Moving Beyond the Moment
Rev. James C. Matthews
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)
Sometimes the things that hinder us from moving forward in our journey aren’t always bad things. It is possible to become hostage to our past by trying to relive something that has come and gone. This can take the form of trying to relive past achievements, relationships, or defining moments in our lives. We’ve all met people like this. In their wallet or purse they carry pictures or newspaper clippings of a past relationship or climactic moment in their lives. They speak of the past in the present tense, as if these events happened yesterday. It is healthy to celebrate our past moments in life, but it is unhealthy to become stuck in a moment and miss the rest of life. Life is a motion picture not a snapshot. It is always moving and stands still for no one.
Those who have a snapshot perspective of life can be easily identified by their conversation. They always talk about the past and how things used to be, or they dwell on what someone did to them years ago. It’s almost as if they stopped living once that moment transpired. Although they can easily recall in detail a particular moment in time that occurred years ago, they cannot clearly articulate their plans for the future.
Often, people who develop a snapshot perspective of life lose their identity in the event or situation. They define who they are by that moment in time instead of who they are as a person. I can remember meeting a man who was in his late 40s. When introducing me to this person, my friend first let me know that this man once played for a well-known professional sports team. It was only after this introduction that his name was communicated to me. In the eyes of his associates, this man was defined by a moment that had come and gone. When I asked the gentlemen what he was doing now, he appeared ashamed of his station in life. He had a respectable job, but in his eyes and those he associated with, it was not comparable to his former moment of glory.
In another instance, my wife and I met a young woman at a ministry event who was a survivor of Hurricane Katrina and had settled down in Dallas. When she introduced herself, she told me her name but had preceded this by commenting, “I’m from Katrina.” When my wife and I were driving home from the engagement, she commented that every time this woman introduced herself to someone, she commented that she was “from Katrina.” I’ve seen the same thing happen to people who have physical handicaps, been abused, divorced, incarcerated, or homeless. They’ve allowed their circumstances or an event to define and prescribe what their expectations in life can or should be.
You are more than a moment! You are a motion picture that is not defined by a snapshot or one frame of the picture. If you refuse to allow your past to define your future, you will discover that life has much more to offer you than a memory.