The 1985 movie Back to the Future is a cultural phenomenon. One of the best quotes is uttered by Marty: “Wait A Minute, Doc. Are you telling me you built a time machine?”
Picture his enthusiasm, his unbelief! I was right there with him. Oh, the places I would go.
It was easy to get caught up in Marty’s valiant efforts to ensure his parents were married, thus securing his own existence. As I watched this play out, I was dreaming of my own time machine.
How quickly Marty (and my older self) realizes the trap of trying to change the past while not affecting the present day and the stress of knowing too much about the future.
And yet, we are caught in the same trap: trying to redo our past and control our future. All the while missing out on the gift of the present moment in front of us.
Out of the Past
So much of our life can be spent obsessing about the past: past sins, past experiences, past relationships, and past hurts. However, sitting in our history and letting it hold us hostage is not living.
What part of your story are you carrying with you today? Is it the shame over a sin that you’ve allowed to define you? Has someone hurt you and you haven’t granted them forgiveness? We cannot store our past in sealed boxes, buried in our hearts. These boxes take up the room Jesus wants to occupy. Take these hurts, sins, and experiences to Jesus. Take the lids off and empty those boxes.
Some of these boxes can find healing by working with a therapist or conversations with a trusted friend. However, the confessional is a great place to take many of the boxes. There is no sin too great for God’s mercy and love. Mercy, forgiveness, and healing are real, possible, and available to you. In this beautiful Sacrament, Jesus meets us where we are, looks on us with His loving eyes, and forgives and frees us.
Take that step. Jesus is waiting.
Back to the Future
On the other hand, the worry many of us have over the future can be paralyzing, also preventing us from living.
Fretting about our health, our kids, our jobs, or our finances doesn’t change any of the potential outcomes; it only exhausts our radiant souls.
For me, I experience this level of worry as plate spinning. Trying to keep my finger on every aspect of every family member’s life. Other words that may hit home: micromanaging, helicopter parenting, trying to keep all the balls in the air, and restless nights spent trying to anticipate every possible scenario at work.
So what are we to do? St. Padre Pio offers some excellent direction:
Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.
Back from the Future
Surrendering our trust to the Lord is not easy and takes time. God is there for us, we are never alone, but we have to learn to turn to Him and build a relationship with Him. It is impossible to trust someone we don’t know.
How do we build this relationship?
We spend precious time with Our Lord and Savior. This may include increasing our daily time commitment to prayer, attending Mass an extra day during the week, praying the Litany of Trust, sitting before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, listening to worship music, or reading Sacred Scripture.
The most important act is to take that step. Jesus is waiting.
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Here in the Present
Where does that leave us? It leaves us right where Jesus wants us: in the present.
Living only occurs in the present. The moment at hand or the person in front of you is all we can truly influence.
How do we influence the present? As Christian women, our power to influence the here and now is with our love. A love that is deeply rooted in Jesus Christ. How we react to the interruptions from our children, how we respond to the request for help from our aging parents, and how we embrace the vulnerability of a friend expressing her shame are all opportunities to be like Christ and share His love.
Over and over in the Gospels we witness Jesus’s beautiful, merciful love in how He receives the sick, the possessed, the broken, the lost, and the sinner.
Let us strive to love like Jesus. Let us begin with ourselves.
We should grant ourselves patience, gentleness, and kindness on our journey to salvation. Let go of your fear of failure, self-loathing, anger, and hurt. Take a moment to pause right now and live in the truth that you are a daughter of a loving and merciful God.
We are created in His image, made for goodness, and more precious to Him than any gem. From this place of truth comes our worth, our knowledge that we are enough, and our joy. Speaking from experience, this is the toughest and yet most treasured gift you can grant yourself. If you’re having trouble hearing God’s voice; seek out a trusted friend who can speak these words of truth or a spiritual director who can guide you to this truth.
Take the step, live in the truth. Jesus is waiting.
Bearing Fruit that Will Last…into the Future
When we abide from this place of truth, the Holy Spirit is able to make His fruits bountiful in our lives. Each of these gifts are to be used to spread Christ’s love and there is no better time than right now to add more love to the world.
Taking the step to allow Jesus to heal our past through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the daily step of surrendering our worry about the future to God’s providence, and the step to live in God’s truth can be scary and difficult. Fear not! We are trusting our hearts, our very lives, to the one who chose us to be His.
Take the step out of your past, back from your future, into your present and trust the one who loved you first.
St. Therese of Lisieux’s reflection offers us further encouragement:
If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.
Take the step. Jesus is waiting.Back to the Future #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Linda Schwartz recently decided to “pause” from administration and management and focus on her vocation as a wife to Andrew and a mother to their teenage boys. She is a cradle Catholic, but proud to have had her adult conversion to Christ in recent years.