It’s hardly original, but it’s worth repeating: too often many of us expend way too much mental and emotional energy living either in the past or in the future.

I can choose to repeatedly rehearse my struggles from the past, whether from recent weeks or from long, long ago.

Alternatively I can be anxiously preoccupied with the challenges of tomorrow, or fearful of the years to come.

In either case I tend to ignore the invitation to engage with Jesus in the here and now.

I can promise myself that next week (or next month or next year) I will change my schedule, adjust my priorities and organise myself differently to make more time for my internship with Jesus (which of course I claim is my primary goal).

Or I can tell myself how I really could have been quite a different person, much more shaped like Jesus, if only it were not for this hurt, or if that trauma had not happened.  My painful history has simply derailed the self I could have been.

In either case, the opportunity for actual change becomes something deferred, evaded or excused.

It’s so easy to approach our journey of discipleship rather like the classic travel advice: ‘Well… I wouldn’t actually start from here.’  But here is exactly where we need to start; there is no other place.  Right now is all I have to give.

The Master we follow modelled a very different way of living.  He was laser-focussed on the immediate ‘today’, his moment-by-moment attentiveness to what the Father was seeking to do around him and among those he encountered.  And at the same time his whole perspective was profoundly framed by the ‘new day’ that was coming, the new world that he was bringing to birth.  “For the joy set before him he endured…”  For Jesus hope was neither hypothetical nor distant.

I am so often absorbed by yesterday and tomorrow.

Jesus, you were captivated by today and forever.

So Companion Spirit, I invite you to disrupt my avoidance strategies and heal my heart with hope.

Whenever you observe me thinking about what I might pray, could pray or should pray, prompt me to centre myself in the present and actually pray.

And when you catch me musing wistfully about the person I wish I could have been, enable me to hear your fierce and unrelenting assurance concerning who, in your purpose, I am destined to become.  And your invitation to restart, yet again, my journey of becoming.

Today, when I hear your voice, may I not harden my heart. (ref Heb 4:7)