Planning for a tomorrow that won’t happen

Yesterday was a historic day in geekdom. If you’re familiar with the Back to the Future movies, you might remember that yesterday marked the day that Doc Brown and Marty McFly visited in the future–October 21, 2015. If you go back and watch Back to the Future II, it’s really hilarious where people in the 1980s thought we’d be.

Flying cars. Hover boards. Self-adjusting clothing. Rehydration machines. And a whole host of other technological advancements. Granted, many of those things exist, but they aren’t available for common usage yet.

I’m a big fan of science fiction, because I like to imagine the possibilities. It’s fun to think about what could be tomorrow or what might be next year. But nobody knows what the future actually holds, so we really shouldn’t be too surprised if our plans don’t always work out.

road-street-desert-industryToday’s verse is Matthew 6:34.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

This is a good verse for me at this stage in my life. I’m in a place where I’m not guaranteed a paycheck, so I’m tempted to worry about where my provision will come from. I’m working in an industry that is solely dependent on opinion. Working as a creative writer (novelist, copywriting, etc.) is a subjective field. That means people don’t have to even have a reason why they don’t like your work; they just might not like it. But that’s scary.

Movies like the Back to the Future trilogy envisioned a world where all these impossible things were suddenly made possible through technology. And we’re well on our way to achieving those things in the actual 2015, but most of their predictions were wrong. I mean, granted, they got a few things right … like Star Wars VII and the Cubs in the playoffs. 😉

But the point is that tomorrow is unknown. We can guess. We can plan. We can schedule. But in the end, we have no power over tomorrow. It’s not something that we can control or predict. That’s why it’s so important to trust God.

God knows tomorrow. He knows the day after tomorrow too. And the day after that and the day after that. Everything that’s coming, He already knows about. So when we go through tough stuff in our lives today, it’s a fair chance that He’s simply helping us get ready for what’s happening tomorrow.

It’s okay to plan. It’s okay to be ready. But don’t live for tomorrow. If you do, you’ll miss out on what God has for you today. It’s tempting. Believe me. I want to look ahead. I want to spend all my time planning and figuring out the best way to do stuff, but my plans rarely work out. And that means I’ve spent all my time and energy today planning for a tomorrow that won’t actually happen.

So the next time you feel yourself tumbling down the rabbit hole of attempting to predict the future, put the brakes on. That’s a pit you don’t want to dig. So make a few notes if you must, and then focus your attention on what you can do today. You only get one today, and then it’s gone. So don’t waste it.

Only God knows the future. And He’ll let us know what we need to know about it when we need to know, but not before.

Advertisements

Trouble isn’t an inconvenience, it’s an opportunity

If you’ve ever traveled to another country, you understand what it’s like to be immersed in a culture that isn’t your own. Even if the common language is something similar to what you already speak, everything is still different. And we’re very fortunate to live in a very small world, where the major cultural differences are something you can research before you leave home. But in my experience, it’s not the major things that throw me. It’s the small things.

Take England, for example. I knew they drive on the other side of the road, and while that took a little getting used to, it didn’t affect my everyday life as much as trying to navigate the shower did. In the US, we have one knob for a shower, usually. You just turn it and water comes out. Well, in England (at least, where I stayed), there’s a knob for pressure and a knob for temperature, and if you get them mixed up, you’ll be in a lot of hot water–literally.

It’s kind of like life, if you think about it. The big troubles are easy to identify. You might even be able to prepare for them before they hit you, but the little, annoying, nit-picky, everyday problems can’t really be quantified. You can’t prepare for them. You just have to survive them.

step-forward-e1338890548766Today’s verse is Matthew 6:34.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

We all run into trouble every day, no matter who we are or where we live. Sometimes it’s big trouble, but most of the time it’s small. Like little pebbles getting stuck in your shoes. And when those little troubles keep hitting like ocean waves pounding on a beach, it’s important not to focus on them.

Trouble is easy to focus on because it’s obvious. You can’t get away from it, and no matter how far you run, it always finds you. Trouble is everywhere because the world is broken and because none of us have a perfect life. But that doesn’t mean we have to live our lives focusing on our troubles.

If all you can see is the trouble you’re in and how it’s going to affect you tomorrow, you’re going to miss what’s happening today. See that’s the problem with focusing on little troubles. They feel huge when they hit, but they really aren’t that big of a deal.

When you get a rock in your shoe, it feels gigantic, doesn’t it? Or what about an eyelash in your eye? You have to stop everything. And it’s not wrong to stop, as long as you keep moving again.

What would happen if you’re walking across a parking lot and get a rock in your shoe. Sure, you stop to dig it out, but what would happen if you decide it’s too much trouble to keep walking? What if you turn around and go back because you’re afraid of the other rocks that might get in your shoe next?

That’s no way to live.

Big trouble you can often see coming from miles off, but the little trouble springs its traps on you at the most inopportune moments. But if you live your life worrying about those moments, you’ll only see them as inconveniences, instead of what they really are–opportunities for God to show how big He is.

Be ready for the future, yes, but don’t let the problems of tomorrow dictate your actions today. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Yeah, it’ll probably include some kind of trouble, but that’s life on Earth. And we can’t let it derail us from the path we know God has set us on.

Don’t be afraid to live life one step at a time. Focus on today, and don’t let the little troubles get you down. God is bigger than any trouble in your life, and He’s just waiting for you to let Him prove it.

 

Blooming iris at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Tomorrow will come whether you worry about it or not

Does our worrying matter to God? I think it does. When we worry we pretty much tell God that He doesn’t know what He’s doing, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be guilty of that.

I wouldn’t call myself a worrier. I’m usually too busy to spend any time worrying about things, but sometimes anxieties creep up on me silently and spring a trap when I’m not paying attention. And before I know what I’m doing, I’m stressing out about things I can’t control.

We all know that worrying is a choice, but sometimes I think we make that choice without thinking about it. And I don’t know why worrying makes us feel like we have some semblance of control over life, because worrying stems from the fact that we have no control.

Blooming iris at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Blooming iris at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Matthew 6:34.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

It’s easy to worry about tomorrow. It’s easy to worry about the things we don’t understand. It’s easy to worry about the parts of life that we don’t get to change. But worrying doesn’t accomplish anything. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. Worry only accomplishes turning you into someone you’re not.

It’s like anger. Just like anger turns you into a different person, so does worry. And both worry and anger will ruin relationships and damage opportunities.

So how do you live without worry? How do you make that choice to not stress about tomorrow when tomorrow is all you can think about? Is there a magic word? Is there a key? Is there a book to read or a program to follow?

What’s nice about this verse is that it comes on the heels of a larger passage dedicated to telling people why they shouldn’t worry.

Matthew 6:25-33

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Here’s the thing about worry. For me, worry comes from the fact that I like to be in control of my life. I like to make decisions. I like to be independent and self-sufficient. But my life is too much for me to handle alone. There are some things I can’t accomplish on my own. There are parts of my life where I need help, and it’s those parts of my life where I need help that I worry about because I can’t do it myself. I have to rely on someone else to help me.

And I’m not good at relying on people to help me. I worry. I worry that I haven’t explained a situation well enough. I worry that I haven’t provided the necessary instruction or tools. I worry that I left something out. I worry that the whole thing is going to go down the drain and it will have been my fault because I didn’t plan well enough.

But here’s the deal: What’s going to happen will happen whether I worry about it or not.

Surprising? No, probably not, but true. Just because we sit around and worry about an upcoming event doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Conversely, just because we sit around and worry about something that might happen doesn’t mean it will happen. That’s tomorrow. And worrying about it doesn’t do you or the people around you any good.

In those instances where you have to rely on God for things you can’t control, you just have to trust Him. Like the verses say above, He already knows what we need. And He’ll give us what we need to make it through. Either way, worrying about just makes you unpleasant.

So if you’re worrying about something today, stop. I mean, don’t ignore the problem. Recognize it. Prepare for it as best you can. But then let it go because worrying about it will only hurt you. God has it under control and He’s going to work everything out. It may not work out today. It may not work out tomorrow. It may not work out in a month or a year. But you can believe that it will work out because that’s the way God is. Whatever is happening in our lives has a purpose, and He will use it for our good and His glory.

Waves on Jamaica Beach - Galveston, TX

Worry

I worry all the time. I hate to admit it, but I do. I just don’t talk about it because I don’t want people to think I’m worrying, even if I am. I’ve heard it said that worry is a mild form of atheism, and that’s probably true. But my worry doesn’t stem from a lack of faith that God will do what He has promised to do. I have no trouble believing that. My worry just comes around because I’m afraid I’m not going to live up to the potential that God has given me.

Waves on Jamaica Beach - Galveston, TX

Waves on Jamaica Beach – Galveston, TX

Today’s verse is Matthew 6:34.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Jesus had us pegged. Honestly. And in some way, I guess it’s comforting to know that people worried in His day too. And actually before because I’m pretty sure that this same verse originated in the Old Testament.

Worry is something everyone faces, and it’s up to us to choose whether or not to give in to it.

What amazes me the most is that my brain doesn’t hesitate to jump directly to the worst case scenario about every situation in my life. I rarely worry about the situations I can control; I really only focus on the events that I can’t control. I really only focus on the uncertainties in my life. And as a result, I put myself in knots.

It’s like standing on a beach watching the tide come in. You can see the waves as they form some distance off, and you know they may beautiful sounds. But to make those beautiful sounds you know they have to crash on the beach first. But there’s nothing you can do to speed them up or slow them down. You just have to watch and wait until they hit and hope that you’ve rolled your pants up high enough.

It’s in that moment where you can choose to worry about it or choose to not worry.

There’s a difference between recognizing something that can go wrong and focusing on the fact that something can go wrong. Identify the negatives, realize what could happen, but move on. Don’t dwell on it. Because if you dwell on it, you’ll start worrying. And most of the time what you’re worrying about is something you can’t change anyway.

This is a lesson I’m relearning every day. Worry doesn’t really accomplish anything. So it’s best not to give in to it, especially if you’re worrying about tomorrow.