“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” Matt 6:33-34 (TPT)
Sometimes I get so fixed upon and blinded by the shiny beautiful or the big and scary thing up ahead. And so, miss much of what IS within reach right before me. It’s something that, I have noticed, can happen anywhere and everywhere with everything – with bigger things like friends, relationships and careers – but also with the little things like simply.. the moment, the day, or the week ahead.
I’ve worked jobs where my eyes were often miles ahead figuring out how I could achieve the next big thing, while not seeing what I needed to do and face what needed to be tackled now – in the present. I got pretty good at playing the part of being ready for bigger and better, while inwardly feeling not ready for that at all. I’ve been through seasons of forgetting the quality friendships I had, while wishing I had others. Moreover, I’ve had mornings or evenings where I’m anxious or fearful about something weeks from now, while missing the simple beauty of that quiet morning.
Perhaps the thing we’ve become transfixed upon up ahead is at times, driven by some sort of ideal about things going a certain way. Things that, to our detriment, are out of our control. Because of that I think that ideal is sometimes, a bit of a mirage, while the here and now is.. reality. A good place to begin.
Moreover, I think that focus upon the further up ahead thing sometimes kind of blinds me of seeing both the beauty and the hardship of what lies before me now. It’s like in not being here I …. fail to take my seat at the table set before me – perhaps laid with sometimes not so favourite foods – but it’s my place never the less.
I wonder if when we fail to acknowledge the here and now as it currently exists (for its peaks as well as its valleys), we also fail to be present to so many other core things; like being known for who we ARE, like being met with grace in our PRESENT state, like experiencing being loved by the people who ARE in fact, consistently offering their friendship, time and care. I think it’s these things that energise our movements forwards.
If we are forever running from our present moment for some illusive of ideal that is forever further down the track… maybe we are in some ways also abandoning and isolating our selves from experiencing important necessary-to-our-livelihood sorts of things, today.
If we stop and stare the present in the face, there might be some pain in that; maybe we have to face our losses and our fears; the trampled dreams that have recently changed their course, the hurt of whatever the last days, weeks or months have brought upon us. For that reason, it is incredibly brave to stop and let ourselves be met with our present for all that it holds. Maybe it’s actually our running from now, that creates within us a sense of stagnancy and isolation. And maybe this stopping to face now, actually in turn, allows us to keep moving and flourishing.
I think now is the very place that he, in fact, calls and draws us to every moment of every day. I think, the joy that also has an opportunity to now be experienced, might outweigh whatever pain may come along with it. Because as hurts and wounds are allowed to rise to the surface, they can also be met with the fresh healing air. Perhaps that will be through friendships, or reading, or walking, or a coffee, or a movie. It doesn’t really matter how, just that you are here and available. Because it is the present that offers a means of healing, of being heard, of finding your place, of being known as you are.
What if the ‘realm of God’s kingdom’ mentioned in Matthew is here? What if that’s the intention behind ‘refusing to worry about tomorrow?’ I think there’s a special kind of freedom in this here-place, because this place is not an illusion nor a mirage – it is now and it is true. I think this is the very place that he dwells, heals and speaks through. Our now, I think, is the only sure place that holds his promise of here-with-us. Perhaps our own efforts to be present to now, matter just as much when it comes to our knowing and experiencing of him. Should we find or feel we have lost that sense, perhaps it is a matter of in trust, courageously coming back to here, of coming back to now, for all of the joy and all of the pain that may hold. And it is here, we will find our being embraced, by him.