In Others’ Words: Now

 

photo by saavem/stockxchng.xom

Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way.  ~Edna Ferber (1885-1968), American novelist

I can’t transport myself to the future, except when I escape in the pages of a spectacular novel.

And I know I can’t go back to days past. But I’ve wasted hours looking over my shoulder at days gone by, rethinking things I said and I did — and things others’ said and did.

The only result? A serious case of virtual neck strain.

Living now requires looking around at what’s happening this minute. Knowing where I’m headed — and yes, not forgetting those tough lessons learned along the way. “Now” means walking with people who are headed my way. Sometimes I’m fitting my feet into the the footprints of those who’ve forged a path ahead of me. And sometimes I’m breaking a trail all my own.

In Your Words: Where are you living — the past? Or are you living your “now”? Are you bumping into people heading the wrong way or breaking a trail all your own?

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28 Comments

  1. Jessica Lewis
    August 6, 2012, 1:07 am   /  Reply

    The seconds, minutes, and moments are what matters in life. Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise. Ecclesiastes 7:10 says. Breaking a trail all your own? That is something I think we all can do. God did not create us to all write the same way, talk the same, or even share the Gospel of Jesus Christ the same way. I think this may be my new motto Live Now. Great post Beth!

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 2:56 pm   /  Reply

      Jessica, thanks for your insights, and for finding just the right verse to go with today’s post!

  2. August 6, 2012, 6:28 am   /  Reply

    My husband and I have been talking a lot about this lately. My MC needs to read this post. 😉

    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 2:57 pm   /  Reply

      Wendy,
      Feel free to read it aloud to him.
      😉
      Your MC, that is.

  3. August 6, 2012, 6:57 am   /  Reply

    Found out a long time ago, the past is done, the future isn’t here yet, just live today the best you can in His power. Redeem each day, asking God to guide you. He will.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 2:58 pm   /  Reply

      Pat,
      From the first time we met, I knew you were a wise woman.
      You just proved it again!

  4. August 6, 2012, 7:55 am   /  Reply

    I don’t tend to live in the past too much. My bigger problem is looking so much to the future that I forget about NOW–which, as you Edna says, probably causes just as much muscle strain. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 2:59 pm   /  Reply

      Agreed, Melissa, agreed.
      N-O-W. Not then (as in the past) or then (as in the future.)

  5. August 6, 2012, 8:14 am   /  Reply

    Thank you, Beth, for this beautiful reminder to put away the mistakes of our past and concentrate on doing the right thing in the future. One of my favorite passages is Micah 7:19, where God tells us that He will (has) cast our iniquities into the midst of the deep sea… gone, gone, gone, forever.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 3:00 pm   /  Reply

      Kathy,
      Another great companion verse for today’s post!

  6. August 6, 2012, 8:25 am   /  Reply

    I admit to having some neck strain, but I’m working on moving forward. Those past moments shaped me into who I am today. I can’t change the past, but I can learn from those events and make stronger choices in the future.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 3:01 pm   /  Reply

      Agreed, Lisa. It’s important to learn from the past — but to not be held hostage by it.

  7. Jeanne
    August 6, 2012, 8:35 am   /  Reply

    Great post, Beth. I don’t live too much in my past anymore. But I do find that it sometimes reminds me of it when I react to certain situations in the present. Learning to move beyond past responses is the trick–both in thought, emotion, and words. Does that make sense?

    I want to live in the “now” because that is the only place I can truly grow into the person God has created me to be. I can’t grow into her if I’m living in my past.

    Thanks for the thoughts today!

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 3:01 pm   /  Reply

      Excellent insights, Jeanne. Moving beyond past responses — in both thought, emotion and words.
      Wow — that’s the challenge!

  8. August 6, 2012, 8:43 am   /  Reply

    Yes, yes, yes, I’m with Mel!!! I am a future looker…need to be a present dweller. 😛

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 3:03 pm   /  Reply

      You and Melissa — you like to hang out together, don’t you?
      😉

      • August 6, 2012, 3:14 pm   /  Reply

        We just may be inseparable at ACFW…well, I guess I’ll have to let her go off on her own sometimes. 😛

  9. August 6, 2012, 9:25 am   /  Reply

    Great questions to ponder, Beth! Walking in the now and focusing on God’s incredible future for us brings peace, hope and expectation. When I look back and feel guilt or shame, I know the enemy’s hard at work. Then it’s time to turn back around, keep my eyes on Jesus, and keep walking in faith. I’ve noticed that you have a wonderful way of doing just that, my Friend.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 3:04 pm   /  Reply

      It’s a hard won perspective, friend. Hard won. And when I’m fatigued, I can lose my mental grasp on it.
      But, yes, I try to be present in the now — and not stand in guilt.

  10. August 6, 2012, 10:26 am   /  Reply

    Whoops! I tend to get a strained neck too. lol Trying not to though. Great quote!

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 3:04 pm   /  Reply

      Does this make you (and me and anyone else who gets tripped up by this) mental rubberneckers?
      😉

  11. August 6, 2012, 11:33 am   /  Reply

    Until recently, I was living in the future. When this happens… when that happens… if this… and God gave me a little nudge reminding me the future is great, but NOW living gets me to where I’m going. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 3:06 pm   /  Reply

      Don’t you love those God-nudges, Jess?

  12. Loree Huebner
    August 6, 2012, 12:27 pm   /  Reply

    I write historical fiction, so I always keep on foot in the past and the other firmly planted right in the here and now…stepping into my future.

    Great quote.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 6, 2012, 3:07 pm   /  Reply

      Loree,
      You have the absolutely perfect excuse to live one-foot in the past.
      But it’s not your past …
      😉

  13. August 6, 2012, 10:21 pm   /  Reply

    I’m a visual learner so I’ll think of the great photo and your post next time I’m looking backwards, which probably will be tomorrow or in five minutes. It’s one of my unpleasant habits in need of this post and more. Thanks, Beth.

  14. August 9, 2012, 12:47 am   /  Reply

    I’m 2 days late getting to this post, Beth. I’m not sure if that answers your question . . . 🙂

    I don’t wallow too much in the past these days, I only do it if it might encourage someone else, or to remember how far God has brought me. And in those moments (blog post “research,” usually) I sometimes feel myself beginning to shrink back into the person I once was as the memories stir up old feelings. I (usually) only go there if it’s important, and I never go there to bully myself. Not any more. 🙂

    I am not much of a future-watcher either. The thesis for my PhD in Learning Things The Hard Way was: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up & You Won’t Be Disappointed. So I am not fueled by lofty expectations or passionate yearnings for a particular future. Yes, I have dreams, but those are between me and Jesus. And the longer I wait, the more I trust he’s got this.

    So that leaves me living in the NOW, as you say. Only . . . I think that would mean I actually spend time with real people, savoring the Kodak moments. Stopping to smell the roses. (Who put those there, anyway? Mom? How long has she been into gardening? And when did my daughter graduate high school and go fixin’ to get married?)

    As a crazed writer, (please say you understand) I guess I live in an alternate dimension of Now. A present-but-limbo state in which I write or work on the business of becoming published while family and friends go about real 3-dimensional lives (as opposed to FaceBook lives) keeping up on world & neighborhood events & playing at the lake & getting married, real stuff like that.

    My two-cent opinion is this: Living in “the Now” only counts if you stop & smell the roses. Linger in their miraculous scent. Feel the petals and commit their delicate, silky beauty to memory. Right now, with a wedding in our very near future, I am doing a lot more of that. I want to engage in the experience. Feel it, savor it, remember it. Get all dreamy.

    So maybe there is hope for me. 😉

    • Beth Vogt
      August 9, 2012, 6:58 am   /  Reply

      I understand, Camille.
      I understand.

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