Trying to Live Where We Are Not!

Group of friends at a restaurant with all people on the table occupied with cellphones

I once heard Dr. Tony Evans say something to this effect: He said that most people are being crucified between two thieves: The regrets of yesterday and the anxieties of tomorrow! When we attempt to live our lives, burdened with yesterday’s regrets and/or tomorrow’s worries, we sacrifice the present day! Attempting to live life in this manner is stressful because it is a vain attempt to live where we are not!

Trying to live in the past is an impossible feat! It’s like trying to drink milk that has spilled on the floor! It’s like trying to stand in the same molecules of water in a river that is flowing! It’s like trying to cash a check that has already been cashed! NO! Yesterday is spilled milk! Yesterday is water under the bridge! Yesterday is a cancelled check! There is nothing, absolutely nothing we can do to re-live yesterday! Many people are stuck because they stubbornly refuse to let-go of yesterday. But whether it’s yesterday’s regrets or even yesterday’s victories; yesterday is gone and we will never live yesterday again!

But just as attempting to re-live yesterday is an impossible feat, so is attempting to live tomorrow before tomorrow comes! Now, we can prepare for tomorrow, but we can’t live tomorrow today! We can ‘prepare’ to cross the bridge, but we can’t actually cross the bridge until we get to the bridge! In a sense, ‘tomorrow’ will always be a day that we will never live! Why? Because, when we get to ‘tomorrow’ it will no longer be tomorrow; it will be; ‘today!’

Realistically and practically speaking; yesterday and tomorrow are actually days that have no real substance! Let me show you what I’m talking about! When we were experiencing ‘yesterday’ it wasn’t yesterday, it was today! As stated earlier, when we get to ‘tomorrow’ it will not be tomorrow, it will be today! Therefore, the only day we can actually live in and do anything with, is ‘today!’ Yesterday is a cancelled check and tomorrow is just a promissory note! The only day that we can ‘spend’ is today!

That is why the attempts to live in yesterday and tomorrow are so fruitless and in many ways; detrimental! First of all, it is an impossibility, because we can’t live where we are not! Secondly, it is detrimental, because when we attempt to live in yesterday or tomorrow, we sacrifice and waste today! In fact, many of the regrets of yesterday and the anxieties of tomorrow are caused by the neglect of the present day! We don’t do what we should do in the present and that is what causes the regrets of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow! If we learn to discipline ourselves to ‘live in the moment,’ our lives would be less stressful because the ‘moment’ is the only time we can actually live!

But, in addition to trying to live where we are not, in regard to yesterday and tomorrow, there is an addition stress of trying to live in a ‘place’ where we are not! Have you ever witnessed or been part of a conversation in which a person standing in your presence is preoccupied with a conversation or even a game on their smartphone? You hear them say something, but when you respond, they tell you that they weren’t talking to you but rather the other person on the phone! The crazy thing about it is that, more often than not, just as they neglect to give their full attention to the people who are standing right in front of them for a conversation with the person on the phone, when they are standing in front of the person on the phone, they do the same thing to them by talking to someone on the phone! They are ‘here’ but they are not really ‘here!’ They are trying to live where they are not!

Have you ever been to a restaurant and notice two people or even a group of people sitting together at a table, but each and every person is preoccupied with their phone? They are present, but they are not really present! They are together, but they are not really together! Why? Because they are trying to live where they are not!

May I make a radical suggestion that just might make life a little less stressful? Instead of trying to re-live yesterday or pre-live tomorrow, why not just focus on the present moment! Focus on the only time you can actually live; the present moment! Now, I know what it is like to be worried about tomorrow! But it’s a fruitless activity! You see, when we worry, that breeds frustration. And when we are frustrated, it shuts down our ability to think clearly. Let’s just supposed that your electricity is going to be cut off tomorrow. Instead of being consumed with worry and bemoaning over what it is going to be like without electricity tomorrow, focus on what you have and what you can do right now! What can you do? You can go buy some ice and a cooler to store your food when the refrigerator will not be on! You can go to store and buy candles, flashlights, or lanterns for alternative lighting when the electricity is cut off! You can also just choose to simply ‘enjoy’ and take advantage of the hours of electricity that you have left! Finish reading the book! Wash a load of clothes! Take advantage of the electricity you ‘now’ have with an attitude of gratitude! Who knows, by tomorrow, a means to pay the bill that you hadn’t thought of before may materialize? You might be able to work out an extension with the power company. At lot of things could happen between now and tomorrow! So, the best thing to do is not cause additional stress by trying to live tomorrow today! Live today to the fullest and allow tomorrow to take care of itself!

Now, this is not to say that we shouldn’t plan for tomorrow, by all means, no! In fact, sometimes the best use of ‘today’ is to plan for tomorrow! But the point is to make the best use of ‘now’ and not allow the past or the future to prevent us from fully enjoying and taking advantage of the present moment! Give full attention to the people who are in your presence! To do otherwise is not only impractical, it is also downright rude and disrespectful to all three parties; the people in front of you, the person on the phone, and yourself! Starting today, discipline yourself to live where you are: Discipline yourself to consistently live in the ‘here’ and ‘now!’

How to Spell L-O-V-E

love spellingThere are many ways to spell l-o-v-e, but I think there are three (3) that are most significant. First of all, l-o-v-e is spelled a-c-t-i-o-n. When you ask most people to define love, most likely they will define it in terms of descriptive feelings. But did you know that in the Bible the word “love” is not found in the adjective form, but rather only as a noun and a verb? In other words, love in the Bible is not something that is felt, it is something that is and something that is done! John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV) The use of the term “love” in the verse is not a description of how God felt about the world, but rather about what God did! The Bible also says in 1 John 4: 8, 16: “God is love.” Again, the term “love” in both verses, is not descriptive, it is not used as an adjective to describe God, but rather as a noun to tell what God is! How do you spell love? In the Bible, love is not something that is felt, but rather it is something that is done and something that just is! In the Bible l-o-v-e is spelled: a-c-t-i-o-n.
The second most significant way to spell l-o-v-e is t-i-m-e! Time is one of the most valuable assets we have in life. There are many today who think money is their most important asset, but time is even more valuable than money! The value of something is determine by its uniqueness and limitations. Time is more valuable than money because, all things being equal, you can always get some more money, but once you spend time, it can never be replaced or recovered! That is why it is a tragedy to waste time and it should be a crime to kill time! Since time is so valuable, we can use it to express and spell love. Why? Because people tend to spend time on and with what and who they really love! If a person is spending “money on you” but “not spending time with you,” their love for you might be suspect!
The third most significant way to spell l-o-v-e is a-t-t-e-n-t-i-o-n. This is closely related to time, but not quite the same thing. Attention is not the same as time because it is possible to spend time with a person or thing while at the same time, not paying real attention to that person or thing! That was the rationale behind the old R & B hit that said: “Your body is here with me, but your mind is on the other side of town!” There are other significant ways to spell l-o-v-e, but in my opinion, these three; action, time, and attention, are the most significant. Now tell me; how do you spell l-o-v-e?