Plumbing the Depths of the Present Moment
My days used to be fueled by a sense of unending tasks and too little time. I was driven by the past and worried about the future. When I worked full time it took two hours every night for me to relax and mentally unlock. Switching to part time work helped, but I still felt constantly driven by the perceived needs of family, friends, work, and church.
Then I read a little book that changed my life: Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre De Caussade, a seventeenth century Jesuit Priest. This little gem is a compilation of his letters and teachings, mostly to the nuns at the French convents he oversaw. De Caussade’s message was simple: trust God in the present moment and leave the results, good or bad, up to Him. Period. It’s the ‘Be here now’ principle with ‘and trust God’ added to it.
To abandon myself meant I trusted God to show me what needed to be done each day and to let go of everything else. If I started to feel pressured because I wasn’t meeting my expectations in time management, I simply gave the problem to God and trusted that whatever needed to be accomplished would be finished in His timing. My new mantra was “there’s always enough time”.
Funny thing happened—I relaxed. Focusing on the present moment freed me to be more engaged with others, more efficient in what I did, and more content with the ups and downs of daily life. There’s freedom in letting go of the future. Only God knows what a day will bring forth, and today was really all I had. If I did my best today, the future would take care of itself. So I fully embraced whatever I was doing each day, whether work, play or cleaning house.
When I found myself stressing again, I’d stop and think: “What if this is exactly what God is doing right now? What if I am right where I’m supposed to be in this moment?” That simple change in perspective effected a paradigm shift in responsibility. I’d stop worrying, embrace the moment, and let go of all future expectations.
By abandoning myself to Divine Providence, I let God be responsible for the results—my responsibility is to be fully aware in the present moment, and to be available to His leading. I know He will be with me, whatever happens in the future; and everything I need to handle it will be right there with us in the sacrament of the present moment.