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Life, one day at a time.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." --NKJV
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." --The Message
I must confess. I was awake last night worrying about not being able to get back to sleep. I had plans for today and insufficient sleep could screw up the whole day. First by not getting up early enough, secondly by not being able to stay awake till bedtime and thirdly, I hate being tired and out of sorts all day. I didn't need to worry on the first count. Bright and early around 6:30 my husband awakened me with the nudge of his knee and asked, "How many balls and strikes do we get?" He was talking in his sleep again!
So--Don't worry about tomorrow; today is enough to deal with. Could it be!--we just might have something here from the lips of Jesus which almost everyone believes to be true, practical, pertinent and useful. Most people would have to admit they agree with Jesus on this one.
Speaking of disagreeing or questioning what Jesus said, let me go off on a tangent here. I don't think Jesus minds when we want to debate him. I think he rather likes to hear from us. And honesty is always a valued asset to any dialogue. Jesus spoke from his heart and out of his own experience. We are welcome to do the same. Just remember that dialogue involves listening, too.
Take life one day at a time. It's a popular slogan. We have heard it many times. God must have known it from the beginning. That's why we have sunrises and sunsets, day and night. It was God's way of dividing a lifetime into manageable segments.
In the classic 1938 movie, "Gone With the Wind," a very tired, haggard yet determined Scarlet O'Hara put it this way, "Tomorrow is another day." One day at a time is the way we deal with trouble, illness, workloads, parenting, assignments, goals, you name it. Whenever you take on a challenge, it helps to break it down. What is overwhelming in its entirety, becomes doable in small steps. All of us can probably attest to this.
For me and Russ, it was backpacking 180 miles on the historic C&O Canal. It's a continuous path along the Potomac River from Cumberland, MD to Washington D.C. We divided those miles into 14 days. We broke the days into morning, afternoon and early evening, each punctuated by food and a nap on the picnic tables along the trail. Dividing further, the mileage markers became a stopping point to have a drink and shift the weight, and maybe pop another piece of hard candy. When the days got long or wet, and the packs heavy, we were literally walking only from milepost to milepost. What number was the last post we passed? Do you see the next one up ahead? We couldn't hike the trail end to end in one day, but we could make it to the next mileage post.
Russ and I walked for different reasons, but we both agreed it wasn't only the natural environment which we enjoyed. It was the conversations we had and the people we met along the way. We had no radio; we got our news and any tips we needed from the other trail users. They thought we were amazing; we thought they smelled so good.
So it is with life. We take on its challenges. Sometimes we feel like whistling, other times we're weighted down with a heavy load. Mostly we do the usual, we start and stop, we struggle with obstacles then rest and refresh, we talk to friends and strangers to get the happenings of the day. Little things brighten our days, and hopefully someone will offer encouragement. Somehow we survive to tell the story.
The past is over and done; the future always waits until tomorrow. The present is what we have to work with today. Actually that's not all; there is more. We have memories from the past and hopes for the future, and sometimes these are the thoughts that get us through the day. Today we can redeem the memories that need healing. Today we can reclaim lost hopes and dreams.
There is trouble ahead. Jesus did not deny it. We all get our turn to suffer and weep. Meanwhile, today is a day to be lived with God by our side--moving mountains, assisting people, upholding values, enduring drudgery, giving encouragement, sharing love, everywhere spreading a healthy dose of good news. With all that to do, who has time to worry about tomorrow!
Use the following questions for small groups, journaling, further study or reflection.
Icebreaker: Give an example of a time when you worried about something there was no need to worry about.
This verse is the concluding statement in Jesus' teaching that started with money and possessions and ended with anxiety and worry. What do you see as the connection between money and worry? Why would Jesus spend so much time on this subject?
As you were reading what Jesus said about worry, did you want to argue some points with him? If so, what were they? What do you think Jesus' final word on this subject is? To people in general? To you in particular?
What are some things you could do to focus less on yesterday and tomorrow, and focus more on living well today. What would make today a good day for you? Are there steps you could take to achieve the goal of having a good day today? What could you do to make someone else's day good?
Are there some big things (maybe changes) looming in your future? How would you describe your attitude toward these future unknowns? Which is stronger--fear or faith? Is it possible to plan for the future without worrying about it?
Have you lived through a situation in which you had to deliberately tell yourself to live one day at a time? If you can, please share something helpful from that experience.
In an effort to lessen or eliminate fear and worry, did you ever "grip the hand of Jesus"? [One time I was an unwilling partner on a scary amusement ride. So I closed my eyes, put myself in the arms of Jesus and, I tell you the truth, was quiet and felt the most amazing peace throughout the ride!] I shared mine, what is your story?
School children know the importance of living one day at a time. We learned it early. If we do what we need to do today, tomorrow will be less stressful. Reflect upon what it is you could be doing today which just might make tomorrow a better day for you.