“Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘the present.’” I know. Hokey, but true.
Lately, I’ve been struck with the amount of energy I spend focused on the past or the future.
And, yet, I often miss the gift of today.
I’m all for reflection. For learning lessons from the past, both the good and the bad. For letting go of old hurts and forgiving others…and myself…for mistakes, selfish decisions, hurtful words. And for cherishing the sweet memories and the countless examples of God’s faithfulness in my life. But it’s easy to get stuck in the past.
A counselor once told me that “God wastes nothing,” and oh, how I have seen that to be true. Even the most painful experiences become part of our story, and can be used for good if we are willing.
Then there’s the future: the hopes, the dreams, the prayers, the worries, the “what-ifs.” Dreams for the future are great. I am a firm believer in the importance of setting BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.) Actually, I’m really a believer in having BHAPs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Prayers) because I know who holds the future. And it’s not me! But that’s the subject for another blog post.
What about today? This day? The moments between when I rise and when I crawl in bed TODAY? How will I live this day?
How do I squeeze every drop out of this day which will never come again? The following simple ideas have helped me:
Embrace the day: Start with a mindset of gratitude and expectancy. Instead of grumbling about the irritations and difficulties of life, look for the positives. They are there in abundance. Walk into the produce department of the supermarket. Look at the array of colors, the variety of choices. It’s so easy to grow numb to beauty of the world around us. Open your eyes. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve been overlooking.
Realize the impact of daily decisions: Our future is determined by the little choices we make TODAY. Exercise or watch TV? Eat junk food or something nutritious? Affirm or criticize? Consume or give? Step out or withdraw? All of those little decisions through the course of this day set the trajectory for our future, one day at a time.
Focus on others: Have you ever stepped into a day, asking God to help you see people from His perspective? It provides an amazing shift. Instead of finding people annoying and as an impediment to progress, you begin to see them as fellow sojourners, dealing with their own struggles. And if you are on the lookout for ways to actually encourage other people, you’ll be astounded at the opportunities that appear.
Yes, today is a gift. Once the minutes of this day pass, they are gone forever, just like the grains of sand that slip through an hourglass. My hope and prayer for you, this day, is that you will savor the gift that is today.