A Grammar Lesson

The Shack – William P. Young

(Jesus) Do you think humans were designed to live in the present or the past or the future?

(Mack) I think the most obvious answer is that we were designed to live in the present.

(Jesus) Now tell me, where do you spend most of your time in your mind – in the present, in the past, or in the future?

(Mack) I suppose I would have to say that I spend very little time in the present. I spend a big piece in the past, the rest of the time, I am trying to figure out the future.

(Jesus) When I dwell with you, I do so in the present, not the past, although much can be remembered and learned by looking back. But only for a visit, not an extended stay. And for sure, I don’t dwell in the future you visualize or imagine. Do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you?

Have you ever been to an extended stay motel? I have. It was nice. There was a kitchen area with a real frig and a nice living room. The bedroom and bath were pretty standard fare. It was comfortable enough for visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I think that’s the grammar lesson from The Shack.

Past tense: There are many healthy reasons for revisiting the past: to gain understanding; to share lessons learned; to experience healing; to make amends; to grieve for what was and what wasn’t. But it isn’t a place to live, it’s a place to visit. The past is not designed for an extended stay.

Future tense: Peace is the litmus test for the future. There’s always pain and loss somewhere up ahead. What colors the strip is fear. It can be so easy to forget that the One who holds the future, will hold us when we get there.

Present tense: Have you noticed how hard it can be to keep your mind where your body is? That leaves us going through the motions, living somewhat thoughtlessly in the present.

Remember the past. Plan for the future. Dwell in the present. Anything less and we spend our lives either reliving or waiting to live.

It’s a simple grace filled grammar lesson.

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About Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

17 responses to “A Grammar Lesson”

  1. lambskinny says :

    Wonderfully written, Debbie. Thanks so much for sharing! Carley

  2. Cathy says :

    First of all, great picture of a shack!
    Since I have been in Alanon this time around I have been working at being in the moment. Not in yesterday or tomorrow.
    But I can tell you the last 30 years I hasn’t been that way. Like the inside of a golf ball I was a ball of rubberbands.
    Whatever was happening at the present would bounce me to the past to the past or it would
    have me bouncing into the future. Have you seen a golf ball bounce on pavement?
    The past was most certainly driving “my”
    present into the future. For control!! Only making my future worse than my past future
    which would be the present. Which I did not exist in. I couldn’t because of fear.
    I also had the thinking that some day I would
    arrive and everything would stop and I could say aaahhh.
    That day never came UNTIL recently. It first came in moments then I ARRIVED through Gods grace last Saturday. He removed the chains of the past that I no longer drag along and the fear of the future because I had my eyes, hands and heart willing and opened to see. He opened them as I gave up the resistance.
    Now I am Free. I am living each day in
    peace like I’ve never had.
    Fear wasn’t at my side it was driving my life.

    Thank you so much for your blog Debbie.

    • Debbie says :

      Cathy – friend ‘o mine – you are a true treasure. Thank you for being at my virtual side last night!
      Your golf ball analogy is perfect. By the way, I just threw away the 2 golf balls I’d kept since high school that said Indiana Girls Golf State Championship. We weren’t the champions but we did play in the tournament.
      I had a wicked slice when I got nervous. Isn’t that the was it is – veering off into the future or the past, tightly wound.
      You’re great and your words are like sinking a chip from the sand trap! Rare and sweet!
      ~ Debbie

  3. Drusilla Mott says :

    Thanks Debbie. So many lessons to learn, so many reminders needed. So thankful for my blogging family and their admonitions, reminders, and encouragement.

    • Debbie says :

      Drusilla – We have all become an odd sort of family, haven’t we? I used to be drawn only to ‘sameness’. Now I’m really enjoying the insight that comes from so many different perspectives, including yours. Thanks!
      ~ Debbie

  4. Debby says :

    Like Heidi, I loved The Shack too. Thanks for the reminders. I need them daily.

    • Debbie says :

      Debby – I don’t know why I just now got around to reading it – about 3 years after everyone else, but it did make me think – and feel. That’s a good read for me when it taps into both my head and my heart.
      ~ Debbie

  5. Heidi says :

    I just loved The Shack! It caught me in some assumptions I didn’t know I even had. I didn’t necessarily agree with the theology, but it was worth the read and has broadened my mental images quite a bit.

    The passage you quoted was one that really spoke to me. I didn’t ever realize that I picture my future with fear at my side while leaving God out of it. No idea.

    I don’t do well on removing my own sinful proclivities, so I’m praying that He remove my fear tendency. Huge character defect for me.

    Thanks for reminding me of this!

    • Debbie says :

      Heidi – Same here. I read it as a work of fiction, not a doctrinal thesis. It’s so good for me to have my assumptions challenged.
      Fear is a mean monster, isn’t it? Funny how rational and reasonable it can seem sometimes.
      ~ Debbie

  6. mtsweat says :

    Great words Debbie. “Visit, learn, move on.” Love it! Thanks and God bless.

    • Debbie says :

      Thanks, mt – I had an opportunity last night to see if I just preach it or practice it. That’s always the crux isn’t it? God bless you, too.
      ~ Debbie

  7. sheisnotme says :

    Thanks for the reminder. I love your photography! Are you also a pro. shooter? Picture taker? Photographer … geesh! Jen does a great job too.

    The layout of your blog is sweet …

    m

    • Debbie says :

      m –
      Sometimes you’ll see Photo by Kari Box beside my posts. She a good friend who challenged herself to taking a new photo each day for a year and has kindly allowed me to use them here.
      The rest along with the banner on the top are just shots from my cheap point and shoot, I have a nice Nikon I really should get out and learn how to use someday. :D
      ~ Debbie

  8. sheisnotme says :

    Man o man! This is so perfect … especially for me today. I am freakin out a bit because “the blog-thing” is at a reporting of past events — back and forth (for me). The Reporting of the past makes me NUTS … in some ways.

    I don’t live there now, and that is how recovery and LIVING LIFE has occurred for me … MUST keep that in mind. My therapist once said to me, “[your] two worlds are colliding” … and that does make a body kooky. Visit, learn, move on.

    I’m so blessed to be grown, have your writings in my life —

    HAVE insights … and will hold your words and verse in my heart today. Who knows about tomorrow … i will dwell tomorrow, tomorrow. JUST TODAY.

    peace, m

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  1. A Grammar Lesson « Two Minutes of Grace « sharin' His love - October 19, 2011

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