Have you ever done something that was totally out of character for you because you experienced something and were “caught up in the moment?” Or have you missed out on a “now” opportunity because your mind was focused on either the past or the future?
Sometimes getting caught up in the moment can be a great thing. It can help you break through that comfort-zone barrier. Consider the underground fence system for pet owners. A cable is run underground that emits a radio signal that interfaces with the computer in your pet’s collar. When your pet starts getting close to the location of the cable it receives a gentle reminder in the form of a vibration from the collar. If your pet continues its path it will receive a shock. But if your pet has a good running start it can get past the “barrier” with minimal discomfort and find freedom.
In like manner, sometimes we are bound by our comfort zones. We know exactly how far we can go before something becomes uncomfortable for us. If, however, we are caught up in the excitement of some activity, we can lose sight of how close we are to that our boundary. When that happens, we can find ourselves experiencing things that we never would have done otherwise. Our comfort zone has just gotten a bit bigger!
Unfortunately, this can also work negatively. There’s another line that we each establish that we won’t cross. This is the sin line. Under normal circumstances for a given situation there exists in our minds the point at which an activity crosses the line from acceptable to sin. This line is determined individually based on one’s upbringing, faith, etc. Not everyone draws the line in the same place, but exists between the individual and the Lord. In like fashion to breaking through barriers to experience more good things, getting caught up in the moment can push you past your sin line before you even know what’s happened.
On the opposite side of the spectrum from getting caught up in the moment is the issue of living either in the past or the future, while never fully engaging with the present. It’s easy to become weighed down by the past, especially if it has been particularly difficult, marked by suffering or failure, or by great success that is unmatched by present circumstances. Likewise, we can become wrapped up in a future we envision, either an established future or a dreamed-of future. When we perceive that our future will be so much better than the present, we miss out on the opportunities of today, opportunities that could not only improve today but could also make the future even brighter than we expect.
It’s great to have wonderful things in our past. It’s amazing to have hopes and dreams for the future. It’s tragic when our past grips us like a ball-and-chain and pulls us down. Living in the present, even caught up in the moment, holds risk and reward.
We must constantly shore up our defenses of our sin lines by reading and meditating on the Word, and fortify our stronghold through faith and prayer. We also need to recognize that experiencing new things that are out of our comfort zone is a good and healthy thing to do, particularly if it involves stepping out in faith. Step out and share your faith. Step out and give sacrificially. Step out and be vulnerable. Be willing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Volunteer with the youth group. Volunteer with the nursing home ministry. Write a blog! 🙂
There’s so much more life out there for us to experience if we are willing to live in the present and stretch our boundaries!
“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.” — Isaiah 54:2, ESV
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!