Are you prone to think of the past, present, or future? We all have a tendency to live mostly in one or the other. I personally think this is a personality trait. In fact I found an article How Future Oriented Each Myers-Briggs Type Actually Is and it was pretty accurate for my ISTJ self. But like all aspects of personalities they can be powerful if harnessed or detrimental if abused. Yet ultimately the outcome is directly related to How is God a part of your perspective? Every personality is meant to look through God shaped glasses. He is the one that created that personality.
I am definitely a Future thinker. I get bored with the daily grind. It isn’t exciting enough for me. I get excited about planning and to do lists. The only thing that satisfies me in the present is checking off something on my list. I love to dream and scheme how to make those dreams reality. I love projects but not maintenance. This is why I hate laundry and dishes. There is no end to them. But I love projects because they are a challenge with an end goal. I describe myself as a binge and purge project person. I will get obsessed and spend hours on a project, never to repeat it again. I get things done. This is fine if I am willing to do what I don’t enjoy….the daily needs of my family, the bills, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash, etc. Where I get in trouble is dwelling on the future without a Lordship mindset. I have a tendency to look at how I can work my way through a problem by sheer grit. I only look to the past for examples of how not to accomplish something. I can run ahead of God and look at my value in what I can accomplish or how useful I am.
I love the verse
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
A good verse for me to remember is
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9
Do you live in the past? I have a Past thinker friend that loves to reminisce and remind me of all the wonderful stories of my past. She thinks of the good ole days and gets so much enjoyment. And trust me they were not great times. I attended middle school in the 80’s. I may have worn boxers over thermal underwear on a daily basis. This same friend will also get stuck in the what ifs and regrets of the past. She will get stuck on the choices she has made. She can forget the sovereignty of God. She can get lost dwelling on the past and find no joy in today. Generally her future thoughts pale in comparison to her rosy view of the past.
She loves the verse
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
A good verse for her to remember is
Be Still and Know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Do you live in the moment? A Present thinker doesn’t get bogged down in planning or worrying. They don’t waste time thinking of the past. They stop to smell the roses and look at the beauty around them. However, distractibility makes perseverance while running the race set before them harder. Motivation and outcomes can often be mismatched. Love of self can be a temptation. God the faithful Sustainer can be missed.
A favorite verse is
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6:31-34
A good verse to remember is
Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. Isaiah 46:4
Here’s the deal. Jesus is timeless. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is not confined by our concept of past, present, or future. And He has called us to think like Him! How do we do that? We keep our eyes on Jesus instead of the time.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Do you notice here how Jesus is the past, present, and future?
Past: He founded our faith, despising the past shame
Present: He is currently seated at the right hand of God (The Great I Am)
Future: For the joy set before him He endured, He is the perfecter of our faith
The true balanced perspective is one were we keep our eyes on Jesus. The past shows us He is faithful. The present is the race we are running, weightless. The future is hope and joy. Let’s remind each other to keep our eyes on the Alpha and Omega when our personalities pull us to think too finitely.