This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Presence of Mind

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:33-34)

i spend an awful lot of time anywhere but here and anywhere but now.  i rehash past events in my life a lot.  Old arguments and stresses and things that i wish had gone differently.  It seems no matter what i'm doing, my mind is focused on what i'm not doing.  My mind drifts into the future a lot as well, experiencing the angst of troubles that i've managed to imagine as possibilities.  Even at this moment, my mind is cycling from a phone call i need to make, to a paper i'm not finished writing, to an appointment i forgot about early this morning, etc.  i bring a lot of mental weight and burden on myself because of these heart-habits. 

Worry sucks.  It's like being in a cage.  There's so many things i could do right now.  There's so much now i could soak in.  There's so much i don't enjoy on account of not really being there.  There's so much powerlessness i experience because i spend so much time focusing on things outside my control.  There's so much freedom i fail to experience because i don't focus the entirety of my mental faculties on what i can do.  i feel like i can't initiate things.  My creativity is stifled.  Anytime i let the present moment in, it feels like added pressure, so i quickly run away.  i'm in a cage.  Each bar has a name.  Whatever mental item i'm not letting go of.

i built the cage.  It's my own doing.  And it all amounts to doubt and fear.  It all amounts to my lack of trust.  Maybe it's about lying or hypocrisy in a way, because i'm not behaving as though i really believe the things i claim to believe.  What do i believe?

God is sovereign.  My past and my future are in the hands of God.  God is God over my past.  i am not.  God is God over my tomorrow.  i am not.  i will either decide to trust Him to do His job or i won't.  Isn't it interesting that of all the topics Jesus could've covered in the Sermon on the Mount, so much space was devoted to worry?  How did Jesus address worry?  How did He address those with no peace about the present?  Most of His commentary has to do with the power and providence of God.  God does a perfectly fine job making sure the 'smaller' things of the world work as they should.  "Are you not much more valuable than they?"  

It's a rhetorical question, i think.  It's supposed to be obvious that i'm much more valuable than birds and flowers.  But it's a harder question than it looks.  The problem is i don't think i'm terribly valuable.  My power and my significance seem quite limited.  So all the things that i have to deal with in life seem much bigger than me.  At least far bigger than i feel i can peaceably manage.

But it doesn't matter.  Tomorrow is not mine to control.  My past is not mine to dwell in or dream about changing.  God is the God of my past and my tomorrow.  What does God give to me?  Only today.  Only this moment.  Only right here, right now.  When i spend all my time in doubt and fear about my past and future, i squander and waste what God has given me.  God aims to take care of me.  God means to bless me.  God means to manage me and my life in a way that demonstrates that i am far more valuable to Him than lesser creatures who know no worry.  And yet i sabotage my relationship with Him by my mistrust.

i wrong Him when i worry.  i harm myself.  i rob those around me whom i love and who need me.  

Holy Father, convict me of this doubt and mistrust.  i want right now to kneel before You and to cast my past and my future at the foot of Your throne.  They are Yours to command, not mine.  Teach me gratitude.  Help me see the beauty and richness of the present moment.  Help me to accept and embrace where i am and when i am. Teach me to trust in Your goodness, Your mercy toward my past, and Your unfathomable power to control and direct my future.  i have cheated You out of the trust and gratitude You deserve from me by my incessant worry.  i'm sorry, Father.  It's not right.  You deserve better than that from me.  Please have mercy on my foolishness.  You are sovereign over all things.  To You be all praise and adoration forever.  Amen.

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