It doesn’t need a funeral or flowers; it can bury itself. The future doesn’t really exist. We could be dead before the night is over. “So, should we not plan for the future?” you might ask. Sure. We can have those visions and goals and whatever else we need to ensure we are heading in the right direction, but we don’t need to worry about it. Even Jesus advised this: “Do not worry about tomorrow,” he said, “for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
Taking one day at a time is what Jesus is telling us to do. Cristy Lane made this philosophy famous in her 1981 song. The chorus goes like this: One day at a time, sweet Jesus, / That’s all I’m asking from you, / Just give me the strength to do every day / What I have to do.
If we can sing this every morning and remind ourselves (because we forget so quickly!) to take a day at a time, life will be easier. It will become easier to deal with temptation because we are just trying to resist it for the moment and not a lifetime! And it will be less stressful because we can all handle one day, can’t we? Especially if we include Jesus in the equation!
Let us also remind ourselves of what Master Oogway, the tortoise—and several wise men as well—said: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
So, enjoy your present, dear friend.