For me the two most debilitating emotions are fear and regret. Both take me away from the moment at hand. Regret drags me into the past. The first time can be about learning. The second, third, and infinite loops are about punishing myself for something that was less than my ideal. Candidly, I cannot find a positive purpose once I have taken the learning and followed through on the accountability. With those two in hand, any additional time spent with regret is a pointless exercise in abusing one’s self.
Fear is equally debilitating. An appropriate level of fear that reminds one of danger while encouraging one to prepare or take a different course of action is a gift. Beyond that, fear is an enemy of living. Fear weakens one’s ability to exercise freedom. It takes one away from the present into a place where no action can possibly respond to emotion. If one succumbs, fear wins. It will control you, initially dominating and eventually taking command.
Ironically, fear and regret have many disguises. I have come to recognize that any emotion that takes me away from the moment at hand is related to fear and regret. Wishing and longing are good examples. One author candidly left a warning. “Don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.” (1 Corinthians 7.17)
I know my schedule is going to be chaotic today. I have no idea how it will unfold. I do know that I can be present. I can give those I am with, even when I am alone, my full attention. It is something that does not come naturally. Yet it is a window for everyone. It is rarely easy. There will be distractions. In each moment, we have the opportunity to exercise our freedom and live.