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God is in charge of the future.

Do you really believe that?
Is so, you would be living today in this moment.

Ever be in a group, but not listen to what is being said?
You’re thinking about a problem, or what you should have said in this conversation.

We’ve been talking about looking for God in the little things, having a constant conversation with God throughout our day as we seek to do what He wants moment by moment.
Let’s take that concept one step forward. 
Do you live in this moment?
Do you really listen to your five-year old as he belabors a story that could have taken 2 minutes, but takes 10? Or are you thinking about laundry or what’s for dinner?

When eating, my husband deciphers and distinguishes each flavor, then analyzes how they all blend together with each bite
He chews his food in the moment. 
On the other hand, because I don’t chew my food,  I swallow it—like my dogs who gulp it without even tasting it—I don’t even realize I’ve eaten.
Do I even taste my food? (Probably why I've gained 20 lbs too.)
I have finished my entire meal without thinking and sit watching him eat. 

WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT PRESENT KIND OF LIVING?
We all do.
That’s all we are given.

We aren’t given next year, tomorrow, or even later on today.
We are given now.

You say, “But I must plan.”
In our planning and organizing, we get the false impression we are in charge.
Doesn’t the world say, “You control your own destiny!”?
And once again God is put on the shelf until Sunday when we pick up our Bibles (if we even need them) for church.

It's not that we shouldn't plan. But in our planning, we include God. 
Not just as a "Bless my plans" but as an intricate part of the planning process, 
asking Him what and how we should plan. Then listening to what He says.

Problems consume your mind.
What should you do with this? How can I reach my child?
Why won’t he obey? 

By dwelling on the problem, we forget God.
Our thoughts become anxious, or, at least, busy with a problem.
When you look back on the day and think about where you spent your thoughts—they aren’t evil, they aren’t doing something wrong really, 
but were they focused on God?
If the answer is “no”— you have another god.
It’s not God.

You’ve spent your time on your life, your problems, your plans.
Ever think about how much time we spend worrying or at least thinking about stuff?
When I drove the excursion, I’d worry about finding a good parking space.
Instead of enjoying the drive down the mountain, I’d be mentally parking my vehicle. 
Now, we don’t have the excursion, I still worry about where I’ll park—after all I can’t see very well.
You see, worries just change, they don’t go away.
Try to remember what consumed your time a week ago, a month ago, a year ago.
If you’re like me, it wasn’t on God, it was on some problem or worry that is not even around now.

God doesn’t give you problems so you can solve them.
PAUSE AND READ THAT AGAIN.
God gives you problems so you recognize you can’t solve them.
So you give them to Him.
So He solves them.

Instead of living this moment solving problems, I could have been thanking God for the beauty of the fog in the valley, providing for a perfect parking spot, and the safety God gave to get me there.
My emphasis would have been toward thanking God, not solving my day’s problems (that, incidentally, will be back tomorrow).

When we think we will give thanks later, when we aren’t busy, again, we think we’re in charge of the future.
Are we promised that moment—later?

When my sister was dying of cancer, she told her family regularly, she loved them.
She accepted the brevity of life.
She wasn’t promised tomorrow.
Parting words became important.

We aren’t promised tomorrow either, but we live like we have it.
Like the rich man who worried about building more storage silos for his grain, God said, “You fool, tonight your soul is required.”
Where did all his food go?
He needed none of it.

Not that we live in fear that we won’t be here tomorrow.
But we live today PRESENT in the now.
Enjoying that mouthful of food.
Listening intently to what our spouse or child is saying.
Pausing to thank God for that special little pleasure we noticed.
It’s that total concentration of NOW that we lack.

We’re busy. We can’t do that. We’ll never get anything done.
Then we are TOO busy.

The Christmas season seems such a busy time in everyone’s life—purchasing gifts, decorating, and baking.
Schedules are so packed there’s no time to reflect on the reason for the season.

Isn’t it ironic that’s what people were doing when Jesus came?
Taxes were high.
Whoever thought they could be taxed for being born?
Freedoms vanishing.
How much more will Rome demand?
How could they even make a living?
Life was a constant struggle.

When Jesus came, not many knew.
Why? 
They were too busy.

If Jesus came today, would anyone notice?
After all, groceries are so high, taxes are rising, how high could gas prices go?

Where’s your thoughts?
Just busy.

Satan doesn’t win battles by making us sin grossly.
Satan wins by making us too busy to thank God and to live in the present.
Our idol becomes our plans, our busy-ness.

How can you minimize your busy-ness?
Here's what I've tried.
When the boys were small, I tried to establish traditions for our family.
I tried decorating the Christmas tree as a festive tradition.
The boys hated it. Joey admitted he enjoyed the finished tree, but decorating wasn’t what he enjoyed.
We bought a small tree I could decorate myself. 
Now, Jeremiah helps, willingly and with great artist flair.
He asked for a bigger tree. 
I remember how quickly he will be gone, then a big tree would be mine to decorate. “Our small tree is just fine.”

I tried making ornaments with the boys—they hated it.
I could have fought to “make a tradition”, but it wouldn’t have been enjoyable.
I simplified Christmas with less.
I cooked and baked over two months rather than trying to make a huge meal in two days, so I could enjoy the two days my husband would be home.
Many times he and the boys played Ultimate Frisbee.
Instead of being stuck in the kitchen, I could watch. Good family times.
Memories now special.

Presents are ordered on line now.
They even have an app Elfster that draws names (secretly), posts links for “wishes”  for each recipient.
That’s taken pressure from me in trying to buy everyone an equivalent gift.
Though it’s hard for a mom not to get something for everyone.
Now I get one gift for one person or couple that the app has designated. And I buy what they need or want.

For the grandkids, we’ll buy individual gifts. But I’ve also requested links for suggestions.
I don’t want to duplicate toys, nor give them something they can’t use.
(Toy departments are lacking in good, wholesome toys.)

Whew. Where was I?
Oh yes, simplify the season.

The Christmas letter was started in September. It’s short this year—only four pages. But less remembered. 
I handwrite each address, praying for its recipient. It’s a touch across the miles that the Spirit uses to help people.

It’s mailed after Thanksgiving. So many are returned.
I must change my address book—which is a mess with addresses crossed out and re-written—reflecting over 30 years of many moves.

Well, you don’t have time to hear my projects and plans, but you get the idea how you can simplify the season. (Or not!)

Why?
Don’t simplify for its own sake.
Simplify so you can live in the moment, be in the moment, worship in the moment.

Speaking of worship…
Ever notice how churches have adapted with society’s shift for busy?
There’s no quiet time before the service to prepare our hearts for worship, no pauses to reflect on a song, nor quiet time after the sermon to consider what the Spirit may be saying to our hearts.
No stillness.
We hurry our closing prayer to move to what’s next.

Our lives reflect this shift.
Busy is equated with success and “better”.
When will we realize we’ve left God behind?
And Satan has won.
And we don’t even know it.

This article started by asking, “Do we believe God is in charge of the future?”
By our lives, we say, “He’s not.”
Because we have left Him out of the NOW.
It takes effort to live in the moment.
We must make a choice. 
Not just one time, but every moment, every day.

Since, I believe God is in charge of the future,
I will make this moment a moment to worship Him.
That will not distract me from normal living—normal living will be included.

I Corinthians 10:31 says, So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

I slow down to bring God in my moments, (He’s there already, but unrecognized).
And by acknowledging His Work and His gifts, I learn to live in the present where I find He should be in charge of the now, too.

Start with Christmas—allow yourself to enjoy each moment!
And thank God for that time.


Displaying 1 comment

I sure do recognize myself as one who is so busy planning that I can't live the NOW. Even during enjoyable times I'm thinking of what I must do later. It is not as bad now as when all the kids were home, but all of us need this reminder that our minds have a natural tendency to be planning, planning, planning. As you said, taking control of our lives and too often leaving God out. Women are especially bad this way, we have so very many things on our minds, all the time, we seldom pause to enjoy this moment. Thanks Sonya for a great reminder to all of us, very much needed.

I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what matters...to Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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