• Natalie Mendez

Peace with the present

Be honest, how do you feel about your current situation? Your career? Your relationship? Your finances? Your weight? Chances are at least one of these is bugging you and if you’re like most of us, you only moderately happy with any of them.

Striving for more and forgetting to be grateful for where we are is an easy trap to fall into. As soon as something good happens, it becomes our new norm and we start wanting the next good thing. How do we learn from the past, anticipate the future and appreciate the present?

I’m a coach and I help people move forward on goals and dreams. I encourage them

to believe in their future. I help them put a plan in place to move forward and I support them as they learn to quiet those internal voices that tell them they can’t do it. But I’m a firm believer that you need to find peace and appreciation for where you are before you can conquer tomorrow’s goals. And while we can have the best planning ever, we’re better served by learning to appreciate and follow God’s steps for our lives.

But back to the original question – why are you where you are and how can you begin to appreciate it? When I’m frustrated with the now, focusing too much on the future, or stuck in the past, I lean on three reminders to keep me in a grateful, present state of heart and mind.

This moment is having an impact

Where we are in our lives has a purpose and will have an impact. But the impact may not be for us but instead may be by us. God may have you in the spot for you, but it’s just as likely that He’s put you there because someone else needs you. Look around and consider these questions to help identify your impact.

  • Am I looking for opportunity to be my best self today?

  • Are people around me hurting or struggling and can I provide comfort?

  • Does someone near me need encouragement or a smile?

Many of my clients come to me because they want a change (usually a new job) and they believe that when that change occurs, they’ll start living more. But you are where you are for a reason! I’m not suggesting you don’t look for a new opportunity but look while you’re looking, learn to make the best of your current situation for you and for those you may be impacting.

This moment is teaching a lesson

Think back to a challenging time over the past few years. Did you learn anything? Of course, you did! We are learning constantly but often we think the present is so unappealing that we lose sight of the great life lessons it is providing us for our future. Take that challenging moment that came to mind, close your eyes, and think about your life before that time and your life now. Be honest with yourself, there is almost always some good in the events of our life – look for it.

  • What positive thing do you think, feel, or do differently today because of that time?

  • How did that experience play a role in getting you to your present state?

  • How did that time in your life prepare you for your future goals and dreams?

  • Are there scars you’ve been holding on to that you are ready to let go?

Now, ask yourself these same questions about your current state. How can you live today so that when you look back, you’ll see the blessings God delivered?

This moment has a motive

To be honest, sometimes these first two suggestions just don’t work right away. I look around and can’t drum up the energy to be encouraged or encouraging. Or I’m so frustrated by something that happened that I can’t begin to see it as a valuable lesson. But I’ve learned that inspecting my motivations and admitting who I’m focused on praising (and typically it’s me) will help me refocus.

It’s inevitable we’ll derail when our motives are about our own plans. And as soon as something goes wrong, it’s easy to blame everyone around us or to feel the weight of negativity stopping us in our tracks. “It’s their fault.” “I knew I wasn’t good enough.” “Things don’t work out for me.” But when we’re focused on God’s plan for our day, and trust that it fits into His big picture, we don’t have to get caught up in the victim hood or self-sabotage…because it will all work out according to His plan! It may not be obvious to us now or ever, but today’s ups and downs have a purpose in the much bigger picture.

Are you seeking His glory or just wanting your own success? Are you willing to be honest about your motives today?

Final thought

I’ve encouraged you to look at where and why you are here before running for something else. But I don’t mean to disregard or belittle dangerous or tragic situations happening to some people. There are times when you must make a change quickly and trust your gut to stay safe. But even in the worst of times (especially in the worst of times) these truths remain. God will use each event for an impact and a learning, and He will deliver those that trust in Him. It’s exhausting if you try to do it without Him so stay in His will and follow His plan.

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