Present Perfect, you had me at opening each chapter with quotes and prayers that read like poetry, leaping from the page and taking up residence in the mind and heart. Then you reeled me in further with the recurrent post-its urging me to ask myself, “Are you awake?”
Oh, how I need that question to follow me around, prompting me to live in the now! Why can I not hear the words “live in the now” without Garth Algar saying them? Even as I read, my mind will wander to this, that, then, and when—and my life looks much the same.
I miss the moments.
God clued me in on this fact while I was looking through old family photos. As I flipped from one to the next, a pattern emerged. Any picture of me with a genuine smile was worlds better than those without. I suspect that’s true of most anyone. At first glance, this seemed to be quite the lacking epiphany; still, I couldn’t shake it.
Staring at one horrendously awful snapshot and one that didn’t make me cringe, the same question repeated. Why such a drastic difference when my fake smile is pretty much identical to the real thing?
There it was, staring me in the face, as a matter of fact.
One is fake, the other is real.
I really smile when I’m enjoying life. I fake a smile when I just want to get on with it.
Since discovering my tendency to miss the moments, God has been helping me to see my way out of the habit way of life. By placing Present Perfect in my hands, the Lord is putting a better name to the issue—idolatry—and a better face on its solution—His.
In this chapter, Boyd explains how anything we allow to give us a sense of significance is, in fact, our god. If the sole source of our self-worth isn’t God alone, we’ve crossed over into idolatry. Even our thoughts of past mistakes or greatness. Even our fears of what’s to come or what’s not. Even our anticipation. All idols.
What’s the solution? Surrendering to God…as always!
As Present Perfect so perfectly puts it, “Actually surrendering your life is something you can only do with your will. And since the only life you have to surrender is the one you’re living in this present moment, the decision to surrender can only take place right now.” There’s so much freedom, hope, and forgiveness in that truth!
I want the Life that comes with living each moment for the glory of God.
I want to wake up to the Presence of the Lord lighting my very path and each interaction along the way.
I’m trading in my fake smile and my false gods for the real joy of knowing the One True God!