One of my goals in life is to be content.
I define contentment as satisfaction with my place in life fueled by the knowledge that where I am now is the perfect place for me in this moment and, in this moment, I have all the love, resources, energy, knowledge and wisdom I need to be, do, and have everything this moment requires. This moment is all there is.
Contentment is especially important now when we are all dreaming of the way things used to be and wondering when we will be on the other side of the current pandemic and its fall-out. All this thinking robs us of the power to deal with today.
Mindfulness is a helpful practice for achieving contentment.
According to Wikipedia mindfulness is a concept that derives from Buddhism and is defined as bringing one’s complete attention non-judgmentally to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis, but the Bible has plenty to say about living in the here and now.
Too often I live my present moments stuck between the past and the future. Some version of this goes on all day for most of us. While driving in the car we’re working out a confrontation we expect at work. Doing the dishes, we think back on an argument with our mate and imagine all the snappy comebacks we missed delivering. We mentally send our kids off to college while still changing their diapers…wondering when we’ll ever be free of the drudgery!
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus advised us not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough problems of its own. Other scriptures talk about the crazy things we dream up when we let our imaginations run wild and advises us against it. (Psalm 2:1 KJV, Romans 1:21 KJV). When we take a little bit of knowledge, build a whole fantasy around it, and start to live our lives based on that picture, we are headed for trouble! Proverbs 3:5 (NLT) tells us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
So how can a Christian to practice the art of living in the moment as Jesus instructed us to do?
Be aware of your thoughts. Just noticing a tendency to drift forward or back in time is the place to start. Ask Holy Spirit to point it out to you. He’s a good helper like that!
When you find yourself longing for the past or worrying about the future, take the Biblical advice to wrangle your imagination and capture your thoughts to bring them in line with God’s Word. You cannot think two thoughts at once. Find and memorize scriptures that cancel regrets and worries. When you find yourself running headlong down a path you’ve made up for yourself, those verses can bring you back to the realization that right here and right now, you have what you need.
Here are some of my favorites:
Paul said that he had learned to be content (Philippians 4:12). You and I can, too. We can enjoy this time knowing that we have everything we need if we remember Paul’s secret, “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me” (Philippians 4:13, GNT).
How do you keep yourself in the moment?