By nature, I am a thinker and an extremist. I can think & analyze both the past and future from 439 angles in all of 3 seconds- simultaneously. Give me 3 minutes and I am so deep in thought that not even the smell of a great cup of coffee can pull me out.
Then there is the extremist part. I am all or nothing baby! For example, I am either all the way on the health wagon or so far off that I don’t even remember there was a wagon.
Welcome to my life.
The other day I was having one of those days where I was a decade back in thought. While also being two decades ahead in thought. I was living in the extremes of past and future. Basically, I was having a mini meltdown with someone I trust.
I was distraught over something from my past I hadn’t dealt with fully and anxious about how it left my future.
What came next, was one of those moments that quiets everything in your mind while meanwhile giving you a hard blow to the gut.
My trusted gal pal looked back at me (after she let me word vomit all over her) and paraphrased an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. A fictional book comprised of letters from a high assistant of “The Father Below”, named Screwtape, to his nephew.
She said my current predicament reminded her of one of the letters in the book. Screwtape was coaching his nephew on how to meddle with people’s minds. His instruction was: keep them stuck in the past or longing for the future but never let them be in the present. The present is where He (capital ‘H’) is.
Just typing that made the hairs on my arms stand on edge. Now, you see why it stopped my racing mind and gave me a swift gut blow.
It’s because it’s true. And maybe I am crazy. But, I am thinking it’s not just me who lives in the extremes of the past and future while trying to numb the experience of the present.
We romanticize the past.
We long for the future.
But we have anesthetized ourselves to the present.
After my gal pal said this, the verse in Psalm 46 came to mind.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
As I thought on this verse that I had memorized and repeated for years. It suddenly dropped 18 inches from my head and into my heart. My current experience was giving it new meaning.
He is an ever-present help in our time of need. Yet, we often don’t perceive it because we are not present. We are living in the past that got us here meanwhile longing for the future ahead.
But, His presence is in the present.