This Mindset Monday is a great reminder that every day is a new day. Whatever happened yesterday is gone, and you can only work through today. It sounds like fortune cookie advice, but it doesn’t make it any less true. We can only live right now – not in the past or the future. We can certainly remember the past, and we can plan for the future, but we live one day at a time in the present moment.
As an introvert who deals with depression, I can ruminate on the past like it’s my job. I can lay awake at night replaying conversations and kicking myself for being an idiot or saying the wrong thing (because at two in the morning, I know exactly what I should have said twelve hours earlier). I can still recall the horror and shame I felt about making fun of someone publicly in middle school (that was a looong time ago, friends) if I let myself dwell on my past. Bottom line: that mode of thinking sucks.
It’s destructive in so many ways, not least of them being it cripples the way I see myself now and in the future. It discounts the grace of God to remove my sin from me, as far as the east is from the west.
Living in the past isn’t living; it’s dwelling on something I can’t change in a way that hinders me from moving forward. I may suffer consequences from choices I made in the past, but that doesn’t define who I am in this moment. That doesn’t change the fact that I can only work from here, now and keep improving.
As much as the past is no place to live, I am equally good at getting my head caught in the clouds of future planning. So much so, that I can plan every pound I should lose and how down to the daily menu and workout level, but in doing so end up planning and planning and planning and never stepping into action. Or I plan too aggressively and can’t accomplish all those plans in the timeframe I allotted and end up feeling like a failure when I don’t measure up to a crazy standard I set for myself.
It’s easy to get excited about planning a goal, but living in the future is just as torturous as living in the past: I can see the thing I want to accomplish, but I’m planning all the time and never doing the grunt work to get there.
So, how do we focus on the here and now without forsaking goals and planning or never honoring the past? We remember that every day is new.
Every day is a new opportunity to wake up and start again. Maybe that restart is just to keep going because you’re on track. Maybe your restart is more like a reboot with a new objective. The goal with this mindset is just to focus clearly on today, and work through it without getting lost in the weeds of past and future. It’s grace to let yesterday go and try again. It’s freeing to let tomorrow go and just do the work of today.
I love these verses from Isaiah because it’s God saying, “Look, that other stuff we just talked about – that was yesterday. You just wait and see what I’ll do next. In fact, I’m already working on it, so buckle up, buttercup, and see what happens.” (Obviously, I’m paraphrasing and taking a little creative license. Although, I’m pretty sure, “Buckle up, buttercup,” is frighteningly accurate in my own life.)
If God never stops moving forward with his work and his plan, why should we? While God is never limited by time or space, we are, and we should use those limitations as tools to focus on the thing right in front of us first and best. The things we do in this moment lay the groundwork for what comes next, and if we never get to work in this day, tomorrow’s work will be a mess.