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How to Live in the Moment While Moving Forward

Self | Attie Murphy | 7 mins

Where do the present and future collide? For me, it's every day. There's so much I want and need to do today, but I also want to get a head start on my rapidly approaching future. So most of the time, I wake up and focus on my agenda, like work, errands, and other commitments. When I'm doing those things, I center on the moment because I have to if I want to succeed. But what about the spaces in between? The spectrum of future concerns is broad. From career goals and financial issues to adventurous plans, we all have short-term and long-term maps for our lives. We keep these maps in our heads and let them play on repeat, like Siri's voice after you make a wrong turn. "Proceed to the route. Proceed to the route." We stress about our destinations and all the stops along the way. We only turn that "voice" off when we cover it with something critical, which leaves most of our time with a lot of noise. But what if that's not how it's supposed to be? What if we could live with less restlessness and more contentment? 

Why does the moment matter? 

Some may say that "living in the moment" is for people who don't have struggles or ambition, and it feels like that's true when the achievements we need and want seem to require more time (or energy) than we have. In my experience, energy is an even bigger issue than time. When I carry all my future anxieties (whether good or bad) in my everyday actions, I end up using all my free time to check out (Shut off my mind). After that routine, I feel more behind and still haven't really "refueled." Which is why living in the moment is the first step. Dedication to our future is crucial and motivating, but we'll chase ourselves in circles if we don't realize the value of today.  

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." - James 4:14 

We aren't only here to change the world; we're here for God to change us. He wants us to meet Him where we are now so we can experience the fruits of His spirit. It's easy to just keep moving when our current circumstances are hard to accept. Sometimes our dreams are all that keep us from giving up, and we get discouraged when our "tomorrow" is disappointing because we're already heading toward the next stop. Despite our best efforts, life is full of ups and downs, and we never know how things will turn out. The only way to find satisfaction is to direct the rhythm with intent. Our hope for the future shouldn't replace our contentment in the present. 

So what should we do?

Create boundaries for guidance. 

To have wisdom for our futures, we need to seek guidance from someone who knows what our paths hold. We need to set aside time to focus on God with that purpose in mind. When we have conversations with friends or loved ones, we know that we should focus on that person and listen to what they have to say. That is how we should talk with God. He already knows all the things that cloud our minds, so we can set them aside and simply be

Here are some steps I am trying to employ, and I hope you will, too: 

  • Separate yourself from the distractions of the world, both physically and mentally. That could mean sitting on your bed in the dark or going out on a hiking trail. 
  • Take a deep breath and ask God to clear your mind from all your worries and anticipations. Ask Him to fill that space with His presence. 
  • Set an allotted amount of time to "hangout" with God. That could include sitting in silence or using creative expressions such as music, writing, or drawing. It could also mean reading His Word without looking for any specific lesson that applies to your situation. Just soak it in word by word. Psalms is a great place to start with this. 
  • Pick a verse or create a mantra to help you turn off your "future thoughts" during these times. You can also use this to focus on activities or moments in life when you know you'll bring nothing productive from overthinking. 

On the other side of this, we also need God's help to create structure for our futures. So you can take the above list and reconstruct it into a format for time with God that's future-focused. That's the time to bring your planner to the conversation! It will make a huge difference to set boundaries with your time so that you can embrace the blessings of the moment and the future. That is something that I still struggle to do as I get caught up in the heat of life. Yet, when I set my mind to it, it's amazing how much clarity and gratitude I find.  

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24 

For those who follow Jesus, God promises a perfect future with Him. And He also created a world with wonders for us to enjoy now. Through His Word and His Spirit, He shows us the worth of balance. Our future isn't just about what we want; it's about what God wants for us. He created us for a purpose, and He uses it for good even when we try to take the wheel. When we stop to see what He places in front of us, we can open doors we never knew existed. 

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:34 

Written By

Attie Murphy

Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.

Published on Jan 3, 2022