Twenty six days into a new year. A bit daunting perhaps but then again a lot of it is perspective.
Twenty – six days into 2015
Three hundred thirty eight days before 2016
Eight hundred fifty one days married to my love
Thirteen thousand four hundred and twelve days (approximately) that I have been here on earth
X Amount of days before the retirement. Or that vacation. Or the birth of a child (or grandchild). Till graduation.
Each day a new adventure awaits. Each day a step on the journey of life. At the end of today when you stop and look back – what will you see? What will you remember? World events. Football scandal. Workload. Not enough sleep. An appointment with the doctor. Time with a friend. Regrets or joys. Should have and could haves. It can wait till tomorrow.
I tend to have one of two views of my today’s, both are a bit faulty. An anxious anticipation of the future and a rote aimless wandering but I think what God wants of me, for all of us is an intentional joyful Jesus focused today. Over the next few days we will take a look at these three views, today let’s look at the first one.
The Anxious Anticipation of the Future
When I have this view I find myself worrying about what has been and what is to come. Food. Weight. Career. Am I accomplishing everything I should? That pesky to-do list. The next meeting, appointment. My calendar weighs heavy on my heart.
The anxious anticipation of the future taints the “interruptions of my day” from being a moment that God is showing up to one of annoyance. Ultimately the question is over control, trust and faith. This view is one in which I am struggling to let Jesus lead my day, to trust that He knows best, and believe that His way is perfect and right. When I adopt this view of my day I become more and more stressed. I find I can not relax. My joy begins to be zapped and wane. If I don’t fight this view, life begins to take on a dreariness. The sun could be shining outside, all my needs are being met and yet I miss that because I am focusing on the wrong parts. I am trying to control and think of the outcomes. Rarely does the future look exactly like we spend our time dreaming about. What I am not saying is that we should not be wise in planning for the future or that goals are wrong. For me, this view keeps me from walking wisely, wisely praying and thinking about the future and pursuing my goals to the finish.
Two verses quickly come to mind when I am struggling with this view. The first is found in Matthew 6:25 – 34. In these verses Jesus is teaching on the hillside & uses the example of the birds and the flowers. He asks us to consider them. When you stop and think about the birds we see flying about – do they worry about their food, their lodging, their covering? They simply live as they were designed to live. The flowers with their petals, their growth they are not thinking about if they have enough water or sunshine. God cares about us and the details of our lives even more than the birds and the flowers. We don’t live like that though, we tend to live as if its an inconvenience to ask God for what we need. More than that, some of us go through life and don’t stop and acknowledge the source of all we have. Verse 33 gives us a tool for helping to fight the anxious anticipation of the future, it says “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt 6:33 NKJV). Jesus ends with telling us not to worry about tomorrow, today has enough trouble. Its true – stop and think about it. Look at one of your days – did worrying about the future help or hinder you. Was it a day that had not turmoil. No kids arguing. No interruptions to your to do list, your well planned out day or perhaps your impromptu day. It doesn’t happen; something will be different than I had planned or thought out. I can waste a lot of energy worrying about the days to follow.
When I think of what worry looks like in my life it looks like this: blood pressure raised; thoughts focused not on the hear and now; mind conversations that do not point me to Jesus but rather point me away. I feel restless. I am irritable and react quickly to things not going as I think they should.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil 4:6-7 The Message)
Prayer. Choosing to allow Christ to displace the worry at the center. When we choose the anxious anticipation of the future as our view for our day we are not keeping Jesus at the center, we are choosing to allow what we think or want to happen to be the focus.
My prayer for you and I as we work to have Jesus at the center. I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8-9 The Message
“Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”