Friday, January 2, 2009

In the Moments....

     Years ago we were blessed to visit the Rocky Mountain National Park.  I had never seen mountains of such grandeur.   The sights took my breath away.   Red tailed foxes, elk grazing in fields, picturesque views, all displayed the splendor of His Majesty.  Taking it slow around the curvy roads allowed you to savor what was in your eyes’ gaze, never knowing what that might be.

     Many days I’ve lived life looking out on the horizon.  All I could see is where I wanted to go.  In the process I lost sight of living in the moments.  God signatures in my life were left unseen as my eyes fixed on what lay ahead.

     Why is it we live to map out our lives?  What is it about planning ahead, finding our purpose, figuring things out that is so alluring to us?  We need purpose statements, visions, plans to make our lives work.  Why is there so much emphasis on figuring it all out?  In our need for structure could it be that somehow we end up boxing God out or in?

     Why can’t the vision of “I want to know you, and the power of your resurrection and the fellowship of your sufferings” be enough?  Why isn’t it enough to know that He will lead us on the unfamiliar paths, showing us the way to go.. you know, don’t turn to the right or the left, here’s the way walk in it.”  Why are we more stimulated with having a plan than waiting to be led along the unfamiliar path?  Unfamiliar means we don’t have a clue.  It has to be revealed.  Why then do we spend our days trying to figure it all out?

     Throughout scripture people lived in the moments without plans.  Moses was herding sheep in the wilderness when God showed up in a fiery bush.  Abraham was living life with Isaac when God tells him to go to Mt. Moriah.  Joseph was a prisoner when the prison cell opened, releasing him to be the second most powerful man in Egypt.  Mary, a young virgin was living as a teenager when an angel showed up to tell her she will bear the life of the Son of God.  

     Not one of those people had a 5 year plan, purpose statement, or even a vision for their lives.  Not one of them had their lives mapped out.  None of them imagined the unfamiliar path God had lined up.  They were available and alert when God showed up in all His splendor, to reveal the plans.

     In this day and age I believe we have lost sight of living in the moments, depending on God to show up with the next step of our journey.  We live for the destination, seeing where we need to get to.  We box God in or out, limiting Him to our pictures, and plans, our need for security through structure.  But He and He alone is our security.  Why don’t we trust Him enough to wait in the moments?

     I wonder what it would look like to awaken each day to live in the moments with God with no idea of what that looked like.  What would it look like to live every day without a plan, other than to follow, know and love Him? Would we find ourselves right where we were always meant to be?  Would our senses be sharper because of the need to be alert?

       It’s quite simple really.  Jesus told us about it in Matthew.  Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be added.  Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself.  Live in the moment, seize the day.  His ways are higher than our ways.  He knows the plans.  He’s got them.


      Living in the moments, allows me to see the one, true God in all His splendor.  Much like that drive in Estes Park, untold beauty unfolds as He shows up at just the right instant to guide me to His planned destination.  He is a wild God with a wild sense of adventure.   The more I live without my plans, the more I see of Him.  

     He waits for me to seek Him, know Him, love Him.  He waits to show off His splendor to me.  He waits to lead me on the unfamiliar paths of life, allowing His plans for me to unfold.  Will I wait for Him in the moments?  Will you?

     O Taste and see that the Lord is good;  How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.  Psalm 34:8


2nd Cup of Coffee said... Reply to comment

Recently my daily, first-morning prayer has become, "Help me to love you and love other people." It's simple, but it works. It's the essentials!

Marsha said... Reply to comment

I agree, we are consummate planners. We carry day planners, palm pilots and fill them up with meetings and busyness. We have that goal in mind, but miss the simple blessings along the way.

On the other side of this thought are those that only live for the moment. The people of Western NC live in the moment all the time! Can't get them to commit to a thing... it's really frustrating at times.

Balance and harmony... Plan, have goals, but allow to enjoy the simple things. Don't be busy just for busy's sake.

Great thought! Loved them... as always.

ktwalden said... Reply to comment

God has dealt with me on this very subject due to my constant "do-lists" and "don't-lists". Changes in my plans and schedules used to throw me into a tizzy. But thanks to that Amazing Grace, I am trying my best to be led by the Spirit in every aspect of my life. God's plans for us are so much better than we could ever imagine!

Lana said... Reply to comment

Being "here and now" turns out to be the only place I can really be. "Then and there" is an illusion that requires too much energy to empower. Thanks for the reminder.

Joyful said... Reply to comment

Over 20 years ago now, on my wedding day, a very dear friend encouraged me to live in the moment. To take time to stop and enjoy what was happening right then. It was valuable advice that has stayed with me.

I think it was a book by Dr. David Jeremiah that included a poem about God being "I Am", not "I will be", or "I was", but "I Am". Living in the moment with a God who knows the future, but lives each moment with us.

I think of an old song that says, "Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today."

Embracing this moment,

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

I think Mer's John writes beautifully about this today, too. The 5 year plan, maybe not. But I also know that I need some plans, some structure, so that I'm not in the same spot at 5 p.m. that I was at 9 a.m. But, absolutely, Lord, lead me to you and Your path for me, I pray. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Kimberly said... Reply to comment

If my sweet husband wasn't asleep near by, I would have laughed out loud as I read this. Not because of laughing at you, but laughing at God answering a prayer of mine. :) Letting me know I need to chill out and trust Him, whether I know the plan or not! :)

Love you and all of your thought-provoking, Christ-focused questions!
K :)

Amy said... Reply to comment

Preach it girl!!!

Your words put the key to happiness in a nutshell...Life IS BEST when we LIVE FOR THE DAY!

Thanks for brightening my day!

Love you,

mdgibbs said... Reply to comment

Juie, your words blessed me this morning! I am right there...learning to live in the moment. Laying down my "5 year plan", and letting God lead the way. His timing is off and he waits til the last minute....and sometimes He even says "NO" to the things I had hoped He was allowing me to do! But when I stop pulling against Him, Be still and KNOW that He is in control...that "He's got it...and He doesn't need my help!" Then...I can enjoy the journey, even when I don't know what lies around the bend. Even when it seems like life has fallen apart. Sometimes he has to break down all of those plans to get our attention. He wants to show us that out of all these 'GOOD' things we are trying to do so fast and furiously...that they just might be distractions that are keeping us from experiencing HIS BEST that He has for us. Thanks for the encouragment, Julie! Love you much! Mel

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said... Reply to comment

That's so beautiful. So many good points.

And the early church didn't hire any marketing specialists either. However did it grow??

Anonymous said... Reply to comment

Great words Julie...glad to see you up and writing again. I don't always comment, but I do enjoy reading your blogs. Interesting thoughts here, kind of funny...Aly and I were discussing the fascination within our circles of "figuring it out" or "Jesus was all about such and such." We are so driven to boil it all down the key points, pillars, foundations, etc. We serve the "god of the main thing." Thanks for the reminder to chase after the Untameable, to savor all of His ways, and to embrace each of His thoughts.


selahV said... Reply to comment

thanks Julie. I needed this one. selahV

Laura said... Reply to comment

This is so good, Julie!

I love this: "In this day and age I believe we have lost sight of living in the moments, depending on God to show up with the next step of our journey. We live for the destination, seeing where we need to get to. We box God in or out, limiting Him to our pictures, and plans, our need for security through structure. But He and He alone is our security. Why don’t we trust Him enough to wait in the moments?"

God taught me this lesson a few years ago when I was working as our church's director of Children's Ministries. It seemed like no matter how much I planned, something always went awry with my programs. Sunday school teachers wouldn't show up. Kids missed practices. People forgot commitments. It was extremely frustrating. Until I recognized what God was teaching me.Looking back, that season was one of great import to my trust in Him.

I've been a little out of sync, trying to catch up! I hope your new year is starting out smoothly!

Miss G said... Reply to comment

This is so hard from me. I feel paralyzed by the "not knowing what to do." Just being honest. Kelly

Kathy S. said... Reply to comment

Julie, thanks for sharing your insights. I hadn't really thought about it before. I sometimes fight to plan ahead, and yet seem to be scurrying often. I was setting a goal to look ahead better this year. Hmmm. Perfect balance needed here again...Enjoy the moment, but also look ahead. Like the ant.


Liz said... Reply to comment

the past is history
the future, a mystery
today is a gift
that's why it's called
the present

Shanda said... Reply to comment

This was perfect timing. I was asked to speak at a women's ministry meeting and tried so hard to map it all out and prepare, as if I learned nothing from my last She Speaks conference. Feeling like I was still to say, "Yes", I went anyway and just lived in the moment and of course, the Lord lead my sister and I through the entire evening! It was amazing to be a part of something like that!
Thanks for the encouragement!

Cindy said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie,
Thanks for stopping by my blog.
The show cubbie came from Target. It was not the easiest thing to put together but once done - I love it.
Have a great day.

Madi said... Reply to comment

God is so wise in the simple ways He teaches us. It is WE who try to 'complicate' things! One day I was pondering this topic--living in the fulness of the MOMENT. The Spirit (had to be HIM, not me) brought to my mind God's own name: I AM THAT I AM, that particular one. Notice: I AM...very present, very NOW. God is about BEING. From moment to moment, HE NEVER CHANGES. We are not 'assured' of any moment but the PRESENT! He is not a 'used to do God,' or a 'gonna do God'. He is the GREAT "I AM." Simple, weighty lesson in a very simple thought----in the very name of GOD.
Planning is good, it orders things to keep a flow going---but cling LOOSELY to YOUR plans. Those moments you have 'planned' may not come, or God will change them to make the 'best' of those moments in your life when they come. TRUST HIM...HE HAS YOUR BEST IN MIND, undergirded with His perfect love for you. Truly, to REST in that love, and KNOW HE is the One in control---ah, how sweet the moments! No more pulling your hair out, no more franticness, no more sense of failure in 'not getting everything done.'

God bless you, Julie, for speaking His truth in love.