Today I listened to All Sons & Daughters talking about the meaning behind their album ‘Poets and Saints‘. The title comes from a play in which a character asks, ‘Does anyone truly experience their life as they live it?’, to which the reply is ‘poets and saints, maybe’.
This exchange speaks into something that has been on my mind a lot this week, which is the idea of living out redemption in the present moment: grace and truth and the goodness of the gospel are all for now. Contentment is to be found in no other place than where I am.
I have been thinking about this ‘nowness’, and about whether my thoughts, my monologue of now, reflect this gift of grace, truth, goodness, and the fullness of life that the gospel offers.
I wonder instinctively, what you think about the quality of your thoughts?
Taking the thoughts you have had in the last week into consideration, are there any thoughts that would fit into the following categories?
- Regrets of the Past
- Fear of the Future
- Unhealthy Comparisons
- Self-condemning Thoughts
What I have realised myself is that a lot of my thoughts are not necessarily condemning or harmful, but a lot come into a category of ‘grasping’ – by which I mean, thinking about alternate situations, or what is coming up, or what I would like to happen. The vast majority of my thoughts are not thoughts of contentment. I live striving towards the time that is to come rather than the time here with me now.
Scripture tells us to live in the present moment. Jesus emphatically and boldly proclaims, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own’ (Matthew 6:34).
I want my life to speak out God’s truth, and I want my thoughts – the words that I am constantly speaking out over myself – to be a part of this. I want a mindset that is a stronghold for God’s purposes and equips me for that. And so I would like thoughts that are actively helpful, inspiring and freeing for living fully in each present moment. Thoughts that are full of rejoicing over who God is to me, thankfulness for the gift of the day, and delight in all the beauty of living.
I don’t know what mindsets are governing your day to day living. And I don’t know what you believe about God, or what you believe God thinks about you. But I encourage you to reflect on what your thoughts say about where you are putting your hope, and whether you are living in the moment. And think about how you could replace thoughts that don’t help you to live well.
If you need freeing from your thoughts, let me tell you that scripture is a great help for this, because it offers truth and the truth sets us free. Good places to go include reading over the promises of the Sermon of the Mount, or listening to Psalm 23 (below).
Let us learn to be poets and saints in our thoughts, for life is only available in the present moment.