Melvyn Tan
November 20, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

One Day Your Tomorrow Will Run Out

[blockquote source=”James 4:13-17 (NIV)“]Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then […]

[blockquote source=”James 4:13-17 (NIV)“]Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.[/blockquote]

Do It Tomorrow
Many a times I stare at my to-do list and I’d think to myself that I’ll do some of the tasks tomorrow. In case you are wondering, items that populate my list not only include work in the professional context, but also have work in the personal and people contexts as well. More on the 3P (Personal, People, Professional) in a separate post.

Mortality
I don’t know if that’s a thought other parents have, but mortality has been on my mind ever since our first child was born. In fact, there was a time that I allowed myself to go into this disempowering loop where I kept thinking and worrying myself sick, literally, on the subject of death. And the thoughts kept going on until almost everything became uncertain.

Uncertainties in Life
And when you have that much uncertainties in life, you’d find it almost impossible to take any form of action that has a long-term impact. You essentially just live from day-to-day and stay largely in reaction mode. In other words, you only take action when it is absolutely necessary. This went on for months, or perhaps even longer than I dare admit. It not only have an adverse impact on my life, my business, and even the relationship with my family. I knew I had to stop this situation or risk drifting into depression mode.

God’s In Control
I also knew I need to take control and reverse the situation. But I also acknowledged that I have absolutely no control over when I would die or how long I would live. Yes, although I am in a position to influence that; through diet, exercise, rest, staying away from harmful addiction; but the fact remains that only God decides when it’s time. That said, knowing that God is in control doesn’t exactly solve my problem because in my mind these thoughts were driving me crazy.

Strategies
But I also know I needed tools and strategies. As a NLP certified practitioner, I know that there is a specific technique to address situations like these. And here’s where I applied a variation of the Swish Pattern: every time that thought comes up, immediately interrupts that thought by intentionally thinking or doing something else. And it would be more effective if that replacement thought or action is something wild or bizarre.

Hence, this is what I did. Each time this disempowering thought comes to mind, I would deliberately clap my hands if I’m in a private space, or snap my fingers if I’m in public. Once I did that (clapping or snapping) it interrupted my disempowering thought pattern. I did this for at least a week or so before I could effectively weed out that thought from my mind almost entirely. Now, I still some time think about it, but I don’t fall back into the pattern of an endless loop that lead to the vicious cycle.

There Is Still Tomorrow.
Many of us live with the mind-set of taking for granted that there is still tomorrow. In the book, Die Empty, Todd Henry said, “Your days are finite.  One day, they will run out.” Indeed. Many of us think:

  • Tomorrow, I will tell my wife/husband that I loved her/him
  • Tomorrow, I will spend more time with my kids
  • Tomorrow, I will pick up the phone and call my folks
  • Tomorrow, I will call [name] and apologize
  • Tomorrow, I will start working on my life’s purpose
  • Tomorrow, I will…

But for some, tomorrow will run out.  There will be no more tomorrow.

Life’s Purpose
In fact, I spend a good part of my life searching for my life’s purpose.  I’ve attended seminars that claim to help me find my life’s purpose, I’ve read books that claim to be able to guide me to realize my life’s purpose, and I have actually believed that one needs to find what’s your life’s purpose is and then began to work on it. I now realized what a flawed thinking this is. You do not have to start working on it only after you have uncover your life’s purpose.  Instead, you start right away by doing what you are doing in accordance to God’s will and the purpose will follow.  You need to carry your own cross daily.

Start Today
So, start today by committing to doing these three things:

  • Be Grateful: This is something I’ve learned from Scott Giorgini, where he would post on Facebook the number of days that he’s been alive and thanking God for that.  To quote Scott, “Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of my life.
  • Be Present: When is the best time to do anything?  What is the most important thing to do?  Who is the most important person? Now is the best time to do anything. Whatever you are doing right now, that is the most important thing to do.  Whoever you are with right now, that is the most important person.
  • Be Obedient: Biblical characters like Moses, Noah, Abraham were all obedient.  They did what God wanted them to do.  In short, they did God’s Will.  In our day to day living, we have to do God’s Will and the best way to do so is to live like Jesus.

Final Words
Let not today past without you taking a single action of the list above. Do it and you’d would truly die empty.

Prayer
Father, we thank You for blessing us abundantly in all aspects of our lives at this very moment. We know that with each day, our being is simply for us to do Your Will. And with each passing day, we pray that You will give us the strength, courage, and wisdom to do the work necessary.  We pray all these in Jesus’s name, Amen.