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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Be careful how you live...

Lyndon B. Johnson said, "Yesterday is not ours to recover..."  He is so right - once time has passed us by, it is but a fleeting memory.  We can try as we might to "reconstruct" it through recall and emotion, but it is gone now and nothing more than a memory.  The rest of what he said was also quite profound:  "Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose."  If the yesterday moments are already lost, then we had best be paying attention to the present so we don't lose those opportunities, as well.  I think he may have overstepped the boundaries of man in his words here, because our tomorrow is never assured.  If we are granted the breath and strength to take on our "tomorrow", then we had best determine today if we will embrace it with all we've got, or settle on more lost moments.

So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps. Don’t run around like idiots as the rest of the world does. Instead, walk as the wise! Make the most of every living and breathing moment because these are evil times.  So understand and be confident in God’s will, and don’t live thoughtlessly.  (Ephesians 5:15-17 VOICE)

Mindfulness indicates carefulness, awareness, and attentiveness.  Three traits we'd do well to develop in order to appreciate the moments we are given.  When we are attentive, we don't miss things - even when they are subtle.  We pick up on the nuances of others, the mood of the moment, the underlying current of the situation.  When we are aware, our senses are "tuned up" and we are listening, seeing, sensing with "all cylinders".  If we focus on taking great care in all circumstances, we are less likely to take missteps, fall into traps unnoticed, or lay hold of things which will eventually burn their way into leaving large scars in our lives. 

We are responsible for the care we direct toward our day.  If we have no plans, we can see time drift away without us being cognizant of the dwindling away of those hours.  If we make too many plans, we can become overly stressed and too keyed up to enjoy the moments we are taking part in.  It looks as though we are present in the moment, but when we are so overly stressed, we are already moving on in our minds to the next thing we have to accomplish.  We miss out when we live too far in the future, or don't focus on the present that is passing us by.  

As our passage states, we need to understand and be confident in God's will - the means to developing this understanding and confidence being the discovery of that will through his Word, time in thoughtful prayer, and attentive listening to the niggling of his Spirit within. Without this discovery and understanding, we make thoughtless decisions and are not invested in the stuff which really will matter in the long run.  Sometimes we share the moments with others, drawing support and comfort as we make our way though.  At others, we find solace in the presence of God and just nuzzle up close to him as we go through those moments.  

It doesn't always have to be that we share all our moments with others - some of the most profound can be those we walk through with God, in the place of solitary communion with him.  Others may not understand the place of solitary communion, though.  They can see it as being unwilling to share what you are going through, or being too "stuck up" or "self- assured" that you don't need or care about others and/or their help.  It may not be easy to navigate through either one of these circumstances - being the center of attention, or being in quiet reflection. To others, it may seem you are aloof at times, too demanding of attention at others.  It may even seem you don't care to allow others to get to know the real you. 

As we walk through our moments, we always need to be cognizant that others are walking through theirs, as well.  Sometimes one will take precedent over the other, but always know this - none of these moments escape God's care, his provision, and his protection.  All moments are covered in his grace and love when we first seek to put him in the center of all we do.  Just sayin.