The Power of Not Now

Dear Inner Circle,

Every time you set a goal, you create a judge. When you set a goal, you give yourself a mechanism to judge your failure toward a goal. Perhaps that’s why so many people just live for the moment. I guess we’re all familiar with the “tomorrow isn’t yet, yesterday’s gone, so live in the now” kind of philosophy. Of course, there is a time for everything, including the need to stop and smell the roses, but there will be no roses unless someone plants them, tends to them and believes in a future garden.

It’s common around here for people to either not be able to think beyond the next few minutes or conversely, to set goals that a superhero could never meet. In both cases, defeat is the theme song. Often I hear myself saying to people, don’t stop planning a goal, just lower the judge. Often the biggest judge comes from within. To live in a story where a person constantly whips themselves for being who they are is to live out a tragedy.

There is a young man who comes into Wayside often. He should be bright-eyed, but every time I speak with him he is weighed down by his own words, “I’m such a disappointment, I’ve failed again”. His mother comes into Wayside regularly just to see her son. All she wants him to know is that he is loved, that she just loves him for who he is, but he is unable to recognise this. The shame he carries of what he thinks he should have been creates a tyranny that is played out over and over.

Imagine yourself next week, next year, in five years from now. What could you bring into being? If you can imagine it, you can plan for it and most importantly, sacrifice for it. I suspect that in the long evolutionary history of humankind sacrifice was one of our best achievements. The idea of forgoing comfort now, for the sake of a better future self, future family, future community is a wisdom that is largely forgotten in our days of instant gratification.

Lastly, if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. Nobody reaches a goal in one step. Success is only a long progression of mistake and learning. It’s important to make a first bad draft of yourself. It will lead to a better version and that, in turn, will lead to another. Who knows what this world could be if we married imagination and sacrifice. What good could be done in our world!

Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,


Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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