My work in the business world required constant planning for things that were six months to one year away. Unfortunately, this spilled into my personal life — always looking down the road, making plans, not really living in the here and now. This happens to a lot of us. I suppose this is what leads to a lot of our unhappiness. We get “locked in” to the future and when those things don’t turn out as we planned, we are disappointed or frustrated. We are always looking for the next thing to make us happy. We think that God isn’t listening to our prayers.
My life was out of balance — too much time in the future and not enough time in the present; too dependent on my own self-reliance and not enough trust in God’s plan for me. God still wants us to plan, but He wants us to spend more time living day to day, living in His presence, checking in with Him throughout our daily activities, living in our current circumstances, not waiting until we make ourselves “better” or when “I’m ready.” We ask this of God every day when we pray the Our Father: Give us this day our daily bread. This means more than just food.
We aren’t designed to be apart from God. We are made in His image and likeness. We were made to be in constant contact with the Holy Trinity throughout our day. A joy-filled life without God is unsustainable. We all know there are no guarantees that tomorrow will come. But do we actually believe and live our lives like every day is a gift?
This has led me to the gift of the present moment. In the present moment I:
• Enjoy more of the small wonders of life — many things that I used to take for granted.
• Might do nothing at all, just “be” in the presence of God, family and friends.
• Actively listen to God and others, putting their needs ahead of mine.
• See Jesus in the current moment, in the faces of others and in my interactions with others.
• Know that God loves me in my current condition.
• Am more open and flexible to God’s plan for me.
When I make time for God each day, things that used to be important to me are no longer important. Things that need to get done, get done. God seems to bend time and helps me accomplish more. When we invite the Holy Spirit into our life, He shows up.
In the daily devotional “Jesus Calling,” Sarah Young writes: “Accept each day as it comes and find Jesus in the midst of it all. A successful day is when we stay in touch with Jesus throughout the day and don’t let our
‘to-do’ list become an idol directing our life.”
Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at Mary, Mother of the Church in south St. Louis County.