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Past, Present, Future

When I originally came across the ideas in this post I was going to use the cliché opener “There are two types of people in the world….” Of course I quickly realized that there are three. Or more. We can’t really categorize humans. Everyone is unique and what may apply to one could be totally off to another. To put it more practically, what might work for 99% of people might not work for you. 

Anyway, people seem to live their lives in one of three tendencies: the past, the present, or the future. People who live in the past are the ones who are constantly telling you about their high school memories. They relive the old parties, the high school sports, their relationship drama, and childhood adventures. They almost seem to think that the past was the best life and the present is merely existence. These people often struggle with contentment because nothing will compare to those days in the past when life was so simple and everything was perfect. People living in the past are chronic “miss-ers”. You are apt to hear phrases like “I miss those days” or “wasn’t that the best year ever!” from them. Sadly when confronted with the excitement of things currently in their life they often are dissatisfied because  . . . well it’s just not like the good old days.

Those who choose to live in the future could care less about the past. Often they forget about the mistakes they made in the past which could actually help them pursue their future goals. Instead they seem to obsess with what is next. I’ve noticed a lot of people in some religious conservative circles like this. “If I could just get a good job I’d be happy”. “If only I had a good church that met my needs”. “When I finally get married then everything in life will fall into place”. These people benefit society however because they tend to be visionaries and social reformers. “If we could just get rid of the racial tension in this town it would be prosperous once again!” And often they do just that making changes in their world for the better. Martin Luther King Jr. is a famous example of this future will be better kind of thinking. 

Finally there are those whose entire existence is summed up in today. These people are excited about what they are doing right now. They care deeply for the life they are living now and the people who are in it now. They often forget to plan properly for the future which can frustrate those around them. Similarly they can quickly forget those friends and circumstances in the past if they are not in direct contact with the present. The benefit to this kind of thinking is that it focuses on the only thing one can have definite impact on. One cannot change the past and it’s pointless to try to reconstruct a past life even if it seemed better. The future is unknown and despite our best plans can always change. But the present is in our hands waiting for us to mold and shape. 

As will most observations about human interaction balance is best. Learn from the past. Prepare for the future. Live in the present. 

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One thought on “Past, Present, Future

  1. Very good and thought provoking.If we don’t learn from the past, we may repeat our past mistakes in the present or future.If we don’t forgive, or we harbor bitterness, resentment, pain or hurt, from the past then we continue to hurt in the present, and in the future, we will still be stuck in the past. Our past, present and future are connected. We can’t change the past or know the future. All we have really is today to live by His grace for the glory of God and to trust in His Sovereignty. Today is the day of salvation

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