Sunday, July 9, 2017

LIVING NOW HERE OR LIVING NOWHERE - IT'S UP TO YOU

          Are you missing out on today while living for the mystery of tomorrow or in the shadows of the past?  Are you living for a goal?  Do you focus most of your time and resources on a desired result that may or may not manifest?  Are you reveling in a past success or victory?  Are you prisoner to your past, haunted by tragedy or failure? The past is gone and the future, if we are honest, is a complete mystery.  The only true reality is the here and now.

     Brennan Manning, in his book Ruthless Trust, introduced the concept of living in the Nowhere.  Not pronounced no-where, but now-here.  One of life's greatest dangers is missing life itself by living outside tangible reality.  Now-here is tangible reality.  Now-here is when you make life changing decisions.  Now-here is where you live.  The past is unchangeable and distorted by time where memory either glamorizes and sanitizes or casts crippling blame and shame.  Tomorrow may literally never come and is filled with incalculable variables for which even the greatest minds cannot plan.  The past and the future do not exist, there is only now-here, you can live now-here or you are living nowhere.

    A man was given one day to enjoy the beach, desiring to leave his mark, he frantically built sandcastles until evening. He looks over all his hard work and seeing how much of it has been washed away by the tide, realizes he not only wasted his time but failed to enjoy the beauty of the sea, the salt air on his face or the sound of the ocean's roar.  The man had one opportunity to enjoy what was before him and he squandered it in a worthless pursuit.   

     Like the man given one opportunity to experience the beach, we are given one opportunity to experience life.  Much of what we pursue as important will be washed away by the tides of time.  Working and planning for the future is necessary and wise, ignoring the now-here while working and planning is a tragic waste of the beauty and wonder with which God surrounds us. 

 In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon looks over his life and laments on how he wasted his time.  Solomon, the wisest and arguably wealthiest, man who ever lived, missed out on the simple pleasures afforded by daily life because he consumed himself with working toward future goals. He concludes: Ecclesiastes 3:12-13  I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;  also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man. 

God gives us life, people around us, and tasks to perform, He desires us to enjoy these things while we are in the midst of them. God gave us taste buds to enjoy a good meal, the sense of smell to experience a beautiful perfume or scent of a rose, eyes to behold the wonder of a rainbow, a storm cloud or the face of someone we love. The Bible tells us that enjoying the journey is God's gift to us.  
    Balance is always wise, living as if there is no tomorrow is dangerous and foolish.  Plan and work toward the future but not at the expense of the Nowhere.  Live in today as you look towards tomorrow.  Love in today as you plan for the future.  Bask in the beauty of where you are now even as you are progress to a new destination.    

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