We’re familiar with the Latin saying, Carpe Diem!, meaning, “Seize the day!” But as I’ve been meditating on making my life even more fruitful for the Lord, it struck me that better than seizing the day is seizing the moment. Carpe momentum! So, rather than saying, “I thank You, Lord, for this day,” I’m finding myself saying more and more, “Thank You, Lord, for NOW.”
After all, “now” is all that we ever have. We don’t even “today” as a 24-hour entity. We have the moment in which we are living, the present, the now. We always live, without fail, perpetually and without exception, in the here and now.
But that, for me, over the years, has been my problem. (Perhaps you can relate to it too?)
Although we can only live physically in the now, my mind is often somewhere else – almost always, in the future.
I’m physically present, but my thoughts are elsewhere.
I’m driving to the office to do my radio show, listening to the Bible on Audible, then suddenly, I realize I have even heard the last 20 verses. I have completely zoned out. I’m already doing my radio show. Or I’m planning out the details of my next trip. Or, most commonly, I’m thinking of something to write or post.
I’m on my way to the airport for that next trip, but I’m already making plans to finish a major writing project when I return home.
I’m sitting down with Nancy, relaxing and talking about life and family, and suddenly I’m gone. My mind has raced to another time and place. As our daughters commented to me once over dinner (when they were teenagers and had learned well from their mom to understand their dad), “Dad, you’re here but you’re not here.”
I ask again: perhaps you can relate to this too?
A few years ago, I was invited to visit China with Rev. Franklin Graham as part of a special delegation of Christian leaders. On the trip, I spent some time with an older South African couple who lived in North Carolina. The husband was known as Billy Graham’s pastor, the man who led the church that Dr. Graham attended when he was home.
I asked them what was the thing that most stood out about Dr. Graham. They immediately said, “When he is with you, he is totally there.” (That is an almost exact quote; the sense of it is completely accurate.)
This reminded me of a saying by Jim Elliot, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
How this speaks to me (and perhaps to you too?)! To be all there, wherever we are!
But there’s something else I’ve been wrestling with, and I’ll tie it all together in a moment.
According to the Clifton Strengths Finder test, I am first and foremost an achiever. People like this “do not consider their day productive without accomplishing some tasks, no matter how big or small it is. This constant need for attainment is important every single day, not just on weekdays but weekends and even vacations. They derive a sense of fulfillment from their accomplishments. This innate drive, energy and power enable them to push hard to get things done.”
Achievers start every day with a blank slate, regardless of what was accomplished the day before, and every day, something of substance must be achieved. (For me, this always includes writing something new and important.)
For the achiever, “time is limited and life is short,” a mindset that is highlighted all the more if you are a Bible believer, since you have one race to run and then you step into eternity. We must redeem the time and make every moment count! What we do will have eternal ramifications for good or for bad!
To be sure, there is much that can be healthy with this achiever mentality. But there are many pitfalls too, including an obsessiveness that does not rest, a failure to enjoy the moment, an inability to smell the roses.
That’s because you are always racing, always running, always moving, always accomplishing. “Next!” rather than “now” is how you live.
Where is the place of peaceful rest? Where is the place of holy enjoyment?
Now, add to this the inability to stay in the present, and mix in the fact that, every year, you are getting older, giving you less time to fulfill your life goals, and you can see that this can become unhealthy.
That’s why, as I am getting older (67 as of this writing, but in so many ways, genuinely feeling like I’m barely 30), I have really prayed about this, earnestly seeking the Lord for the healthiest possible perspective, all while running hard for Him.
Getting COVID right after Christmas and then spending a day in the hospital only underscored the sense of urgency in my life, since there are so many wonderful promises the Lord has given me that have not yet come to pass. And the window of opportunity (in terms of time) is getting smaller!
This, in turn, is underscored when you realize how quickly time flies by, especially when looking in the rear view of mirror of life. (There’s a relevant saying that the years are short but the days are long.)
All this, then, has brought me to the “seize the moment” mentality, one in which I constantly pull myself back to the now and live in the now and praise God for the now. “Now,” to say it again, is all that we have.
And, since the days are long, at the end of each day, I can say, “Father, what a wonderful, full day this has been!”
By God’s grace, I will continue to ask Him for help to make this a reality in my own life. But perhaps, even as this is becoming more of a mindset and way of living for me, these thoughts can be of help to you too.
And if your “now” is really difficult and challenging, do your best to praise God right in the midst of it and keep your attitude right before Him. Soon enough, the new now will be easier and that old now will be in the rear view mirror.