Wiehann de Klerk
This moment you have right here, right now, as you read this blog, is the only moment in existence. Think of life as moments; moments to be great or moments to be average.
The key to living in the moment is to forget the past and ignore the future. A lot of the time, we focus so much on the things that we need to accomplish that we forget the pathway required toward its attainment, and, many times, this pathway is simply actions that must be taken now, and over a series of upcoming now's. Right now. This moment matters. As soon as you place too much attention on the things that you want to accomplish, you detract from the things that you need to do. The actions are more important than the goal. There are a lot of people out there talking about goals; get a five-year plan and plan towards success! I find this type of thinking to be weird. Don't get me wrong; I have goals. Certainly. However, my goals are things that I will achieve based on the actions that I am taking today. For example, if my goal is to be a pilot, but I'm studying Business at University then its very obvious that my goal of being a pilot is more like a dream written in sand and washed away by the tide. My actions that I am taking today, in this current moment, are so distanced from where I want to be, that my goal is pointless. However, if my actions are aviation orientated, then my goal might have some realism about it. In this sense, there is nothing wrong with goals. But, I find that many people set ridiculous goals. It is, to be honest, very funny sometimes. People say, "I want to be a millionaire." Yes, don't we all? My question is again about this moment - if you want to be a millionaire, are you doing, in this current moment, what you need to do to become a millionaire? Are you spending time with millionaires? Do you have a mentor? Are you learning some wealth strategies? Or are you merely saying something, and then watching TV at night? See, the reality is that life is just a series of moments, and those moments, over time, equate to a result in the future. So, if you want to get somewhere in life, focus on the moments. Be the best you can be at every moment and make the right moments occur, in order to achieve the right results.
"As soon as you place too much attention on the things that you want to accomplish, you detract from the things that you need to do."
Life is so short, so why is it that people focus so much on the future, on tomorrow, instead of today? Who has time to worry about tomorrow? Who has time to even think about tomorrow? I have a hard enough time getting everything I want to get done, in a day. In Proverbs 27:1, Solomon says, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth," further exemplified in James 4:14 - "You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." A vapor? That's harsh! It's true though. Our life here on earth is merely a vapor; frail, and no calculation can identify it as having permanence. The word vapor, in the Greek, is ἀτμὶς, meaning mist, smoke; that which can be seen ascending from a hot stream, or that which lies beside a mountain in the early mornings on a cold winter day, slowly but surely dissipating as the light of sun reveals itself. "Then vanishes away" implying the disappearance of its measly existence. Its there, and then the next moment, it's gone. No remnant remains, and life is of a similar nature. Soon, it disappears, gone. The fine arts, construction, successes and empires of man, remain for only a short time. Who can build strong hopes on such a thing? On that which rises, and then falls. That is why, as Christians, we choose to establish our hopes deeply in Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. He is eternal, and everything else is not. Jesus stressed this also, saying, in Matthew 6:30, that the grass of the field "is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven." This was further expressed by Peter, in 1 Peter 1:24: "All flesh is grass." The idea here being, that life is grass - how temporary life is. Many poets have expressed words about this: Shakespeare; "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more;" and Confucious, "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated," yet, none have expressed as beautifully the words of the new testament.
"Life is but a series of moments, and those moments, over time, equate to a result in the future."
Over many years of mentoring others, I find that many individuals and couples focus too much attention on the future. So much so, that you think they have complete, full confidence in the occurrence of the future, that they even anticipate it. But how? You cannot anticipate something that may not happen. You can anticipate the holiday you booked for next year, or the games night you have coming up with your friends, but you cannot anticipate the future, ten years from now. Ten years from now, you will experience another moment - and deal with that moment when that moment occurs. Right now, this moment reading this blog is what is happening. Nothing else. Steve Jobs said these words at Stanford University, in 2005:
"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been "no" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."
We need to ensure that every day of our lives is lived the way we want to live it - like it is our last. When we do this, we treat everyone else around us, differently. Our ability to love others, to care for them and to make a difference is enhanced. Our love for life is also enhanced, simply because we treat every moment like it is our last. We must choose to live every day like it is our last. If I lived that day like it was my last, I would have done things differently. We all know that limited edition products generally sell out quickly because customers know that today is the only day to acquire it as tomorrow may never come. I like to think of life as a limited edition product. I acquired it through the grace of God, and I choose to enjoy the gift that he has given me because I understand that tomorrow may never come.
"Live each day as if it was your last." Steve Jobs.
There is a problem with focusing on the future, and that is that we want to get involved in it. We want to control it; we save money, we try to plan it. As soon as we get involved in controlling our future, we say to God that His will is of less importance than our will, and as soon as we do this, we lack faith. Focusing on the future is, well, foolish, if you think about it. After all, we cannot know the future, because we are not God, and all attempts at it will be foolish, and even sinful. As soon as we endeavor to find out what is not ours to find, we step into sin; activities such as fortune telling, and other false spiritual mediums that seek to discover purposely concealed wisdom, by God, to be revealed in time, by God. Let's let God be God. "Do not boast about tomorrow," implies not only the fact that doing so is foolish, but also that the act of confidence in the happenings of the future, is pointless.
There is also the other side of the spectrum - focusing on the past. This is even worse. A focus on the past means that we are bored, or even scared of the current moment. Think about it. Looking at the past, in and of itself, is a form of procrastination, and procrastination occurs when we don't want to be who we should be, and when we are not being who we should be, we may as well be dead, and when we may as well be dead, we may as well look at Jesus and tell Him that we don't want His gift of life. Wow! That escalated quickly! It certainly did. The past is not a moment; the past was a moment. When you read a book, in order to finish reading it, you must read one page at a time, and, after reading a page, you must turn the page and read another one. Many times, people read a page, and then turn back a few chapters, and then look forward to another chapter, and before you know, they are confused. Of course, you become confused. You can't read a well-structured book in this manner; you will never understand the story.
"Our lives are books that we read as we live it; when we read a book, page by page, we can be at peace."
In Philippians 3:13, Paul says, "One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead." One means there is no other option; here, Paul is indicating an action which is important to take, and immediately, he says, "forgetting those things which are behind." We are to be so concerned about forgetting the past, that when our mind starts to think about it, we must shut it down. Shut your mind down immediately when it thinks about the past. The hardest ones that people hold on to are the moments of regretted mistakes, relationships that went downhill and offense. People regret things they did, so much so, that they can't stop thinking about it. Why think about something that already happened? It's not going to add more time to your life. People are worried that, due to relationships breaking down, people will spread gossip about them. So what? As long as you don't spread gossip. People get offended and then keep thinking about it. Offense is a killer because it takes a long time to go away by itself. Again, we cannot depend on the mind, to, by itself, forget the past, because it simply won't do it, by itself. We must purposely, as Paul was saying, take action to forget the past. We need to build a wall behind us, and the only way to build a wall behind us is to take action and do it. We must not be influenced by others and our past. Our conduct must be so, that it is influenced by our one and only Master. If others have time to gossip about others, loiter around the place or consider trivial past moments, let them, but I have no time for such things.
"The act of existence subtracts life from us every second of every day, so, why be anxious in the little time we have?"
What are some things that you are thinking about right now that does not pertain to the present moment? Be aware of these thoughts. Awareness of these thoughts will enable you to shut them down as they occur. When you feel your mind having a conversation, stop it in its tracks. One of my mentors always says, "some people don't just a have a voice or even two in their minds; they have a whole committee in there."
If you want to learn more, simply browse these blog categories: