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!
Great post Victoria! Your eloquently worded thoughts put a nice exclamation point on the chapter for me. May it be that we all trade in our worthless facades and idols for the truth of our Savior and King.
I was stung by Boyd’s observation that “if you are completely honest with yourself, you’ll probably find that most of your past and future oriented thoughts revolve around you and are centered on your attempts to feel worthwhile and significant.” No wonder it is so hard to focus on God in the present. With all of our past and future thoughts being self-centered we squeeze Him right out of each present moment of our lives. I liked the “as though” analogy as well; it’s a great reminder on how to properly focus our attention. Laubach’s quote to start the chapter deeply resonated with me and makes for a powerful prayer: “Lord, free me from everyone and everything in this world; enslave me only to Your will every second of this day.”
Thanks so much! Living “as though” we're the point of it all really is counter-productive. If we are to produce true and lasting fruit it starts with living “as though” the Holy Spirit is in fact indwelling…then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit begins! What a perfect prayer for each day and call to action we find in Laubach's words!
I agree Tim! Victoria did a great job covering this chapter! And I don't think that it's possible to read that statement about how much our thoughts revolve around ourselves without feeling stung. That's because it's the truth! That one hit me pretty hard too.
There's nothing like getting right to the root of an issue! Greg and Victoria both made that point painfully clear, and I'm glad that they did! It'll make it much easier to get my right focus on Christ… the way it should be.
Your reference to Garth made me smile!
It's funny you bring up photo's and the difference between authentic snapshots and posed. I think with the advent of the digital camera we are starting to miss those “awkward” but real moments in our lives. It's too easy to delete our memories because of how we think they portray us now and how we might view them in the future.
But it's those real moments in our lives that we truly want to see when reflecting in our lives. The most cherished photo's of family are the ones that are real and not posed; even if the person in the photo thinks it's a terrible shot.
I totally love the 'unposed' photo! It's always great to see life as it really happens as opposed to the ways that we want to position it to look to other people.