Pausing to Live in the Moment

It’s so easy in life to get caught up in what might come next and prepare for the next big step in our journey. I know for me this can cause huge anxiety and make me fear the next steps or fear starting a new chapter in life. What would happen if we were to stop and live in the moment, taking each step as it comes and not worry about what may come? I have been thinking about this idea a lot over the past few days, especially because many of us will be starting a new chapter and the end of the summer. For me, I am attending a new university after spending time at a community college. To be honest, I am nervous. New situations are always seem to be a giant beast in my life, new faces and places can fill me with anxiety, yet I have nothing to be afraid of. Sure the possibility of something going wrong is present, but I have nothing to be afraid of. I think everyone struggles with this to an extent, we all have fears that can cause us to have a high anxiety about what may come. The funny thing is that what we think may happen often never comes at all! We get trapped in an endless cycle of fear and forget something that might be the most important factor in our life. This one key idea can cause us to move from a state of fear, and into a life of freedom.

As I was reading in my bible this morning I read a verse which instilled in me a sense of peace, not just for moving into a new environment, but standing against the fear that causes us all to hide. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This verse makes things start to click together. When we trust God, we don’t have to worry about anything. That’s the key, no matter what situation, trusting God will guide you through anything. You might be thinking, “Well that’s great but it’s easier said than done.” Which is a true statement for most things, and that’s why I want to share today how and why this is the best option from my personal experience and what I am currently dealing with. My goal is to help you and me get through any situation that brings us anxiety and come out trusting completely on God.

Talk to God daily.

This is the biggest and easiest advice I have learned. When we focus on talking to God, we open up a conversation with the creator of everything. This begins a relationship, just like any other you have, you build communication and strengthen that relationship each time you come together. Reading the word will help you narrow in on the answers you need for every situation you find yourself in. Surrounding yourself in the wisdom of God will give you courage to take on anything that may come your way. I find this to be true over and over again, when I am reading the word and talking to God each day, my life feels more guided and direct. It gives me a sense of direction and opportunity to grow and help others, but when I am not in the word, an opposite effect occurs. Yes it’s true, sometimes I don’t read my bible and talk to God each day, and it hurts. Whether I think I have a good excuse or not, when I’m not in the word, life stinks. That’s the best way to describe it, I lose opportunity and lose my direction. All that happens then is I try to redirect my thoughts and steer myself in my own strength, causing me to crash. That’s why it is such a crucial part of my journey and yours as well. Even if it has to be quick in your morning, on your drive to work, talk to God and meditate on his word. You will be amazed at how much that will change everything in your life.

Live in the now.

This is the second part of having peace rather than anxiety. I constantly find myself thinking about what’s next, what do I have to have done by tomorrow, next week, in a year. My thoughts escalate so fast and create fear in me about failure to achieve that which I want so dearly. I forget to focus on the day in front of me. I end up missing the conversations with those around me, forget to look at the opportunities in front of me. I lose what could have been. I never want to miss out on the things that are right in front of me, so why would I choose to miss it when I don’t have to! We need to learn to stop dreading the future and live for the now, because the now in here and tomorrow might not be. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so live for today. This doesn’t mean party like it’s the end of the world, it means that we should use today to get wiser, be more intentional, and not miss out on what God wants to show you today. Is it an easy task? Well of course not, but we weren’t mean to do it alone. God wants us to come to him and trust that what he has to show us today is better than anything we could ever want. So live in the now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Be thankful for what you have.

This is the final step to having joy in moments where you begin to feel anxious. We have all been given so much, I mean if you can even read this you have some device that gets you on the internet! This is something that I have to remind myself of a lot, especially when it feels like the world around you is crumbling. You have a family, if that’s by blood or your friends, we all have a family. We are a part of something bigger than ourselves, we have been called to do great works for the kingdom of God. We have been blessed with talents that we can use to help others, we have been given a community of believers to rally around when life gets tough. You have so much, I have so much. Most of us aren’t millionaires or highly influential in a political scale, but none of that really matters. We have been put in the situation we are in for a reason, to use our situations to influence and help everyone we meet. You have been blessed by the creator of all things, have your heart be thankful for every blessing that is big or small. You are blessed.

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This past week my dad and I went to New York City for a few days and this idea really struck me. My thoughts are always trying to see what is coming next or being anxious of what may happen next. My dad and I both have this similar way of thinking, so when you go to a bustling city like New York that could easily be a bad place for us to be. It had an opposite effect, because we were trusting God, and when we focused on that the trip was great. We relaxed, had an awesome time, and were able to make memories in our time of rest. No matter what might be going on in your life or what kind of stress you’re feeling, give it to God. Trust me when I say this because I do it daily. It’s a necessity for me. Trusting God isn’t a one-time deal, it must be a daily choice to stand in him and not our own strength. One thing that I have learned is that God can do all things, no matter what happens. Everything changes, but the love and presence of God lasts forever. You and I, we don’t have to fear anything. So no matter what situation you face, God will walk beside you and fight for you when you give him control.

Pause from your fear and live into the moment that God has given you.

-Joshua Thomas

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