I do not know about you, but sometimes I find myself living in the past. I really do not like to make mistakes. I think I am an idealist. I have such a strong desire to do everything in an excellent manner that it frustrates me as I look back over my life because I realize there are many things I could have done better if I had just applied myself more. Education helps, but there is no greater teacher than personal experience and the feeling of a job well done!
It has always been a secret desire of mine to know how to play the drums, and I am confident I could have learned to play them when I was in middle school. When I see someone playing the drums (like my son-in-law Tim, who is an amazing drummer), I try to play along in my mind, but I have no idea how to actually play the drums. I believe, however, that I could have played the drums if I had only applied myself.
When I was in high school, I took a Spanish class, but at that time, learning to speak Spanish just did not seem to interest me. I now wish I had applied myself and could speak the Spanish language. I have been to Spain, Mexico, and South America. In fact, I have been to many other Spanish-speaking countries. Over the years, I have picked up a few words and phrases here and there, but I cannot speak fluent Spanish. I know I could have learned the language well had I applied myself more diligently at that time in my life.
Those are just a couple of examples, but I could go on and on. Don’t get me wrong; I am not depressed over these circumstances. I just wish I had done things differently. But all of that is now history.
When I look to the future, I sometimes wonder what will happen to our world during the remainder of my life. As I look at the world of politics, I see total confusion and a void of real leadership. Nothing ever gets done except infighting and bitterness toward one another. Each Presidential race creates more and more animosity toward different people groups. I see very little hope for all this changing anytime soon. It reminds me of the fact that the future has much that is yet to be revealed to us.
However, I look into the future with optimism. I know that I can play a role in my own life and in the lives of others to make things better. We live in an exciting time where the opportunities are endless as to what can be accomplished in this world. Although I am a strong believer in God, I also know that He has left many aspects of this world in our hands. It is very important that we all apply ourselves and do the very best we can to help shape the future for ourselves and our children. Depending on where you live in the world, some of the greatest, most prosperous, exciting, and happy days could still be in the future for all of us. However, for now, the future is still a mystery.
But that brings us to the third aspect of our life, which is today. The day you are reading this Tip is the only day that really matters because it is the only day in which you can actually do something. If you apply yourself to today, you have a better opportunity to see things change in your future. Maybe an illustration will help.
If I were a farmer and were disappointed in last year’s crop but wanted to have a better crop this year, the only day I could do something about that would be today. If I went out into my field and worked the soil, planted seeds, and fertilized my crop, that would be the best thing I could do. Although I would have no guarantee about what might happen regarding the weather and the future of the crops, I could not do anything about that either. All I could do was what I could do today. My part is called preparation.
As you read this, you may think, “But isn’t that obvious? Doesn’t everyone know that?” Actually, I think very few of us really realize it. Here is why: We tend to want to dedicate ourselves to a task that will be of monumental importance and greatly impact our lives immediately. The only problem is that is often just a fantasy dream. It is a hope. It is an idea. The question we should ask ourselves is, “What did I do today that will actually make my hopes and dreams come true in the future?” That is where the secret lies. Today is the only day that we really have. That is why it is called “the present.”
If I can take the present of today, open it, and use it to the best of my ability, I will do the best thing possible to make up for the past and plan for the future. If I want to learn to play the drums, I must enroll in drum lessons today. If I want to learn how to speak Spanish, I need to enroll in a Spanish class today. In other words, I need to do something today that will make things different in the future. Today is the key to life.
I once had a professor who said that it is easy to dedicate your life to a task. It is just hard to dedicate each day to that task. That sums it all up pretty well.
I hope you will begin to consider each day a little more special. The daily seeds that you plant will have an impact, but they will never come to fruition unless you plant them. And the best time to plant them is always today.
Why not take an inventory of your life? See what regrets you have from the past. See what dreams you have for the future. Use today as a gift to begin to see those dreams become a reality. Then you will have the present you want – one that will bless your life and the lives of others as well.
Tip: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift – that’s why it is called the present!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm