For a myriad of reasons, humans are not very good at imagining their future selves. For many aspects of life this creates a problem. For instance, if we indulge in the delicious double chocolate cookies everyday then we may pay the price in the future when we are diabetic. Like water dripping on a rock, we are shaping our future selves with the actions of our present selves.
While our inability to imagine our future selves can be a burden in some aspects of our lives, it can be a benefit when it comes to spiritual formation.
Spiritual formation is often about encouraging us to trust the future so that we can live in the present. When we are fully present then we begin to do things that affect our future selves in ways that are helpful. For instance, when we are fully present to our neighbor when they are going through difficult times, we learn how to be still and listen. When we are fully present to our own hearts, we grow more at ease with silence. When we are fully present to the economic decision we make, we will begin to get a handle on instant gratification. When we are fully present, we will appreciate the amount of work it took to get those cookies to us and we might share the cookies with others.
While it may be frustrating for financial planning, being unable to envision our future selves can be a great gift from God if we live in the full present.