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The Greatest Moment of Your Life

May 12, 2020

With the challenges we are facing today, leaning into our present circumstances is crucial.

We all know we should live in the present, and we like to remind one another. That’s why we’re constantly bombarded by messages like this one: Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” 

I want to make clear that I’m not looking for cheesy quotes or fluffy inspiration to carry us through our present circumstances, but as all of our lives have been turned upside down, I do think we could use a reminder to be where we are. 

We’ve all felt this tension between dwelling on the past and obsessing over the future, and I think we often fall into one of these two extremes. 

The first is living in the past. You may spend years obsessing over a past hurt, failure, or loss. Maybe it’s not something bad in your past, but for you it’s reliving those former glory days and riding the coattails of success you experienced long ago. In either circumstance, spending the present by focusing on the past will take you nowhere.

You’ll be like a hamster running on wheel, watching home movies to keep you stepping forward.

The alternative extreme is being too future-focused. I often fall into this category. Right now, I am keeping a running list of all of the things I plan to do when social distancing measures are lifted. In a normal season, our family has a goal to eat at home as many nights a week as possible. But once things are back to normal, I want to see how many nights in a row we can eat out with friends! I’ll be honest—I can’t wait to sit in a restaurant full of people and have face to face interaction with friends and a server—with neither of us wearing masks! Though it’s exciting to think about the future, it’s not healthy for any of us to fixate on it.

Since I don’t like the quote at the start of this blog, I found two more to help us think about living in the present.

Roy Bennett speaks to those stuck in the past: “The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.”

And John Ortberg presses all of us—fixated on the past or future—to be present today:

“The greatest moment of your life is now.

Not because it’s pleasant or happy or easy, but because this moment is the only moment you’ve got. Every past moment is irretrievably gone. It’s never coming back. If you live there, you lose your life.

And the future is always out there somewhere. You can spend an eternity waiting for tomorrow, or worrying about tomorrow. If you live there, you likewise will lose your life.

This moment is God’s irreplaceable gift to you.” 

I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder to be where I am. Yes, even if the situation we find ourselves in is not what we had hoped.

Treat every moment you have as a unique gift. If you do, you may find you have more joy in your present circumstances than you realized.


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