One my grandchildren’s favorite songs from the original High School Musical was “Get’cha Head in the Game.” I think this is something that every leader should practice. Leaders too often seem either weighted down by the past or lost in the future. Either way, they become distracted from what is going around them right now.
Knowing the history of a situation, especially in an organization like the church, is not a bad thing. I am a historian by training, so I love to read about and seek to understand what has happened in the past that impacts the present context. We can learn from and celebrate many of those things.
Living in the past is not wise, however. The past has good times and bad times, but all we have to work with is the present. We learn from the past, but we don’t let it restrict us. We need to concentrate on what God has placed before us right now and act.
Likewise, I enjoy speculating about the future and love science fiction, but I don’t live there. Many leaders are so concentrated on their vision of the future that they don’t realize that the future starts right now. We take the first steps today that will result in the changes of tomorrow.
How do we practice living in the present?
1. We give each day to God and ask for the ability to discern what God is doing around us. God is at work in the big and little things of life, but do we see and understand how that is happening?
2. We invest in our present relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. Life is transitory and relationships fragile. In the long wrong, what happens with the people in our lives is our greatest legacy.
3. We embrace the challenges of today. They provide the basis of what is going to happen in the future. We address them with enthusiasm and optimism.
4. We dissect the failures of today and learn from them. It is not wrong to fail, but it is wrong not to learn from failure.
Today is what we have to work with. How will we use it?