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Would've... Could've... Should've...

"You will keep in perfect peace the steadfast of mind, because he trusts in You." ~ Isaiah 26:3 (BSB)

What does it mean to be steadfast of mind?

Not long ago, my brother and I were having a conversation.

The back and forth went a little something like...

It's so easy to ruminate on the past, on the things we wish we'd done. And, in the tired times or hard times, getting stuck there for a moment, or in a downward spiral is a little too easy. And, the more we do that in the present, the more we have to wouldda, couldda, shouldda in the future looking back... as opposed to being present in the present and having something in that moment to stand on and grow from moving into the future.

If you didn't fully grasp that, I don't blame you. We have a communication style all our own.

However, I do believe there's a valuable lesson there worth sharing.

In the darker moments of a journey, it's easy to slip into thoughts of... "If I'd only..." or "If I could go back in time knowing what I know now and change 'X,' I would 'Y.'"

That's a long and winding path that can go awfully deep for those of us who have a highly human history, for anyone less than saintly... and I imagine even the saints could have gone there if they chose. Perhaps some even did/have/do... however you define saint.

However, while learning from the past is important, dwelling, ruminating, or obsessing is not the most healthy choice we can make.

So, what can we do to keep ourselves present in the present, being the child of God we were created to be, taking steps toward Him along the path for which we were destined?

Good question.

For me, in the haze of fatigue, when my mind starts to go there, the first thing I have to do is nip it in the bud. We have to be willing to willfully put a stop to it. There's power and strength in that.

When we can take every thought captive, there's no telling where we can go and what we can do from there.

Awareness is key.

Having a favorite relevant verse handy, memorized at your mental fingertips, is also very helpful.

It may sound cheesy or cliche, but I suppose cliches are cliches for a reason...

Be grateful.

Be thankful in all things.

The moment you take a moment to take a deep breath and think about the blessings He's given, it all changes.

Focus, on what's real and right in front of you.

As someone once taught me, ask the questions... What's so right now? What is real and meaningful right now? Where can I make an impact right now?

I don't mean Pulitzer or Nobel Prize winning work when I say that. It can literally be, hey, that dish needs to be cleaned, or, I'll throw in that load of laundry I've been meaning to do. It doesn't have to be earth shattering.

It reminds me of a Navy SEAL account I read that talked about managing the three feet in front of you. Get it done, knock it out, and move on to the next three feet.

What is so right now?

One of my coaches talks a lot about situational awareness. But, it's so key, and it's scriptural... and, when we have it, it does an excellent job keeping us present.

Be sober and vigilant.

Another item on this particular to-do list, is to be prayerful. I sometimes forget to talk about this because it has become so second nature to me, I'm sure if it was possible to annoy our Heavenly Father in prayer, I would do just that. Should I go to the grocery store first or the post office? What do you think, God?

Thankfully, He has patience for me that exceeds all imagination.

The Good Book does say, pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.

And, of course, trust in the Lord at all times. That helps, too.

My 2¢. Take it or leave it. :) Okay, maybe it was a little bit more than 2¢ today, but it comes from a heart that earnestly hopes and prays for you as you expand your relationship with Him and your capacity for living your very best life. This I pray for us all, and I know in the depths of my heart it's what He wants for every one of His children.

Abba Father, May we, Your children, ever be present to the gift that is the present. To every sunrise, sunset, and each of the moments in between, all of which You have given us. May we know those gifts as the gifts they are. May we walk in them powerfully, as You would have us do. May we become ever more the child You created us to be, making the difference you created us to make, whether in our tiny corner of the world or across the world. Thank You, for the gift of being and the power of being present in Your love and grace and mercy and peace and light, in the present. In the blessed name of Your Son, we pray. Amen

"... I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances." ~ Philippians 4:11b (BSB)

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." ~ Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving..." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NASB)

May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.

Bonus song of praise...

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