countdown to Christmas, countdowns, devotional, devotions, encouragement, family devotions, family quiet time, living in the present, mercies new every morning, quiet time, reflections, the her and now
I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now. The countdown to Christmas has begun and while I love Christmas and the whole season that comes with it, I am just not ready to see the countdowns begin. On Facebook last week a friend posted how many Fridays were left until Christmas and then, the flashing sign at my pharmacy told me the exact number of days until Christmas. Every time I pass by…BOOM!… there it is in blinking lights: 75 days, 74 days, 73 days… and it will continue to flash the number until the Big Day arrives.
I couldn’t help but wonder if all of these countdowns (whether they involve Christmas, or something else) are just another tool of Satan’s to keep us pseudo focused on life, instead of really focused on living. If I am so focused on what is to come, maybe I am not focused on the here and now and the here and now is where Kingdom work really happens. After all, does someone receive the Gospel tomorrow, or yesterday, or the here and now? (I know all of the above happens, but I hope you get where I’m going with this.) Everything that happens to us, or through us, happens in the now. Satan wants us to only focus on the future and not the now. The now is where miracles take place. The now is where souls accept redemption. The now is where we actually live. Maybe that’s what the Psalmist is getting at in Psalm 90:12. It says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” When people have a few days to live, (and know it), their perspective changes. When we number our days instead of our years, our focus is usually much different. We are wiser and when we are wiser we are using every moment to give God glory. When we are wise, we are hyperaware of how we can expand God’s Kingdom. When we are wise, we realize that His Kingdom is what this life is all about. When we are only focused on the future, we are no good in the now.
You might be thinking that I must be one of those spontaneous people who have no goals, no ambitions and no future plans. Let me just tell you (after I get up off the floor from laughing hysterically) I most certainly am not a “fly by the seat of her pants” kind of a girl. No, siree. I don’t think I’ve ever lived a week without a major goal list. I’m the master goal setter. That might be why this hit me so hard the other day. Goals help me to believe that I haven’t wasted my day, my week, my month, or my year. But, I’m finding in my own life that the goals I’ve set have often kept me from living in the now. I’m so focused on my lists to get done tomorrow that I’m not taking joy for what was accomplished today. I’m often concerned with my agenda instead of God’s agenda for me. I’m so focused on getting to week nine, or fifteen, that I lose sight of the here and now. I’m not saying that goals aren’t important, but sometimes goals can get in the way of actually living.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:34, “…do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus gives us grace for the day, yet we are trying to live in the tomorrow. Tomorrow’s stress is not supposed to be today’s burden.
Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that His mercies are new every morning. That’s a day by day mercy. If we are aren’t waking up accepting what He has for us each day, what are we missing?
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to see today’s miracles. I don’t want to miss them. I want my eyes to be wide open to receive what He has for me today. I want to expand His Kingdom today. I want to worship Him today and not wait for Sunday. I want Him to look at me as He sings over me tonight and say, “Well done, girl. Well done. You used every minute I gave you today. Let’s do it again tomorrow.”