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Here’s something I’m working on… just because Jesus asked me to, and because he’s right as usual that this way of life is better: living in the moment. “Do not be anxious about tomorrow…” Dogs, for instance, are remarkably “in the moment.” They’re not pissed off because of what something smelled like yesterday, and they’re not stressed out about their walk tomorrow, they’re here now. Young children are often like that too – which is why they laugh more than older people. I can have a perfectly good day – be well fed, well loved, at ease – and yet be all wrapped up because of something I need to do tomorrow. This is dumb because even if what I’m stressed about is as bad as I think – I suffer through it multiple times by worrying about it in advance…
“Wait a minute! If you don’t stress about things in advance – you probably won’t prepare for things and plan for the future…” You’re right…sorta. If Jesus just said, “don’t worry, be happy” then that would be stupid and lead to nothing good. But Jesus said don’t worry about tomorrow – instead just freely follow Him today (or “seek his kingdom, and his righteousness”).
Third graders rarely stress out about whether they’ll graduate to fourth grade. they don’t worry about getting lost in the woods or getting run over by cars. Even though all these possibilities are real (except for getting lost in the woods in NYC), they don’t worry. Some people would say “it’s because they’re stupid and don’t know better”; but I’d argue that it would be dumber for them to worry. Because if they do what their parents and teachers tell them day by day, if they follow the ways of the crossing guards and doing homework, going to bed and brushing their teeth – then they’ll be okay.
It would be dysfunctional for a third grader to worry about getting to fourth grade. It’s just as dysfunctional (from Jesus’ point of view) for us to worry about the future (or the past)… Especially when it takes away from what you have in the present. People spend their vacations on the beach worrying about emails that are piling up on their work computers – and then spend their time at work thinking about their next vacation. So instead of that silliness, I’m learning to live in the present. Want to join me?
How do I start? Repent of our pride that makes us think our worries help us (they don’t), and that our lives have been blessed by our work alone. Ask for forgiveness in overlooking our Father’s hand in our lives, and ask for help in leaning on that more and more. Then take a deep breath, look around and get going with “now”: Rest when it’s time to rest, sleep when it’s time to sleep (trusting God has your back). Work when it’s time to work – reflect when there’s an opportunity to reflect on what you’re doing…and rely on the God who guides us step by step (and not all at once). We only have “right now” for right now, it will be different later – so let’s make the most of our moments before they slip away.